No physical evidence has surfaced regarding the boy's disappearance

By Elaine Aradillas
June 30, 2016 10:00 AM
Courtesy Jessica Mitchell

Two-year-old DeOrr Kunz vanished in the wilds of Idaho. Subscribe now for an inside look at the search for the little boy and what his parents think happened to their son, only in PEOPLE.

In a remote area of the Idaho mountains, where 2-year-old DeOrr Kunz went missing nearly a year ago, the landscape appears untouched by time.

There are wolf and bear dens throughout the 4.3 million-acres in the Salmon-Challis National Forest, where the toddler, his parents and two other adults were on a camping trip on July 10, 2015.

Lemhi County Sheriff’s deputies and about 200 volunteers searched an approximately two-mile radius around the campsite after DeOrr disappeared. Almost a year later, there is no sign of the boy. His parents, DeOrr Kunz Sr. and Jessica Mitchell, both 26, as well as others in the community have suggested an animal could have taken him.

Authorities have swatted down the theory, despite the fact that no physical evidence has been found relating to the disappearance.

“We don’t believe it’s an abduction – either human or animal,” Lemhi County Sheriff Lynn Bowerman tells PEOPLE.

For more about the disappearance of DeOrr Kunz, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday.

Instead, investigators have focused on DeOrr’s parents, calling them suspects in their son’s disappearance. Mitchell’s grandfather, Robert Watson, and his fishing buddy, Isaac Reinwand, who were also on the trip, also have not been cleared, says chief deputy Steve Penner.

As authorities continue following up on leads and the adults navigate through a divided town swarming with theories about what could have happened to the toddler, Sheriff Bowerman says he remains focused on the task at hand.

“We need to find this child,” he says.

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