UPDATE 2/28/17: Following the release of the ID NOW video, DeOrr’s father, Vernal DeOrr Kunz spoke with EastIdahoNews.com. In the interview, Vernal disputes the claims made by his ex-girlfriend and mother of DeOrr. Vernal told the outlet,
“I would never harm my child. Nothing about my life is normal anymore. Not a single minute goes by that I don’t try to figure out what happened to my son, and I’ll never ever stop looking for him.”
UPDATE 2/27/17: Investigation Discovery is covering the latest on this case in the original video series, ID NOW. The private investigator hired by DeOrr’s parents now insists that the parents are to blame for their son’s disappearance. And a year after DeOrr went missing, the Lemhi County Sheriff asserts that “the case has to be a homicide.” Investigators plan to search the camp grounds again this Spring.
The parents of a missing toddler have been named suspects in the child’s disappearance. NBC News reports 3-year-old DeOrr Kunz Jr. vanished last July while his parents said they were camping at Timber Creek Campground, and he hasn’t been seen since.
Authorities say that, because of DeOrr’s parents’ inconsistent stories and the fact that they have been “less than truthful,” Jessica Mitchell and Deorr Kunz Sr. are now officially suspects. Kunz Sr. has reportedly hired an attorney, according to Local News 8.
In one of the couple’s original stories, according to the report, while the family was camping in Leadore, Idaho, the couple said the child’s great-grandfather was watching DeOrr. The grandfather reportedly told authorities he believed his great-grandson was down by the creek with his parents.
The mom and dad, according to Sheriff Lynn Bowerman who spoke out to NBC News, said the couple took polygraph tests. In addition, less than a week ago the FBI turned over their reports to the Lemhi County Sheriff. It was after those findings that authorities revealed they would be publicly calling Mitchell and Kunz suspects, although they have not been formally charged.
The family wasn’t waiting for the sheriff’s office or the FBI, though — they reportedly hired their own private investigative firm. NBC News says Klein Investigations and Consulting conducted more than 80 interviews and put more than 500 man hours into finding DeOrr. The report says that, according to the consulting firm, they believe the toddler is most likely deceased, either as a result of murder or accidental death.
The Idaho State Journal spoke to Philip Klein, the Executive Officer of the firm, who worked on the case over the past seven weeks. Klein told the publication he believes that “charges will be filed.”
Sheriff Bowerman told NBC News, “We have not charged anyone at this time, because we want to get it right and avoid double jeopardy. We are continuing to investigate as we want to charge the proper people with the proper crime.”
If you have any information on this case, please contact the Lemhi County Sheriff’s Office directly: 208.756.8980.
Read more: NBC News
Read more: Idaho State Journal