Jumping To Conclusions: The Disappearance of Deorr Kunz, 2015

little blonde toddler lad smiling

Deorr Kunz, 2.

Here is the case of a little boy missing since 10th July 2015. He was only two years old at the time and he had family nearby. Does that sound familiar? I can think of two other cases. The McCann case and the Australian Dingo case. All three have become the playthings of media theorists. Can we learn any lessons from these cases? Like for example don’t jump to conclusions?

Brief Circumstances

The little boy was on a camping trip with his mother and father. Along with them was his great grandfather and one of his friends. The group were in an isolated spot at Timber Creek Reservoir in Leodore, Idaho. Just to give you an idea, Leodore is a good eight miles of track road away. This is a camp ground, but a wild one, no gate house, electric hook up or CCTV.

google map showing the camp ground and desolate area around it.
View of the sort of terrain the search for Deorr had to contend with. The nearest town is off the map to the north east.


Mother, Jessica Mitchell, and father Vernal say they asked great grandad Bob Walton to watch the boy for a bit. Bob, who died in 2019, saw the little boy playing with toys under a tree near the camp. About ten minutes later Jessica and Vernal returned from a short walk. They said they had seen some small fish in the near by creek. They wanted to get little Deorr and show him. He was nowhere to be seen. It was about 2.30pm.

Within an hour the cops were called.

The Investigation

From viewing footage of the time the search was huge. At first public took part then it was scaled back but pursued by expert trackers etc. After interviewing the family, cops (and later FBI) looked for anyone who may have seen the group and the little boy.

little blonde toddler lad smiling
Deorr Kunz, 2.


two pictures on the left a toddler boy head shot. On the right an older mock up of how he might look at 4 years old.
The picture on the right is an age enhanced photo of how he might have looked at 4 years old.


Donations funded private detectives. Another high profile PI gave his time with his specially trained dogs for free. Ultimately nothing has been found.


Two of the PI firms that were employed later said that the parents had not been honest. They suggest that they knew more than they were saying and answers to the mystery lay within the group.

The parents were named as suspects and the only one that seems to have been above suspicion was the great grandad’s friend. Public opinion swayed back and forth. The couple, Jessica and Vernal, separated and Jessica remarried.

Despite all the effort there is no trace of little Deorr Kunz.  For information about the latest on this or if you can help click here 

My Take

The family deny any involvement in the child’s disappearance and for all I know they are telling the truth. The great grandfather has died so only three of the group remain. I was not there that day, I was not an investigator after the fact so I have nothing. Here lies my point.

Azaria Chantel Loren Chamberlain was a nine week old baby who disappeared from a camp ground in Australia in August 1980. The camp was near Uluru in the Northern Territory. Her mother and father suffered years of accusations that they killed the infant. Lindy Chamberlain did time for killing her daughter. Almost the whole world was against them. They said that the child had been taken by a wild dog called a Dingo. The problem was that had not been known before. There were rumours of Dingo attacks but little had been documented.

a lady hold a baby as it stands on its own feet
Lindy Chamberlain and her daughter


Years later the child’s clothing was found ripped and near a Dingo lair. Later examination turned the case on its head. The baby had been taken by a dog, Lindy and Michael were innocent.

Currently there is the case of Madeleine Beth McCann. In 2007 this three year old child was taken from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal. The parents were part of a group eating at a hotel restaurant across the pool area from the unlocked apartment. The group checked on the children occasionally throughout the evening. At 10pm it was noticed that though her younger twins were there, Madeleine was gone.

a picture of 3 year old girl and an age progression photo of her. dark blonde hair smiling
Madeleine McCann as she was and might have been


In comparison to the huge effort made to find Deorr Kunz the search for Madeleine was off the scale. It was country wide, Europe wide and extended into North Africa. It continues today. Not only did the Portuguese cops hunt for her, the British police looked for her. The British enquiry extended at various points right up until recently.

A key link to the Deorr case is the public opinion and that of investigators. This attitude went from full of support to accusation and suspicion aimed at the family.

The family and friends of missing Madeleine have been roundly called liars. Court cases have been fought and books published by investigators. In addition, investigators hired by the family have ranged from superb to out and out fraudsters.

A key issue was the criticism of the parents for not locking the apartment and worse leaving young children unsupervised. They became official suspects at one point and in the court of public opinion many still have them convicted. All these years later it appears a firm and probable suspect has been identified. He is a convicted German sex criminal.

Another notable case I would mention is the case of Ben Needham. This 21 month old went missing on the Greek Isle of Kos. All the accusation and suspicion, pain and scrutiny followed. In the latest analysis it is believed he may well have died from a freak accident about the time he disappeared in 1989.

Jumping to Conclusions Never Helps.

I do not know what happened to Deorr Kunz. Maybe the family does know more. Maybe they don’t.

I do know what happened to the little child in Australia in 1980 yet for years it was a case of maybe the parents did it, maybe they didn’t.

I do not know what has happened to Madeleine McCann. I hope you share my view that pointing and accusing often leaves the accuser in a dodgy position. They are vulnerable to being made to look foolish and worse the harm they can heap on a tragedy cannot be taken back.

Like the parents of Deorr Kunz, the other folk were pilloried by society.  I understand that the accusations of failed interviews and polygraphs are disturbing. I understand that on the morning Deorr disappeared he went to town with his parents. They visited stores. It is reported that no witness can be found who saw Deorr. This has given rise to the theory Deorr had met with a horrible fate long before the time he allegedly went missing. In the McCann case I have seen similar said.  Witness accounts are a difficult issue in my opinion. I have written separately about the subject.

I also understand that when family mess up a story or appear to react in a way that is strange it flags up suspicion.  The reality is, people are different. The situation they face is foreign to us. Sometimes they may have done something they feel will make them look bad so they cover a detail and dig a hole for themselves.

There are plenty of strange, random factors out there in the real world.

What do you think? Do accusations and online hit pieces yield anything positive? Maybe they fuel interest at least.

Take care of yourselves and if you have little ones…in sight at all times is best. I have been there with kids of my own. All you want is five minutes piece. You get distracted but even if you want a doze on the couch as they play on the carpet…lock the doors. I cannot imagine the pain families go through all because of some brief inattention.


do you have a case that you think needs more attention?

email: tim@reasonedcrimechronicle.com