WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Police in North Carolina have made a possible connection in a missing-person case dating back more than 15 years.

Dedrick Bernard Smith, 26, was reported missing on Oct. 4, 2006, according to the Winston-Salem Police Department. His last known contact with anyone was earlier that day, during a phone conversation.

“The investigation into the disappearance of Mr. Smith continued through the years, however no viable leads related to his disappearance were developed,” police wrote in an incident alert this week.

All of that changed on Friday, when Winston-Salem police were contacted by a search and recovery dive team known as “Adventures With Purpose,” which claimed that it might have found Smith’s 1993 Pontiac Grand Am. The car, which was driven by Smith at the time of his disappearance, was submerged in Winston Lake.

Winston-Salem detectives and divers with Adventures With Purpose worked together Saturday morning to pull the Pontiac out of the lake. It was identified as Smith’s car.

Remains were also found in the vehicle, and authorities are working to identify them and determine a cause of death, police said. Smith’s family was notified of the discovery.