LOS ANGELES - O.J. Simpson was in the backseat. Al "A.C." Cowlings was at the wheel. Yet as the celebrated pair led police on a low-speed chase watched nationwide by 95 million TV viewers 20 years ago Tuesday, the spotlight did not belong solely to the men.
They shared it with the car in which they rode: the 1993 white Ford Bronco.
More than a half-dozen news helicopters tracked it. More than two dozen squad cars pursued it. And hundreds of people on freeway overpasses in Los Angeles gawked, or cheered or waved as the passing vehicle rode into infamy, and … then what?
Two decades after the Bronco secured a VIP parking space in American lore, central figures from the drama can be accounted for:
-- Simpson, who was fleeing police with the help of Cowlings, is now in the Lovestock Correctional Center in Nevada. He was found not guilty in the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, but is serving up to 33 years after being convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery in 2008.
-- Bob Tur, who was the first news-helicopter pilot on the scene and provided 22 minutes of exclusive footage that night, now goes by the name of Zoey. He is awaiting surgery for a sex change.
-- Tom Lange, the detective who by cellphone pleaded with Simpson to throw a loaded gun out of the car window because Lange feared Simpson would use it on himself, is retired from a life of investigating crime. He is writing books about it.
The Bronco and the man who drove it have proven more elusive.
Two years ago, a TMZ cameraman cornered Cowlings in a parking lot and followed him until he climbed into a white truck. (No, not a Bronco, which Ford phased out in 1996.) A year ago, former NFL teammate Charley Ferguson said, Cowlings was working for B. Wayne Hughes, founder of Public Storage, and living in the Los Angeles area. Six months ago, former tennis partner Joe Kolkowitz said, Cowlings had retired, and Kolkowitz said he thought Cowlings was living "in the same place."
The same place?
"I'm not saying," he said.
Tim Tessalone, the sports information director at USC where Cowlings attended, said Cowlings has no interest in talking to reporters and still lives in Southern California.
At times, the whereabouts of the Bronco have been even harder to pin down. But court records, car records and interviews help piece together what has transpired with perhaps the most infamous vehicle of the 20th Century.
'THE MOST FAMOUS TRUCK'
The two-door SUV with a V8 engine rolled off the assembly line in March 1993, passed an emissions inspection that April in Palmdale, Calif., and about 14 months later, on the evening of June 17, 1994, it riveted a memorabilia collector named Michael Kronick.
Kronick said he was in Las Vegas for an Elvis Presley estate auction and watching TV when CBS interrupted its coverage of the NBA Finals. Suddenly, Kronick and millions of others found themselves watching the Bronco, cruising across Interstate 405 in Southern California at 35 mph.
"I called my attorney," Kronick recalled, "and I said, 'We've got to have that truck. That's going to be the most famous truck.' "
Kronick thought the car was Simpson's. But later he learned the Bronco with license plate 3DHY503 belonged to Cowlings, and so they began searching for the man who played football with Simpson in high school, college and the NFL.
Released from jail on $250,000 bail after being charged with aiding and abetting a fugitive, Cowlings returned home and didn't want to drive the car again, according to Don Kreiss, a friend of Cowlings' who worked for a sports agent and played poker with a group that included Cowlings.
"Go ahead and find somebody to buy it," Kreiss said Cowlings told him.
Shortly thereafter, Kronick and Kreiss connected. The memorabilia collector made an offer: $75,000 for the Bronco, along with 250 autographed photos of Cowlings driving the car.
On the morning of Nov. 2, 1994 — the day before eight women and four men were selected for the jury at Simpson's criminal trial and six days before the charges against Cowlings were dropped — Kronick and Kreiss met at the Westwood Marquis Hotel. Kronick had the check. Cowlings had the car.
RELATED: O.J. Simpson timeline
Then, it was as matter of finding Cowlings. Twice he called Kreiss to say he was running behind. Then, three hours late, Cowlings called again. The deal is off, he told Kreiss.
The memorabilia collector and Cowlings eventually met — at Los Angeles County Superior Court.
The collector sued Cowlings for damages in excess of $200,000. Cowlings insisted on keeping the car. They reached an undisclosed settlement in 1996. Kronick and Kreiss, who assumed Cowlings found a better offer, wondered what happened to the Bronco next.
Two months later, Cowlings' attorney, Stanley Stone, said the car was sold for $200,000. Though Stone did not identify the buyer, the car ended up with another one of his clients — Michael Pulwer.
News reports later described Pulwer as a collector. But Rachel Pulwer-Murray, one of Pulwer's cousins, said the family knows him as something else.
"He's a porn king," she told USA TODAY Sports. "My dad wouldn't really let me or my sister be around him when we were growing up because of the business he was in."
Michael Pulwer grew up in New Jersey and played lacrosse at Franklin & Marshall College, a Division III liberal arts school in Lancaster, Pa. He graduated in 1972, moved to Southern California and started selling pornographic novelties, magazines and movies, according to Stanley Loeb, who oversees Fantasy World, Pulwer's adult paraphenelia store in Las Vegas, and a business associate who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
In the 1990s, he started his own adult film company, Paradise Visuals, and produced more than 50 movies, which starred the likes of porn stars Traci Lords, Christy Canyon and Ron Jeremy. During a recent interview, Jeremy recalled sparking romance when he introduced Jennifer Peace, an adult film actress who went by the name "Devon Shire," to one of Pulwer's friends.
The link was Pulwer, who socialized with Cowlings, Simpson and Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen, according to Loeb and the business associate.
After the chase, the boys' nights out ended. But Pulwer remained friends with Cowlings. In fact, one of Pulwer's cousins, Ira Pulwer, said Pulwer told him he'd purchased the Bronco in part because Cowlings was having financial trouble.
Records show Cowlings filed for bankruptcy in 1997.
Once in Pulwer's possession, the Bronco spent most days in an underground parking garage at The Westford, a luxury condominium complex in Los Angeles where Pulwer lived. It sat in the garage so long the pressure leaked out of the tires.
"At one time he was going to raffle it off," said Loeb. "But then he felt he wasn't getting enough money for it."
TWO PUBLIC APPEARANCES
Pulwer moved to Miami, but he kept his condo and left the Bronco in the garage. And in 2012, Jerry Borreson, who had worked for Pulwer in the Los Angeles area, got a call from his old boss.
He needed a favor.
Would Borreson help load the Bronco onto a car carrier? The car was headed for a museum in Las Vegas.
"That's all he told me," Borreson said.
That May, the Bronco appeared in Las Vegas, outside the Luxor hotel on The Strip. It was there to help publicize the opening of SCORE!, a sports memorabilia museum and exhibit. Six months later, the Bronco appeared in Greenwich, Conn. It was at the Brant Foundation for an exhibit featuring artist Nate Lowman, who has used a topless picture of Nicole Brown Simpson in his work.
Jim Berkmann, the CEO of SCORE!, and an employee of the foundation who did not give her name declined to discuss details of the arrangement. But during a recent interview Loeb said he thought the car was in Miami with the 63-year-old Pulwer, who has not responded to voicemails, text messages, emails or a letter from USA TODAY Sports.
"It's well taken care of. It's not on the street," Pulwer recently told the New York Daily News, declining to identify the car's location. "I think someday, somebody will want to have it in a museum of famous or infamous cars. But on this anniversary, I think we should care more about the people who were killed than the white Bronco."
At the security office outside the parking garage of Pulwer's high-rise condominium in South Beach, two officers said they hadn't seen the Bronco. Declining to give his name, a security guard suggested checking out Pleasure Emporium, an adult shop owned by Pulwer. The store, though, has been closed since a fire in November.
USA TODAY Sports' hunt for the Bronco eventually led to a friend of Pulwer's, Hunter, who would not give his last name.
"Let me guess," he said. "It's about the Bronco."
Hunter said he gets several calls a day about the car but that it wasn't in Miami or California.
And so as the anniversary fast approached, two decades after the chase ended peacefully outside Simpson's home, where police found a fake beard and mustache and Simpson's passport inside the car, the 1993 white Ford Bronco appears to have carried out the original plan.
It's on the lam.