The search for a missing toddler countinues in remote Eastern Idaho

Published: Jul. 17, 2015 at 3:11 PM MDT
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The search for the missing 2-year-old Idaho Falls toddler has moved into day seven.

"To just come up with nothing so far is discouraging. But, you keep plugging away at it," said Lemhi County Sheriff Chief Deputy Steve Penner.

On July 10th, 2-year-old DeOrr kunz Jr. was camping with his family near the Timber Creek Reservoir, eight miles west of town. That's when authorities say he vanished.

"His parents searched for a little bit and called 911 and we were able to start the K9's right away and we weren’t able to find him," said Chief Deputy Penner. “We started doing some grid searching and even had a helicopter come in, they got here about dark, they were able to fly the area with FLIR and once again that was negative.”

After that search turned up nothing, some news agencies reported it had been called off altogether. According to the Lemhi County Sheriff's Office, that was absolutely incorrect.

"It wasn't called off; we just scaled back the human element of it. We spent quite a bit of time diving in the reservoir and we worked the creek over really good and we still haven't come up with anything," said Penner.

With little evidence of where DeOrr could have gone, the possibility of a child abduction was quick to make it to the top of the list. However, the sheriff's office doesn't believe that to be the case.

"At this time we really don't have anything that supports that. We keep that window open - and keep looking that direction in case something does come up," said Penner.

Since day one, the Kunz family has been waiting for their son to be found, still camping out at the base of the Timber Creek trail–head.

We asked a family member if they would be willing to answer a few questions, but very politely, that family member turned down the request.

With Leadore being such a small community, we were able to find a friend of the Kunz family, and she was willing to say a few words.

"Put yourself in their shoes. I have a three year old little boy and if this would have happened I would have been shocked, I would have been devastated, motionless... That's what mom has, she's motionless, she's shocked," said Stephanie Francis, friend of the Kunz family.

With the entire state wanting to bring this young child home safely, the outpouring of support has been overwhelming, but the sheriff's office is asking people to stay away, for now.

"We need to maintain some kind of order in the way we deploy so the dogs can do their thing. But we can make a phone call and get 70 people up here if we need them," said Chief Deputy Penner.

Authorities say they are going to continue to search the remote Idaho location until DeOrr is found

A pack of dogs and drivers searched the reservoir on Thursday and still found nothing.


Friday was much of the same.

Sonar equipment was even brought out to the remote site to search the deep end of the reservoir.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Lemhi County Sheriff's Office at (208)756-8980.