When someone goes missing, the family left behind doesn’t often get the kind of closure that could help them move on. Considering that police and fire departments have limited resources, it’s difficult to find someone when they’ve gone missing. But one SCUBA diving team is bringing the closure families need by finding vehicles in lakes and rivers that hold the bodies of their loved ones. TikTok and YouTube divers Adventures with Purpose are doing just that. These missing persons cold cases don’t stand a chance.
Their videos might have popped up on your For You Page. The team will scan rivers and lakes where a missing person may have been, looking for shapes in the water that might turn out to be vehicles. When they find something, they contact the local authorities, documenting everything along the way.
Adventures with Purpose aren’t coming across these vehicles by accident. As is the case with one of their more recent series on TikTok, the families of missing persons will often reach out to them to help find someone. They use the proceeds they get from YouTube, TikTok, and other social media as well as donations to help fund the dives–they never ask for money from the families they’re helping.
In their recent TikTok series, a family asked to help find Nathan Ashby, who’d gone missing on July 31st, 2019. Adventures with Purpose were called in to search the local Missouri River for any chance his truck could be stuck under the surging water. A cursory investigation found several trucks within a short distance of each other, and the SCUBA team were tasked with finding out if any of them were Nathan’s.
Finding and identifying the truck was difficult because of the state of the Missouri River. The current made diving deep enough a struggle, the diver could barely see a few inches through the water, and the truck was over 20 feet below the surface. Even with all of those struggles, he was still able to pull off the license plate and identify that it was Nathan’s truck. After a thorough investigation, he also concluded that Nathan was still in the truck and strapped in with his seatbelt.
It then took the rest of the day and into the night for the local sheriff’s department and the towing team to safely pull the truck from the water.
You can watch the retrieval of Nathan’s truck on TikTok or in the YouTube video above. As you’ll see, Adventures with Purpose is very careful to respect the families of the people they find. They don’t record the bodies of the deceased and they keep the family and their comfort a main priority.
Since they began Adventures with Purpose in 2019, they have recovered over 100 vehicles and have helped solve 21 missing persons cases. They currently have nearly 250k TikTok followers and over 2 million YouTube subscribers.