Aug 24, 2015

Young Oxford treasure hunters reported missing

The Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department is asking for the public's help to locate three missing Oxford youths — Hunter McGowan, 12; Zach Burgess, 11; and Melody Cheever, 12. The trio were reported missing last night at approximately 7:00 p.m.

The missing kids recently made news on the Ole Miss campus when they discovered a human bone in the basement of the Y Building on August 4th.

Rachel McGowan, sister of Hunter and a witness to the bone discovery, believes the kids went searching for buried Civil War treasure in a maze of secret tunnels under the University.

"We have maps and everything," said Rachel from her mother's home in Jackson, Miss. "I told them not to go, but my brother was so set on finding the treasure before Professor Lowry that he couldn't wait."

The professor in question is Dr. Charles Lowry, who teaches Civil War Studies at Ole Miss. The professor, who is supervising the discovery of any artifacts during the construction work at the Y Building, could not be reached for comment.

The bone the youths found was never officially identified, but sources at the University Police Department said the bone was found at a Civil War excavation currently underway in the Y Building.

"We have our men searching the Y Building and various other sites on campus to find the children," said University Police Chief Milton Steward. "There are a hundred nooks and crannies on campus, and I'm certain it's just a matter of time before those kids turn up."

Thomas McGowan, father of Hunter and Rachel McGowan and an anthropology professor at the University of Mississippi, filed the missing persons report when his son failed to show up for supper last night.

Upon calling his daughter in Jackson, he discovered that his kids had been investigating what they believed was buried treasure in the Grove.

"Hunter is a smart boy," said McGowan. "I'm sure if he's lost somewhere, he'll find his way back. I know he and his friends are okay. We just need to find them, and we'll take all the help we can get."

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