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  1. #1

    MO - Edwin Dowell, 14, Joel, 13, & William Hoag, 11, Hannibal, 10 May 1967


    Edwin Craig Dowell

    Lost/Injured Missing from Hannibal, Missouri since May 10, 1967

    Age: 14

    Edwin goes by his middle name, Craig.



    Joel Hoag

    Lost/Injured Missing from Hannibal, Missouri since May 10, 1967

    Age: 13

    Joel's nicknames are Joe and Joey.



    William Hoag

    Lost/Injured Missing from Hannibal, Missouri since May 10, 1967

    Age: 11

    Williams nicknames are Bill and Billy.



    Edwin and brothers Joel and William were last seen on the south side of Hannibal, Missouri between 4:20 and 5:00 pm on May 10, 1967. They were carrying shovels and a flashlight, and they said they were going to explore Murphy's Cave, near the Highway 79 construction project.

    That day, the construction work resulted in a cave-in at Murphy's Cave. Because of the circumstances, authorities theorized the boys were trapped inside the cave when it collapsed. Extensive search and rescue efforts turned up no signs of the boys. Their case remains unsolved.


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  2. #2
    45 years missing

    Missouri’s Route 79 is a beautiful roadway cutting through the state’s eastern hills and tiny subtle towns.

    [snip]

    Some of the drivers may not know it, but a portion of Route 79 in Hannibal could be the final resting place of three missing boys.

    [snip]

    It was a Tuesday night when Billy and Joey came back home covered in mud. A new Route 79 was being constructed (that’s the route everyone knows today) and the deep holes dug into the hillside along the roads that lead into Lovers Leap and Riverside Cemetery had revealed a maze of passage ways which led into the caves. The Hoag brothers did some exploring, but were sure to be back home when expected. DeDe recalls her mother, Helen Hoag, scolding the boys to wash their clothes and stay away from the construction zone they were in. Unexplored caves or not she didn’t want her children being somewhere they shouldn’t.

    But boys will be boys.

    [snip]

    A memorial atop Lovers Leap has since been placed to honor the memory of the boys and the search crews.

    With today’s technology, Henderson believes a new search could be conducted, but the chances of that happening are non-existent. He’s very certain the boys are buried beneath the southbound lanes of Route 79 just before the Lovers Leap tourist sign.

    More: http://www.hannibal.net/news/x639960...-years-missing

  3. #3
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    This is very sad. However, it points the danger of such cave exploring by those too inexperienced to know the dangers of what they were doing especially doing it near on-going construction work.

    I note the day they disappeared was a Wednesday so I take it the three boys had started their "activities" after school. I wonder how close they came to any construction workers at that site? If the workers had seen the boys, would they have warned them to stay out of that area?

  4. #4
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    from the new article

    "“They got forensic and all that stuff, they could probably get it solved. Will they ever? You think they’re going to close down that highway to build on a speculation? No. You’re going to have to have proof, beyond a shadow of a doubt,” Henderson said. “It would be quite interesting if you could go down and dig in that hole. My own opinion is you’re going to find Billy and Joey. Where you’re going to find Craig, I don’t know. I think something bad happened to him.”

    I don't know why, but this paragraph, the last in the article bugs me. MOO and all, and maybe it is just me, but, to me, something bad happened to all the boys.






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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by WholeLottaRosie View Post
    from the new article

    "“They got forensic and all that stuff, they could probably get it solved. Will they ever? You think they’re going to close down that highway to build on a speculation? No. You’re going to have to have proof, beyond a shadow of a doubt,” Henderson said. “It would be quite interesting if you could go down and dig in that hole. My own opinion is you’re going to find Billy and Joey. Where you’re going to find Craig, I don’t know. I think something bad happened to him.”

    I don't know why, but this paragraph, the last in the article bugs me. MOO and all, and maybe it is just me, but, to me, something bad happened to all the boys.
    Maybe they think Billy and Joey died accidentally in a cave collapse, but Craig was abducted and taken elsewhere? Why else would Henderson imply that Craig's location might be different from that of Billy and Joey?

    That was a very strange statement Henderson made, and it makes me feel there might be more to this story than has been told.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marilynilpa View Post
    Maybe they think Billy and Joey died accidentally in a cave collapse, but Craig was abducted and taken elsewhere? Why else would Henderson imply that Craig's location might be different from that of Billy and Joey?

    That was a very strange statement Henderson made, and it makes me feel there might be more to this story than has been told.

    Thanks, Marilyn. Glad to see someone else takes it that way too.






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  7. #7
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    Yikes. That is very odd. Sounds like that's the first assumption that all 3 boys werent together , where ever they ended up.

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  8. #8
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    The wording does sound odd. What would be the odds that 3 young men would disappear at the same time, yet not all in the same manner? If one met a different fate than the others, it seems it would still have to somehow be related.

    My own personal belief is that they all perished in a cave-in. They were all last seen heading toward the cave and there was a known cave-in that day, so it just seems logical.

  9. #9
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    The conflict in wording could be that inforation came from two separate sources/reports. One being Joel and William's parents and the other being from Edwin Craig Dowell's parents.

    A few years ago, the body of a man who had been missing in a very similar situation was recovered from a Cave. There is a discussion somewhere here on Websleuths about it.

  10. #10
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    Poor little guys. I wish somehow their remains would be found so at least their relatives can put them to rest. It would be awful not knowing for sure what happened, wondering if they were trapped in a dark cave for days before they passed on, wondering if they are resting under the highway. I still feel it's the most likely explanation that they were killed in a cave-in. In my family we used to hunt caves and do lots of dangerous stuff when I was a teenager (and we were GIRLS) so I can just imagine how brave these boys must have been and how excited they were to go exploring.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogperson View Post
    Poor little guys. I wish somehow their remains would be found so at least their relatives can put them to rest. It would be awful not knowing for sure what happened, wondering if they were trapped in a dark cave for days before they passed on, wondering if they are resting under the highway. I still feel it's the most likely explanation that they were killed in a cave-in. In my family we used to hunt caves and do lots of dangerous stuff when I was a teenager (and we were GIRLS) so I can just imagine how brave these boys must have been and how excited they were to go exploring.
    I lived in nearby Quincy, IL and later in the Marion/Ralls Co., MO. area. I remember wanting to explore a cave outside of Quincy when I was little and my dad told me the story of the three boys "getting lost in the cave," and thats how we were taught not to wander off into the terrain; sadly.
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  12. #12
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    A Hannibal mystery 48 years in the making

    snip
    DeDe said neighbors reported seeing the boys go into Murphy's Cave, near where Stowell Elementary School sits today.

    "They mapped that whole thing out completely, they mapped it out so thoroughly, they searched so many caverns," DeDe said.

    At the time, a third boy, Craig Dowell, also had gone missing; but to this day, it's unclear whether Dowell joined the Hoag boys or not.

    "That case remains open, and will remain open," Hannibal Police Department Lieutenant John Zerbonia said.

    Zerbonia said the department will follow up on any credible leads it receives, but as for another search, that won't happen.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by luckyseven View Post
    Interesting comments after the article.

  14. #14
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    MO - Edwin Dowell, 14, Joel Hoag, 13, & William Hoag, 11, Hannibal, 10 May 1967

    I thought I'd summarize the comments so future posters aren't left wondering when/if the article becomes unavailable.
    One man says that he was supposed to go with them, but had a paper route and thus did not end up going. (Idk if he meant he had a route the next morning or some type of evening route.)
    Another poster says that a friend of her dad's actually did go with them, but got scared and left.
    Another poster says he belonged to a team of "cavers" who had originally searched for the boys. His team had been in the caves a few weeks prior and now saw new collapses. They came to believe the boys had gone deep into the caves and a their exit route had collapsed behind them.
    All commenters are by FB login and seem believable (I mean, nothing crazy).

  15. #15
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    Mystery over disappearing boys remains unsolved 50 years later

    http://www.hannibal.net/news/2017051...50-years-later

    The three boys routinely explored caves in Hannibal’s Southside neighborhood. They used the Hoag family’s aluminum ladder to reach cave entrances not easily accessible — mud from Hannibal’s underbelly caked on the rungs. Like many neighborhood children, eager to find adventure like the fictional characters enshrined in Mark Twain’s stories set in Hannibal, they sought exciting action underground.

    Armed with flashlights and a shovel (or so witnesses saw) the three boys set off on May 10, 1967, presumably intent on finding another adventure like Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn.

    But on this day, they didn’t return home.

    Suppertime passed and the three kids still hadn’t returned from the caves, sparking a massive search that drew national attention for the next ten days as the Hannibal community awaited word on the fate of the three youngsters.

    Despite an enormous and expensive effort, the three children were never found.

    The disappearance of Billy Hoag, 10, Joey Hoag, 13 and Craig Dowell, 14, remains one of Hannibal’s greatest mysteries 50 years after the trio entered the sprawling Murphy’s Cave complex.

    Or did they?

    In the 50 years since the trio seemingly vanished, rumors and theories have swirled about their fate.

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