• Dennis McCaslin

Discover of submerged vehicle in Russellville may lead to answers in 23-year-old cold case






The discovery of a vehicle submerged in water may lead to the closure of a 23-year-old cold case involving the disappearance of a western Arkansas woman and her toddler daughter.


On Tuesday at approximately 12:30pm, Pope County 911 received a call from individuals advising that they had possibly located a vehicle matching the description of the car belonging to Samantha Jean Hopper, who was reported missing on September 11, 1998, in the water near the 3700 block of Pleasant View Road.

Samantha Jean Hopper

Hopper was last seen in Russellville when she came home from work and told her mother that she, her 22-month-old daughter Courtney Holt, and a friend were going to a concert in Little Rock, Arkansas and would be back on September 12.


They were traveling in a blue 1989 Ford Tempo. Hopper was eight months pregnant at the time of her disappearance.


The vehicle was found by the non-profit group, Adventures With Purpose, who travel the country working on Cold Cases.


Once on scene, Investigators requested assistance from Elmo's Crane Service and Battlecross Towing to remove the vehicle from the water.

Courtney Holt

The vehicle was reported to have been approximately twenty-five yards from the bank in about eight feet of water.


Once removed from the water, the vehicle was found to have human remains that will be sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab in Little Rock for DNA testing.


The disappearance of Hoper and Holt has been a regularly featured story in our "Arkansas Never Forgotten" series since the launch of "Today in Fort Smith"




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