Investigators tell PEOPLE they hope to release an update in January about the case of 2-year-old DeOrr Kunz, an Idaho boy who vanished last year
Investigators tell PEOPLE they hope to release an update in January in the case of 2-year-old DeOrr Kunz, an Idaho boy who vanished last year during a family camping trip. But for now, they continue exploring multiple theories.
Four adults — DeOrr’s parents, the boy’s great-grandfather and a family friend — were at the Salmon-Challis National Forest campsite in Idaho on July 10, 2015, when the little boy disappeared.
The Lemhi County Sheriff says maybe one or all of them knows what happened to him, or maybe it was something else.
“There are all these theories,” Sheriff Steve Penner tells PEOPLE. Maybe someone from the campsite knows, or “maybe it was a nature-take, or maybe it was an abduction. We don’t know what it is at this time. We’re still investigating all possibilities.”
The day that DeOrr disappeared, he had returned from a trip to the grocery store with his mother, Jessica Mitchell, and his father, also named DeOrr Kunz. Upon returning to camp, Kunz and Mitchell went looking for a place to fish. About 50 yards away from the campsite, Kunz spotted some minnows that he thought his son 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 [his great-grandfather],” Kunz told PEOPLE earlier this year. He said he quickly turned toward Mitchell and told her their son was gone.
“I left everything where it was,” Mitchell remembered. “I just ran across the rocks, went up the embankment and went, ‘What do you mean he’s gone? What do you mean he’s missing?’ ”
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Six months after DeOrr went missing, investigators turned their attention to his parents. The sheriff at the time called them “less than truthful.” But both Kunz and Mitchell say they had nothing to do with the disappearance.
Penner has become sheriff since then and tells PEOPLE he doesn’t want to comment on who is a suspect and who isn’t. In January, he will be releasing a new update, he says.
Meanwhile, stress has broken the family apart since their son went missing: Mitchell remarried and divorced another man, while the elder Kunz has a new girlfriend and continues working as a truck driver.
“They have separate lives,” attorney Allen Browning tells PEOPLE. “It has been tough on people all around.”