By Cierra Putman
MIDLAND - 35 years later, the Midland Lee Rebels are still searching for their missing statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
They say no charges will be filed, they just want him back or find out what happened to him.
"It stood as a symbol of this school and what it could be," Maridell Fryar said. "It helped construct the culture of this school."
A few years after Midland Lee opened its doors in 1961, a senior class raised thousands to buy a bronzed statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
"The class of '64 did a lot of fundraising," Fryar said. "They wanted the school to have something to show its name sake."
In 1975, the Confederate General went missing. The only Rebel who saw anything was "old fritz," a civil war canon, the statues only companion. No one else knows what happened.
"They were very angry. They were sad. Most suspected one of our football rivals. Others just thought it was a prank and they'd bring it back," Fryar said.
They never did, but Rebels like Fryar never forgot General Lee.
"There's generations that don't even know he's missing," Fryar said. "But at the time it was an important icon for the kids."
Back in the 60's and 70's, before the statue was stolen, it used to reside in the school's courtyard. Now, the only evidence that it was even there is a stone pedestal. Today, you can still see the remnants of the bolts that used to hold it in place.
On the heels of the school's 50th anniversary, Fryar and others are sending out a last plea for Lee's return.
Since it's been 35 years, the statute of limitations is up. So, no one involved will face any charges.
"I just want him back home where he belongs," Fryar said.
She hopes they'll learn something by this September's homecoming.
"Indeed it may not exit anymore," she said. "But somebody somewhere knows something. We just hope someone comes forth to tell us.'
Then maybe they can put the mystery to rest.