Joel is in the middle; circa 1967
Name: Joel Wise Hoag
Case Classification: Endangered Missing
Missing Since: May 10, 1967
Location Last Seen: Hannibal, Marion County, Missouri
Date of Birth: July 25, 1954
Age: 13 years old
Weight: 100 lbs.
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Distinguishing Marks/Features: He has a scar on his forehead and a dark complexion. His nicknames are Joe and Joey.
Clothing: White T-shirt & blue jeans.
Additional Personal Items: 1 scout shovel, flashlights, homemade lantern.
Joel disappeared with his brother, William Hoag, and a friend, Edwin "Craig" Dowell.The boys were last seen on the south side of Hannibal, Missouri between 4:20 and 5:00 p.m. They were carrying shovels and a flashlight, and said they were going to explore Murphy's Cave, near the Highway 79 construction project. The three boys have never been heard from again.
That day, the construction work resulted in a cave-in at Murphy’s Cave. Because of the circumstances, authorities theorized the three boys were trapped inside the cave when it collapsed and weren't able to get out. Extensive search-and-rescue efforts turned up no sign of any of them, however. In 2006, construction workers building a new elementary school on Highway 79 found a small cave about 50 feet long. Authorities checked it to see if the Hoag brothers or Craig were there, but they didn't find anything. Because nothing was ever found, there's speculation that the children weren't lost in the cave and something else caused their disappearances. There's no evidence to support any other theories, however. A memorial marker for the boys has been placed in the vicinity of the cave.
William and Joel left behind five brothers and four sisters. Their family owned Hoag's Tavern, a popular restaurant on Main Street. William attended A.D. Stowell Elementary School at the time of his disappearance, and was a member of the Royal Ambassadors, a youth group at his church. The three boys' cases remain unsolved. In 2010, author Charles Stewart published a book about them, entitled A Sorrow of the Heart.
Agency Name: Hannibal Police Department
Agency Contact Person: Lieutenant John Zerbonia
Agency Phone Number: 573-221-0987
Agency E-Mail: Unknown
Agency Case Number: Unknown
NCIC Case Number: Unknown
NamUs Case Number: N/A
ABC News 7, KHQA
BGHS Missouri History
Added: 4/26/2016; Last Updated: 4/26/2016
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** Listed information is from the time of disappearance.