Volunteers respond after the bodies of a woman and child were found 23 years after they went missing in Pope County

RUSSELLVILLE, Ar. – Pope County MPs have an update on a cold case. The Pope County Sheriff’s Office said a car matching the description in the case of a 23-year-old missing person was found with human remains inside.

Investigators believe the car found is the same one described in Samantha Hopper’s case.

After more than two decades of searching for answers and clues, a family is closing itself down thanks to a group of strangers.

“Subscribers, subscribers, they contact us, they let us know about their family members who are missing in cases in their area,” said Douglas Bishop.

After hearing about Samantha Hopper and her disappearance in Russellville, Arkansas, Bishop said he and other volunteers decided to help.

This case is something investigator Eric Riggs has been working on for some time.

“This is a 10 year case for me, so this is one of those cases that your family knows, your kids know about and it’s touching,” said Corporal Eric Riggs of the Sheriff’s Office. Pope County.

Hopper was reported missing on September 11, 1998. She is said to be set to drop off her daughter, Courtney before going to a concert in Little Rock, MPs said they never showed up.

On Tuesday, volunteers were able to find a car that matched Hopper’s description of the Blue Ford Tempo, with human remains inside in the water near the 3700 block of Pleasant Valley Road.

“About an hour after we started our search, we were able to find Samantha and her babies,” Bishop said.

Hopper was pregnant at the time and her young daughter was also still in the car, investigators said.

“Honestly, it’s nothing we did,” Riggs said. “It’s just that I think the family is just persistent.”

Douglas Bishop said his nonprofit group is looking into missing people and unresolved cases. He said they used sonar systems to find the car she was in.

“There are no real words that can describe what it feels like to provide answers to a family that has been tortured for 23 years,” Bishop said.

The remains are in the Arkansas State Crime Lab for identification. We contacted the family but heard nothing from them.


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