This is the route taken by serial killer John Wayne Gacy after he abducted three boys in historic Hannibal, Missouri the early evening of May 10, 1967.
That’s a finding from the year-long paranormal investigation documented in Souls Speak: Missing Children Reveal Their Serial Killer from Beyond.
At the time, Gacy was 25 and living in Waterloo, Iowa. Until now, his only known kills were the 33 young men and boys in Cook County, Illinois between 1972-78. But I found Gacy’s evil was emerging as early as age 15 in 1957. And his prosecutor and psychiatrist, and most other authorities connected with his case, agree that he could not control his killer demon named Jack. This means Gacy was likely killing elsewhere when he lived in Springfield, IL and Waterloo, Iowa, and during travels to Arkansas and Florida. He was a completely depraved shell of a human being. He killed as easily as you might swat a mosquito. As his psychiatrist said, “He saw people as inanimate objects.”
May 10, 1967 was the last day of normalcy for the Hoag and Dowell families in historic Hannibal, Missouri, Mark Twain’s boyhood home. Joel and Bill Hoag, gregarious kids from a family of thirteen, and their neighbor, Craig Dowell, went off to play and never came home. The search for the trio centered on nearby subterranean cave networks exposed during highway construction. More than three-hundred cavers and other volunteers participated in the month-long effort to find the lost boys, but nary a sign of them was ever discovered.
The story, captured in my last book Lost Boys of Hannibal: Inside America’s Largest Cave Search, remains one of America’s most vexing mysteries. Today, we remember Joey, Billy, and Craig, and their families, as we reflect on this terrible loss.
The Hoag boys were childhood friends of mine. Joey and I, and so many other kids, were modern day Tom Sawyers and Becky Thatchers, exploring the hills, forests and cave openings in our cave-riddled state. Missouri is known as the Cave State with more than seven-thousand caves identified, and more being found regularly as land development progresses.
My next book, Souls Speak, continues the story of the lost boys, as we pursue an astonishing lead into their shared fate. This remarkable paranormal investigation, will be published and available in June 2019.