The Lowndes County Sheriff”s Office has received a $1,431.94 bill for draining a state-line well in search of still-missing Madeline “Midge” Ponds.
Ponds, of Pickens County, was 17 when she went missing Nov. 20, 1986, while working at PJ”s One-Stop, which has been renamed Country Village, on Highway 182.
The original investigators did not check the well that was then behind the store and had not mentioned it in their reports, said Chief Deputy Greg Wright.
Current investigators recently heard a family member speculate that she could be in the well, which led to the search, he added.
HydroVac Industrial Services Inc. drained the well, which had been built over by the store, Dec. 22 without finding Ponds.
The whole process was over in about an hour, sooner than expected, Wright said. HydroVac reduced the original bill and sent it to the sheriff”s office earlier this week.
The bill charged the sheriff”s office for the use of a truck with a vacuum, which technicians used to pump the contents of the well into the truck”s storage tank. Meanwhile, deputies used a video camera to sift through the well”s contents.
Although the well was a dead end, Wright said investigators had to make sure.
“It needed to be done,” he said.