Go to or call your states motor vehicle office where you buy license plates, in Michigan its called The Secretary of State apply for a lost or stolen vehicle title.
if it is not in your name, you would have to get a surety bond- this is issued by an insurance company that deals in this- then, depending on the state, you send a registered letter to the last known owner at the last known address- when it comes back "address unknown" you can then prove that an attempt to contact the last owner was made- and proved "MIA"- then, when registered, the surety bond assures your MVD that even if the original owner shows up and says "hey! that's MY car!" the MVD won't be left holding the bag- the insurance co. would- now, this way of working is different in every state, and the rules change all the time- so check with your MVD- but now, you can at least see the problem-
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