An autopsy may help write the final page of a 43-year-old mystery that began with the disappearance of a military retiree in western North Carolina.

The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office says the human remains found in a 1968 Pontiac recovered from a local lake could help solve the case of Amos Shook, who was reported missing on Feb. 19, 1972. Officials said the car model matches the car that belonged to Shook.

Sheriff's Lt. Aaron Barlowe said the remains found on Tuesday are going to the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for an autopsy and identification.

Barlowe said there were no initial signs of foul play.

The Charlotte Observer (http://bit.ly/1SDct56) reported Wednesday that the search for Shook was resumed after his daughter approached Sheriff Alan Jones and investigators last month with a newspaper article about her missing father and asked them to search again.

Barlowe wouldn't say what led investigators to the lake, but added that investigators and a dive team used advanced sonar to find the car in 30 feet of water.

Shook, who was 44 when he disappeared, had retired from the U.S. Air Force and lived in the town of Sawmills, according to Barlowe, who said his surviving family members live throughout Tennessee.

"Unless the medical examiner says the autopsy shows some type of foul play, we may never know what happened," Caldwell County Sheriff's Capt. B.J. Fore said. "We don't know his state of mind, and most of his family members are probably in their 80s now. But we're glad to have brought the family some closure."

Caldwell County is a mainly rural county in the North Carolina foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The county's website says the first modern furniture factories were organized there in 1889. Today, in addition to furniture manufacturing, the county is host to a Google data center as officials attempt to integrate technology and information-based companies into the local economy.

Lake Rhodhiss, where the car and remains were found, is approximately 75 miles northwest of Charlotte.