John Porter used to ride bulls and take part in Wild West shows.
At the lake, Ervie Porter, the son of John Porter, watched as investigators crawled around the cars. Now 85, the younger Porter suffers from dementia.
He told CNN he has spent a long time searching for his father.
"Still looking for him. But this is going to help me a whole lot."
Divers search in, around vehicles
After the two cars were pulled out, dive teams with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol scoured the lake bottom again.
"The divers then went back in the water and searched around," said spokeswoman Betsy Randolph, "and found a skull."
Splawn said he found a skull, femur and some smaller bones during the additional search.
"This is the first time this has ever happened to me," he said.
After thorough searches, both vehicles were towed away Wednesday evening.
Trooper George Hoyle was operating the sonar equipment that last week spotted the two vehicles.
Foss Lake is down substantially because of a drought and that could have been a factor in the discovery, officials said.
Hoyle said he hopes families now will receive answers.
"It feels very good to us to be able to help them get that closure so they can have some resolve and serenity in their own lives," he said.
Identification of remains will take time
The Oklahoma chief medical examiner's office will examine the remains once they are removed from the vehicles and "will possibly try to match DNA of those remains with known surviving family members," a Custer County Sheriff's Office statement said.
The remains will be first evaluated by using any identification cards, jewelry and teeth found on the bodies, said Chief Medical Examiner Eric Pfeifer. A muddied wallet, a purse and two corroded rifles were among the items recovered.
Authorities cautioned Wednesday, however, that positive identification could take years. The state anthropologist, Angela Berg, will examine the remains.
"Scientific identification of these remains will be attempted using anthropological and if necessary, forensic pathological methods," Chief Administrative Officer Amy Elliott said in a written statement. "Depending on the features of these remains and their state of preservation, identification can take anywhere from days to years. In some cases, if the DNA is degraded, positive identification using scientific means may not be possible.
In December, state anthropologist Berg coincidentally began looking into the cold case of the Porters and Duncan and then contacted Nance after she discovered that another cold case existed about a second vehicle with three missing teens in the same area, Nance told CNN.
When authorities discovered the two cars and remains of six people, Berg called Nance for information on the six missing persons, which the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System maintains, he said.
NAMUS recently coordinated with law agencies the collection of DNA from the family of Duncan, the woman who went missing along with the Porters, and the federal agency posted her name on its website, Nance said.
A topic of discussion, speculation since 1970
Sayre, a town of about 4,000 residents, largely depends on gas, oil and agriculture. A prison with about 2,400 beds is just outside of town, which is in Beckham County. Foss Lake is in adjoining Custer County.
Three or four sheriffs have tried to solve the 1970 disappearance of the teens, said Spitzer, the newspaper editor.