Memorial Service Held For Missing Man

Wednesday, October 3rd 2007, 6:22 am
By: News On 6

HOBART, Okla. (AP) -- After 11 years, Steven Royce Burroughs is back home. Family and friends gathered on Tuesday for a memorial service for Burroughs, an 18-year-old who disappeared from the family farmhouse outside Roosevelt in March 1996.

His remains were discovered seven years later on the family's property but extensive testing didn't identify the bones until last year. His family received the remains only recently.

"This means a lot," Burroughs' mother, Patty, said as she patted tears from her cheeks. "This should have happened a long time ago."

After the family filed a missing-person report on Burroughs, the Kiowa County sheriff's office picked up the case. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation would eventually get involved.

Patty Burroughs said a skull and two leg bones were discovered protruding from a shallow pond a quarter-mile from the family's home in late 2003.

The remains were sent in February 2004 to the state medical examiner's office, which then sent samples to the University of North Texas for mitochondrial DNA testing, OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown said.

It would be two years before results of the test were released, confirming the remains were those of Steven Burroughs. No cause of death could ever be determined.

The case remains open.

"I have no doubt he was murdered," Patty Burroughs said. "We just haven't received much help. We even hired a private investigator, and it was only because of him we were able to get Steven's remains released back to us last week."

The Rev. Dennis Yates of Roosevelt, who presided over the service at Hobart United Methodist Church, read a passage from the prophet Isaiah and played "Amazing Grace" on his guitar.

"At last, he's home," said Jessica Schroeder, who was 11 at the time of her brother, who was going to attend the University of Oklahoma, disappeared.

"Now, we won't have to wonder where he is any more," she said.