DeOrr Kunz Disappearance: 5 Things You Need to Know About the Missing 2-Year-Old
DeOrr Kunz disappeared during a family camping trip on an Idaho mountain nearly a year ago
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.
It’s been nearly a year since 2-year-old DeOrr Kunz disappeared during a family camping trip in the mountains of Idaho – and there still aren’t many answers as to what happened to the toddler.
In this week’s cover story, PEOPLE digs into DeOrr’s last moments before vanishing without a trace, and what is being done to find him.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. DeOrr vanished almost a year ago
On July 10, 2015, DeOrr’s father, also DeOrr Kunz, and mother Jessica Mitchell were camping in the Salmon-Challis National Forest with their little boy. Mitchell’s grandfather Robert Walton and Walton’s fishing buddy Isaac Reinwand were also at the remote campsite.
That morning, Kunz and Mitchell say they took DeOrr to a general store for supplies and snacks after cooking up a full breakfast. Following their return to camp, they say they went looking for a place to fish. Kunz says they made it 50 yards from the site before discovering some minnows he thought DeOrr would love to see.
“I walked up the embankment and when I looked over, he wasn’t in his chair and he wasn’t with [Walton],” Kunz tells PEOPLE.
Mitchell panicked, screaming and scouring the area for the toddler who loved his cowboy boots and Hot Wheels toys.
2. Searchers scoured miles of land and water and no sign of him was found
Just over an hour after DeOrr vanished, the two-mile radius around the area was quickly swarmed by officers from the Lemhi County Sheriff’s office. Search and rescue crews used all-terrain vehicles to comb the landscape, while divers scoured the nearby reservoir.
Even with 200 volunteers searching over the next two days, there were no signs of the little boy.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
3. None of the four adults on the trip have been cleared in the investigation
Investigators have interviewed everyone at the site “multiple times,” Lemhi County chief deputy Steve Penner tells PEOPLE. “There were four people there, and they have been less than truthful. No one has been cleared.”
DeOrr’s parents maintain to PEOPLE that they have nothing to hide, and insist that they cooperated fully with police up until the point that they were named suspects.
Sheriff Lynn Bowerman tells PEOPLE that while there are inconsistencies in DeOrr’s parents’ statements and timelines, police have yet to find physical evidence for proof.
4. His parents believe he’s alive
With no clothing or blood found to indicate what may have happened, Kunz and Mitchell are holding onto hope that DeOrr is still alive. The pair tells PEOPLE they’re “hopeful” they’ll see their son again. “He’s our life,” Kunz explains.
5. The remote area is home to multiple animals – and possibly people
Mitchell and Kunz tell PEOPLE they believe DeOrr was kidnapped by people living in the mountains, perhaps off the grid.
However, weather conditions would make it difficult for someone to live in the 4.2 million-acre national forest year-round, Chuck Mark, forest supervisor for the Salmon-Challis, tells PEOPLE.
Sheriff Bowerman says they don’t believe DeOrr was abducted by any humans – or animals, such as the ones who live in known bear dens near the campsite.
• With reporting by ELAINE ARADILLAS