OXFORD – When Mary Lynnette Duncan died in June 2000, she left her boys an aunt who would love them as her own.
“This was their mother and my sister,” Melanie Anne Duncan said, holding her late sister’s employee ID from Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi.
It would take more than 10 years for the boys to realize their mother had also left them something else.
On Tuesday, State Treasurer Tate Reeves came to Oxford to present James Michael Duncan, now 25, and Kevin Shane Taylor, 20, with identical $36,880 checks from the proceeds of their mother’s life insurance policy.
“The year 2000 was an incredibly hard year for us,” Melanie Duncan said. “She died June 26, and on Sept. 2 my oldest brother had a really bad accident,” leaving him hospitalized until the end of November.
Add in a change in residence a few months later, she said, and “It just didn’t get settled.”
Reeves’ office has an Unclaimed Property Division to handle old utility deposits, bank accounts, insurance company disbursements and similar funds for people whom the companies cannot find.
State Rep. Noal Akins of Oxford said Reeves’ office routinely sends him lists of Lafayette County residents with unclaimed property.
“The people I knew on that list, I always gave them a call,” he said. “It’s amazing how much money is in the state treasury.”
Akins was unfamiliar with the household, so Herb Montgomery of the Department of Public Safety was dispatched to find the brothers.
“He told me who he was, and then all this starts clicking,” said Melanie Duncan, chief dispatcher for the Oxford Police Department. “I grabbed him and hugged on him.'”
Both young men plan to invest conservatively. James Duncan, a training supervisor for a security company, travels extensively, so he’s thinking of a newer used vehicle.
“I need a truck that I can drive back and forth,” he said.
Shane Taylor, a bakery worker and musician, said he may invest a small chunk of his windfall in a new guitar.
“Sometimes I play with some of my friends on the Square,” he said.
Melanie Duncan isn’t surprised at her nephews’ careful plans.
“We’re pretty conservative,” she said.
Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal