Police Probe 1998 Missing Boy Case
By JIM PARKER and KRISTA VASQUEZ, KGW Staff
State and local police are reevaluating their investigation into the 1998 disappearance of an 8-year old Oregon boy, saying they now believe he could have been abducted.
Derrick James Engebretson was reported missing on December 5, 1998, during an outing with his father and grandfather at a Christmas tree farm in the Rocky Point area of rural Klamath County.
Derrick James Engebretson. (KGW Photo)
Dressed in a snowsuit, the boy was last seen by his grandfather, who handed him a hatchet and sent him up a hill to join his father. The boy never reached his father.
An extensive search at the time failed to locate the boy, said Oregon State Police Lt. Dale Rutledge. Efforts to track him were foiled by falling snow.
Hundreds of people, dog teams and an Air Force helicopter equipped with an infrared scanner combed the snowy woods on the flanks of Pelican Butte outside Rocky Point, but turned up little more than a child's bookmark that no one could be sure was Derrick's.
An enhanced image showing what Derrick Engebretson would look like now at age 11. (KGW Photo/Center for Missing Children)
After the search was called off, Robert and Lori Engebretson of Bonanza continued looking on their own for the son they nicknamed "Bear Boy."
Authorities closed the case after concluding it was likely the boy, who would now be age 11, probably became lost in the wilderness and perished.
But Tuesday, Rutledge said investigators had developed new information in the case and asked for the public’s help to determine whether the new lead was credible.
State troopers and the Klamath County Sheriff’s Dept. was asking for help in locating a black Honda that was spotted in the area where the boy disappeared four years ago.
Police are looking for witness who may have seen this black Honda back in 1998. (KGW Photo/OSP)
Investigators think the man driving the car may have stopped to ask for directions and could have struggled with Engebretson.
They asked for anyone who may have noticed the car or its driver on that date to call 1-800-
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