Three Boys Disappear in Hannibal: May 10, 1967

Three boys, last seen by a schoolteacher exploring the area around a newly opened cave, disappeared on this date in 1967. Thirteen-year old Joel Hoag, his eleven-year old brother Billy, and their fourteen-year old friend Craig Dowell were exploring the area where state highway 79 was under construction at the time. The construction had uncovered and opened a cave, called Murphy’s Cave, which it is believed the boys were exploring when they disappeared.

Despite rescuers conducting searches in the cave for nearly a month, no remains of the boys were ever found. At least one rescue worker involved in the search believes a section of the cave may have collapsed on top of the boys, but others do not think they could be inside. In the wake of the disappearance, a book about the search was written by John Wingate called Lost Boys of Hannibal: Inside America’s Largest Cave Search. There is also a podcast that details the story of the search and possible theories around the fate of the three boys titled “The Lost Boys of Hannibal.”

Although it’s still not clear what became of the three missing boys, new leads and efforts to uncover the truth are still being discovered and reported on to this day.