Details of Disappearance
Clinkscales disappeared from LaGrange, Georgia, at 11:00 p.m. on January 27, 1976. He left the club, where he tended bar two nights a week, intending to drive 35 miles away to Auburn University, where he was a junior. He never arrived there.
Decades after Clinkscales went missing, two different tipsters claimed a now-deceased man named Ray Hyde had killed him and others had disposed of the remains in a body of water. One of the informants named a particular pond as the disposal site, the other a lake.
Searches of the pond where one of the tipsters said the body was at turned up no sign of any remains. A search of the lake specified by the other informant turned up no body, but there was a barrel-shaped indentation in the lake bottom and a metal detector indicated something metal had been in that spot. The informant had said Clinkscales's body was placed in a metal barrel before it was dumped in the lake.
Other information the police received indicated Clinkscales's body had been removed from the lake and put in his car, and that the top of the car was smashed with a backhoe before the car was disposed of in an unknown location.
No one has ever been charged in Clinkscales's death, but Jimmy Earl Jones was charged with concealing a death, hindering the apprehension of a criminal and two counts of making false statements to police.
In May 2006, Jones pleaded guilty to making false statements and testified that he had witnessed Hyde murder Clinkscales on Hyde's property in 1976. He would have been a child at the time of the murder. The prosecution stated Jones had made many contradicting statements and characterized his testimony as "absolutely useless." He was released from prison in 2013.
In December 2021, Clinkscales's vehicle, with human remains and his credit cards and identification inside it, was found submerged in a creek off of County Road 83, approximately one mile from County Road 388, in LaFayette, Alabama. The roof of the car appeared to be damaged, which would be consistent with information the police had received.
His death is still under investigation and it's not immediately clear whether he simply ran off his car off the road or whether it was a criminal matter.