Monday, January 16, 2023
“In the early morning hours of January 15, maintenance employees of Black Pine Lake Park, during a routine check, discovered what appeared to be the rear end of a truck protruding from mud on an old unused maintenance road.
The truck was located in an area along the lake shore that has been restricted to “personnel only” access for several years due to the possibility of mudslides.
Maintenance employees who discovered the vehicle contacted authorities roughly fifteen minutes after discovery, as that area of the lake is not conducive to cellular service. When authorities arrived, the maintenance workers led them to the scene.
Upon arrival to the scene, officers observed the truck did appear to have been there for several days, possibly longer. They carefully removed mud covering the license plate and confirmed the vehicle was one 2012 Dodge Ram registered to Cora Wilkins.
Additional resources and third parties with expertise in the field were brought in. Based on their findings, the vehicle was first buried in one mudslide. A second mudslide occurred at a later date and covered the truck once more.
Once this was determined crew began meticulously removing mud to expose the interior of the vehicle. This revealed several clues.
The first slide is estimated to have occurred around January third or fourth. Weather reports show that heavy rain beginning midday January third had continued four days afterward. Continuous rain and thawing top soil led to perfect conditions for a mudslide. The truck was partially buried initially during that period.
At that time the person or persons who had driven the vehicle had exited it. Both driver’s and front passenger doors were open. Inside the vehicle was a number of items identified as belonging to Cora Wilkins. These included keys, both her personal and work cellphones and a large pink water bottle it’s said she carried with her to work.
The recovered personal cellphone also had an attached wallet which still contained Mrs Wilkins’ drivers license and debit card.
It is important to note that no evidence of injuries or distress were discovered, nor were there any remains. Cora Wilkins therefore is still considered a missing person.
It is theorized that at some point after the first mudslide, Cora Wilkins and a possible second individual exited the vehicle leaving behind personal belongings and the doors open. The second slide occurred hours or days later.
Tracks or footprints from any one individual have not been found. Mud from the slide has obscured anything that might have been left near the vehicle and there was no muddy trail leading away from the truck on the pavement of the main road.
We are still operating and investigating this as a missing persons case, as there is still no evidence to the contrary. It is important to note that we are one day shy of two weeks into the investigation. The trail of clues we are following in order to find answers in the case grow colder by the day.
We’d like to ask the public once again for any information you maybe have that might set us in the right direction or lead us to Mrs Wilkins. The both the Black Pines Police Department non-emergency line and the anonymous tip line are twenty-four hour lines and will be open at all times.
In the meantime, keep the family of Mrs Wilkins in your thoughts and please respect their privacy at this difficult time. This is a small community, and we should treat each other as such.
Harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.”
To be continued.