Letter to the Editor: Is it time to re-examine what happened to Hannibal boys who went missing in 1967?

Lost Boys

From left, Billy Hoag, Joey Hoag and Craig Dowell | Photo courtesy of Medium.com

Flashbacks are always exciting. They bring back nostalgia.

The decade of the 1960s was a blast. It was the era of the moon landing and President Kennedy was in office.

Tragically, in 1967, three youths went caving in Hannibal. Caving was a favorite pastime, and Murphy’s Cave was an epicenter for explorers. It was a vast underground network that extended for miles. The youngsters were seen in the early evening en route to that location by two independent witnesses. Also that day, they told friends of theirs they were going caving.

The three never returned from the excursion. They remain missing to this day.

Close to the cave, a new major highway was being built. Blasting was being done, and it is assumed a cave-in took place, trapping the youths. A massive search took place known as “America’s Largest Cave Search.” It lasted around two weeks and was costly, extensive and yielded no return.

Considering how extensive the search was, some believe the youngsters were never in the caves in the first place. What exactly happened to them is a mystery.

What the relatively unknown missing persons case needs is for a popular television program to feature the case or a newspaper article to discuss the case augmented with a picture. Such coverage could bring publicity to the case and might lead to a resolution. Someone who knows something about the cave may come forward with a critical piece of information.

Technology has advanced in recent years tremendously. A highly advanced underwater submarine recently may have located the lost plane of the famous aviator Emilia Earhart.

Could such advances play a role in locating the missing youths from Hannibal? The possibility indeed exists.

In the meantime, three youths in the state of Missouri went exploring in the spring of 1967. What really did happen to them remains an enigma today.

Pat Dwyer
Roanoke, Virginia

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