08/16/2013 01:24 pm ET

Thomas Lange, Missing Since 2003, Thought To Be Body Found In Car Pulled From Detroit River

A startling find in the Detroit River might provide closure in a case that's been open for nearly 10 years.

On Thursday afternoon, a recreational diver discovered a car sunk in the river near Wyandotte, a city just south of Detroit, according to the Detroit Free Press. When police retrieved the black Mercury Sable, a decomposing body was found inside, dressed in men's clothing with no hands or head.

Wyandotte police said Friday a dive team had recovered the skull and arm bone belonging to the person found in the car, according to the News-Herald. Though they have not conclusively determined the identification until further examination, police are reportedly confident that they have found the remains of Thomas Lange, who was reported missing in 2003.

The license plate number for the car matches that of the vehicle driven by Lange, according to Wyandotte Patch. The registration expired in 2004, according to the Free Press, and the car was reported stolen that year.

Lange, a father, was 30 when he went missing the night of December 30. After leaving his job around 10:30 p.m. at an Allen Park restaurant less than 10 miles from where the body was found, he spent an hour at a restaurant across the street. Local news station WXYZ-TV reports he made one last phone call around 12:30 a.m. Then, he vanished. According to, Lange had planned to pick up diapers for his son and supplies for a family New Years Eve party.

Chris Luke, a friend of Lange's, told WXYZ he believes the police have finally found his friend.

"There’s no way he would just leave his child,” Luke told the station. “He was an awesome guy. ... He would do anything for any of us.”

A vigil is being held for Lange Friday, 9:30 p.m. at McCaffery's in Lincoln Park.



Missing People