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,” who claimed they may have found what they believed to be 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 to pull the Pontiac from Winston Lake on the morning of Saturday, April 2. The Pontiac was positively identified as the car that had been driven by Smith.

Remains were also found in the vehicle. Officials will be working to identify the remains and determine a cause of death in the coming days, police said.

Smith’s next-of-kin has been notified of the discovery.

Anyone with any information that could aid with the investigation is asked to call the Winston-Salem Police Department at (336) 773-7700 or (336) 728-3904 (en Espanol), or contact Crime Stoppers at (336) 727-2800. The Text-A-Tip program can be reached at (336) 276-1717 for those who wish to send tips, photos and videos to the Winston-Salem Police Department.