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Parents named as suspects in Idaho toddler's disappearance

By Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com | Posted - Jan 25th, 2016 @ 11:29am



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SALMON, Idaho — The Lemhi County Sheriff says the parents of DeOrr Kunz Jr. have been "less than truthful" during polygraph tests and interviews with investigators.

DeOrr Kunz Sr. and Jessica Mitchell were officially named suspects Monday in connection with the child's disappearance. Previously, the parents had been persons of interest in the case.

Sheriff Lynn Bowerman tells EastIdahoNews.com that Kunz and Mitchell have changed their story "numerous times" about what happened during a family camping trip on July 10.

In a July interview with EastIdahoNews.com, Kunz and Mitchell said they were camping in Leadore when they left their son with Robert Walton, Mitchell's grandfather, and Isaac Reinwand, a friend of Walton. The couple says they went on a 20-minute walk and when they returned, DeOrr was gone.

DeOrr Kunz, Jr. (Photo: Family Photo/EastIdahoNews.com)

Bowerman says the parents have told investigators conflicting stories "since the beginning."

"Their timeline keeps changing, where they were at keeps changing, and movements and statements about DeOrr Jr. keep changing," Bowerman tells EastIdahoNews.com.

Bowerman says portions of polygraph tests administered to Kunz and Mitchell have come back inconclusive - including questions about knowing what happened to DeOrr, why the child disappeared and where the toddler is located.

"Their statements don't match, and it's frustrating because we have absolutely no idea where DeOrr is," Bowerman says. "There have been so many inconsistencies that it's hard to tell the truth from everything they've said."

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Bowerman says polygraphs administered to Reinwand and Walton have been inconclusive, but those results were expected because of both men's mental states.

Bowerman and Lemhi County Chief Deputy Steve Penner were in Idaho Falls all weekend working with Bonneville County Sheriff detectives and FBI agents.

Bowerman says Kunz and Mitchell were interviewed along with Walton and Reinwand. Walton and Reinwand have not been cleared, but investigators are focusing on Kunz and Mitchell, Bowerman said.

"We're asking anyone with information about Kunz or Mitchell that could help in this case to come forward," Bowerman said. "We want this case solved, and we need the public's help."

"I don't think that arrests are imminent, but we're leaving all options open," Bowerman says. "We don't want charge them too early should we find DeOrr and things change."

Bowerman is "100 percent" positive the child was not abducted and he credits the FBI and the Bonneville County Sheriff's Office for playing a major role in helping the investigation. He says investigators are working very hard to resolve this case.

"I have a responsibility to the public to be open about this case," he says.

No arrest warrants had been issued as of Monday morning.

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