The Freeport Bridge stands above the Allegheny River, just prior to the incident where 100 vehicles were found. PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID FULMER

Olivia Heilemann
News Editor

While searching for missing persons Janet Walsh and Bunni Lee, a special team of divers uncovered over 100 cars submerged in the Allegheny River.

After finding the body of 54-year-old Tod Diminno still in his car in the river on Oct. 8, the Adventures With Purpose diving team continued searching the area in hopes of finding more. Only two days after finding Mr. Diminno, the diving group ended up finding more than 100 vehicles sitting underwater, some over 30 years old.

How all of those cars got there is the current question, and the Pittsburgh Police Department and river rescue are now researching the VIN numbers, license plates, and make and model of each car. Finding these leads could possibly solve a large amount of cold cases regarding missing people. 

“It was a community effort, you know, we’re all here for the same purpose, which is to help and lend our expertise,” says Doug Bishop, lead diver.

Doug Bishop also mentions his suspicions about these leads as it could all be part of one largely organized crime, rather than a collection of unrelated ones. 

Adventures With Purpose is a famous diving group originating from Oregon who dedicate their lives volunteering to help families find their lost loved ones. The group, widely known on YouTube, recently spent some time in Pennsylvania to volunteer in the search for missing people. While here, they have already solved the case of James Amabile, a man who had been missing for almost 20 years in Darby Creek. The team has solved a total of 24 cold cases since 2019.

The team has since remained in the city of Pittsburgh to continue to help discover and clear cars.