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Mystery surrounding a missing Idaho toddler featured on true-crime TV show

Idaho Statesman logo Idaho Statesman 11/13/2019 By Dana Oland, The Idaho Statesman

HLN’s “Real Life Nightmare,” an investigative true-crime TV show, will air an episode about the 2015 disappearance of DeOrr Kunz Jr., who was 2 years old when he went missing from the Timber Creek Campground in Idaho’s Lemhi County.

The production company closed down the campground in June for its investigation and filming for the episode that will air Saturday.

DeOrr was on a camping trip with his mother, father, great-grandfather and a family friend in a remote area of the Salmon-Challis National Forest when he disappeared. The cold case has become internet fodder because several searches of the area, multiple sheriff’s investigations and work by a private investigator have turned up no evidence — including no evidence that DeOrr was even there.

No one has been charged in connection to the case.

The HLN show features interviews with the family done in the months following the boy’s disappearance, along with experts on behavior and investigations who point to discrepancies in the family’s stories and the evidence, and chime in on a variety of theories.

Whether or not any conclusion is reached, you’ll have to watch.

The basics

DeOrr’s parents, (Vernal) DeOrr Kunz Sr. and Jessica Mitchell, told investigators that on July 10, 2015, they took a short hike from their campsite, thinking Jessica’s grandfather, Robert Walton, was watching DeOrr. Walton said he thought DeOrr was with his parents. When they realized DeOrr was missing, they called 911, and the searches and investigations began.

Six months later, the Lemhi County Sheriff’s Office named Kunz Sr. and Mitchell as suspects in DeOrr’s disappearance, but they have never been charged, according to

The couple defended themselves to the public in a cover story in People magazine in 2016, under the headline “Without a Trace.”

How to watch

“Horror at the Campground” will air at 6 p.m. Mountain time Saturday, Nov. 16, on HLN, which is owned by CNN.


©2019 The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho)

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