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Missing toddler's father says he would never hurt his son after accusations from ex-girlfriend

By Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com | Posted - Feb 27th, 2017 @ 5:51pm



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IDAHO FALLS — The father of missing Idaho Falls toddler DeOrr Kunz Jr. says he would never hurt or do anything to his child, despite what his ex-girlfriend says in a newly released video.

Vernal DeOrr Kunz spoke with EastIdahoNews.com on Monday after learning Jessica Mitchell, his ex-girlfriend, made claims about him in a nearly eight-minute long Investigation Discovery video.

“I believe DeOrr’s father could have hurt him,” Mitchell says in the video. “He’s living his life like it’s nothing and I’m falling apart every day.”

Mitchell and Kunz were camping with Mitchell’s grandfather, Robert Walton, and Isaac Reinwand, a friend of Walton’s, at Timber Creek Campground in Lemhi County in July 2015 when DeOrr vanished.

After numerous searches of the campground and surrounding areas, no clues of DeOrr’s whereabouts have ever been found.

In January 2016, former Lemhi County Sheriff Lynn Bowerman named Kunz and Mitchell as suspects in DeOrr’s disappearance, but the parents were never charged or arrested.

“I would never harm my child,” Kunz tells EastIdahoNews.com Monday. “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.”

Mitchell and her mother, Trina Bates Clegg, appear in the Investigation Discovery video and Mitchell maintains she doesn’t know where DeOrr is.

“There is no reason for me to hide anything,” Mitchell says. “I am going to stand up and fight for my son. I did not kill my son. One hundred percent – I did not kill my son.”

The video mentions evidence private investigator Philip Klein claims to have found at the Timber Creek Campground, including blood spatter on DeOrr’s truck.

Clegg questions Klein’s findings.

“If there was true blood of baby DeOrr’s on that truck, why were no arrests made?” Clegg says in the video.

When reached for comment Monday, Clegg tells EastIdahoNews.com she “just wants help finding the truth for baby DeOrr.”

The video also addresses polygraph tests Mitchell and Kunz took and failed numerous times, according to Klein.

Mitchell says she failed the tests because “she was a grieving mother.”

Kunz, who was not interviewed in the video, tells EastIdahoNews.com he still believes his son is alive.

“I will never give up hope my son is alive and I will see him again,” Kunz says. “Being his father is the best thing I’ve ever done and will do.”

Lemhi County Sheriff Steve Penner tells EastIdahoNews.com he has no comment on the video and says his office continues to investigate DeOrr’s disappearance.

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