Vehicle found in Polk retention pond by Youtubers belonged to missing Lakeland woman

Remains have not been positively identified yet

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POLK COUNTY, Fla. – The 2012 Kia Soul found in a retention pond in Polk County by a YouTube group belongs to a missing Lakeland woman, the sheriff’s office said Thursday.

However, the body found in the vehicle has not been positively identified yet.

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The vehicle was found in the area of Grady Mock Road and Old Polk City Road around 10:33 a.m. Wednesday in unincorporated Lakeland.

The sheriff’s office says the family of Magaret “Jan” Smith contacted a YouTube group called “Adventures with Purpose” which specializes in searching for vehicles in bodies of water. Smith was 59 years old when she was reported missing on April 2, 2021.

According to investigators, Smith was involved in a minor crash the night she went missing. They believe she may have gotten turned around as she traveled west from the scene, because the car was found Wednesday in a retention pond north of the crash scene.

The county’s Underwater Search and Recovery Team entered the water and crews removed a brown 2012 KIA Soul from the center of the pond where the water was seven feet deep.

Again, the remains found inside the car have not been identified positively yet.