KIFI Breaking News

DeOrr Kunz investigation continues

SALMON, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Lemhi County Sheriff Steve Penner says an investigation into the disappearance of two and a half-year-old DeOrr Kunz on July 10, 2015, is still active.

The statement comes as a new Investigation Discovery television program is set to air Monday night.

While there are several theories as to what may have happened to him, Penner said none of those theories have been confirmed by his office. In a statement issued Monday Penner said, "Our investigators continue to work diligently to explore all possibilities. We can't afford to close any doors or to let frustration drive the investigation in any single direction."

Since the Sheriff's Office began its investigation, some private investigators have also become involved in the case. One of those was Klein Investigations of Nederland, Texas.

Klein Investigations senior investigator Phillip R. Klein said Monday, "Speaking on behalf of our team - nothing has changed in our investigation. The suspects are the suspects - and we the investigators are still working. We will continue to work silently as we have uncovered a misinformation campaign by certain family members in what seems to be an effort to undermine parts of the investigation."

Penner said it is "imperative" for the public to understand that the Lemhi County Sheriff's Office is the lead law enforcement agency in the case.  He said the office does receive assistance, at its request, from the Bonneville County Sheriff's Office and the FBI, private investigators and others do not speak for the sheriff's office. 

He stressed that official statements and facts regarding the case only come from the Lemhi County Sheriff's Office.

"We determine our investigative course of action by continually re-evaluating prior searches and information, (and) combining those facts with new relevant information," said Penner.

The sheriff offered this background of his office's investigation.

"On July 10, 2015, DeOrr Kunz, a two and a half-year-old toddler was reported missing from the Timber Creek Campground near Leadore, Idaho. At the time of his disappearance, DeOrr is believed to have been camping with his parents Jessica Mitchell and Vernal DeOrr Kunz, his grandfather Robert Walton, and family friend Isaac Reinwand. 

On the day DeOrr was reported missing, a deputy and the local search and rescue commander arrived on the location where DeOrr was last seen within an hour and eighteen minutes of the Lemhi County Dispatch received the 911 call.Shortly thereafter, two more law enforcement officers arrived and deployed K-9  to help with the search.  As the search for DeOrr continued, search teams, consisting of trained search and rescue members and local residents who were familiar with the area, were deployed on foot, motorcycle and ATVS.  Additionally, two rescue boats with dive teams and a helicopter with FLIR capability were deployed to the campground to assist during the late hours of July 10 and on July 11, 2015.
 
The Lemhi County Sheriff's Office scaled back the search approximately ten days after DeOrr was reported missing, although intensive searches resumed in late July, early August and the early fall of 2015, and searches of the area were again conducted in 2016 and 2017. In addition to the multiple searches of the area, all of the persons with DeOrr at the time of his disappearance have been interviewed by law enforcement officers many times and law enforcement continues to have periodic contact with those individuals."


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