By Caroline Vandergriff

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A volunteer dive team from Oregon is in Fort Worth this week for a massive operation to recover cars from multiple lakes.

Adventure with Purpose found five cars in Lake Como on Tuesday, Oct. 19 the first day of its initiative.

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What began as an environmental clean-up effort for the team turned into a way to bring closure to families of missing loved ones.

“When we did start, our goal was to simply pick up sunglasses and pop cans and clean up the underwater environment,” said Jared Leisek, founder of Adventures with Purpose. “There have been times when we have pulled vehicles out of the water before, and we have accidentally solved a crime.”

Recovering car from Lake Como in Fort Worth (Caroline Vandergriff – CBS 11).

Since 2019, Adventures with Purpose says they’ve found 12 missing persons on the bottom of lakes and rivers across the country.

The group’s goal is to recover at least 25 cars over the next few days from several lakes in the Fort Worth area, potentially solving a cold case or two in the process.

“I just want to be here,” said Rusty Arnold, whose sister disappeared from Fort Worth in 1974. “I want to take a look in these cars personally to give myself some closure.”

The odds may be low, but Arnold is holding out hope this operation could bring his family some answers nearly five decades later.

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“I’ve spent my entire adult life looking for my sister, and I’ll never give up,” he said.

Just a few days ago, the team was in Hunt County, where they found human remains inside a missing woman’s car in Lake Tawakoni.

The Hunt County Sheriff’s Office believes they belong to Carey Mae Parker, who disappeared 30 years ago.

Her family had reached out to Adventures with Purpose for help finding her.

“It’s one of those things where it’s almost like a hidden superpower,” Leisek said. “We’re able to locate, we’re able to go down, we’re able to recover and potentially solve a missing persons case and bring a loved one home.”

Fort Worth is just one stop for Adventures with Purpose, as they travel across the country to work 27 different cold cases, looking for 36 people in total.

The Fort Worth Police Department will be assisting the group through Friday.

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On Saturday, Oct. 23, every car recovered during the four-day operation will be on display for the public at Beard’s Towing from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Caroline Vandergriff