IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The grandfather of a toddler who disappeared while camping last July is furious Lemhi County detectives have named his son, DeOrr Kunz Sr., and his son's girlfriend, Jessica Mitchell, as suspects in the case.
The elder DeOrr Kunz, who shares a name with his son and grandson, spoke with EastIdahoNews.com reporter Nate Eaton on the phone hours after Lemhi County Sheriff Lynn Bowerman announced the major development in the case.
Here's an unedited transcript of the phone conversation:
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com reporter: Mr. Kunz, what was your reaction when you heard the news this morning?
Elder DeOrr Kunz: I think you can tell by my reaction right now what my reaction was. It was completely off the wall, we did not expect this. We were not told anything about it. We knew nothing about this until we saw it on your news. Nothing. And I'm very upset about the fact that they have released something which is going to turn people against my family completely. They have no right to do this. They have no right.
Eaton: It sounds like the sheriff is pretty confident that Jessica and DeOrr were involved, but you don't believe that's the case.
Kunz: They have no evidence. They have not shown me one bit of evidence to support anything. Nothing. And until they give me something besides words as evidence, I want them to shut up.
Eaton: Why do you think they are pointing the finger at your son and his girlfriend?
Kunz: Because, first off, the parents are the first ones they always point fingers at on cases like this. I think they are just tired of this case. They have nowhere to go with it and they want to close it.
They want to put my son and Jessica in prison for something they have not done. That little boy loved Jessica and my son with all his heart and they loved him. They've never done any physical abuse to him. They're coming up with things that are not right and I feel they're not going to look any further than what they're looking at right now. They're going to try and convict my son and Jessica of this.
Eaton: It sounds like you're saying your son and Jessica didn't have anything to do with this.
Kunz: I don't believe it. I know it. I know my son. I know my son. He is not a monster. He could not have done any harm to that boy even if it was an accident. Hypothetically, if an accident would have happened up there and the boy was injured very badly, the thought would have never entered his mind to dig a hole, put the boy in it, and walk away. That is totally asinine. He would have thrown that boy in a truck and gone down for help.
The only one, on purpose, that could have done it is the relative and his friend. And they have totally not looked at them at all, in my opinion. I know they haven't - not like they have these two kids.
Eaton: Anything else you want the public to know?
Kunz: Please don't judge things by what they're saying right now. Let law enforcement come up with the evidence, which they have none, and that's why they can't come up with any. They're just wanting to bury this. Please give these two kids air and just please don't condemn these two kids by what you guys have said today. Don't condemn them.