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Sheriff's office investigates Model T mystery in Winona

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Authorities in Winona have opened an investigation into a Model T Ford found in the depths of the Mississippi River last month.

While testing underwater sonar equipment just off the riverbanks, the Winona County Dive Team stumbled upon the early 20th century vehicle in about 20 feet of water, resting on its roof and partially buried in sediment on the river bottom, according to the Winona Daily News.

Keith Cormican, who owns Wazee Sports Center in Black River Falls, Wis. and is making the sonar device available to law enforcement, recently returned to the water to capture more video of the car.

"It doesn't happen everyday that you find a 100-year-old automobile sitting in the river right off the levy of your city," Winona Mayor Mark Peterson, who is also executive director of the Winona County Historical Society, told WCCO.

Now, the historical society and the Winona County Sheriff's Office are digging through old missing person reports and unsolved crimes to turn up possible leads.

"It's kind of a mystery," Sheriff Dave Brand told the television station. "Maybe it isn't a mystery to some people that know how it got there or heard years ago."

The Winona Daily News said there are no immediate plans to remove the vehicle from the river, which would require a barge, crane and considerable expense, Brand said. WEAU said the retrieval could happen in the spring.

Cormican told the Star Tribune he couldn't say whether there are human remains in the car.

“That part of vehicle is buried in the sand,” said Cormican.

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