Derrick James Engebretson

Friday, March 03, 2006

Police pursue new lead in Engebretson case

Police pursue new lead in Engebretson case


State police are chasing a new lead that an 8-year-old Bonanza boy who disappeared while hunting for a Christmas tree with his father and grandfather may actually have been abducted.

Investigators for state police and the Klamath County Sheriff’s Department appealed to the public Tuesday for information about a late-model black two-door Honda seen in the search area on Dec. 5, 1998, the day Derrick Engebretson disappeared.

A man driving the car may have stopped and asked for directions near the community of Rocky Point, about 20 miles northwest of Klamath Falls, and may have been seen struggling with a boy, said state police spokesman Lt. Dale Rutledge.

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, and efforts to track him were foiled by falling snow.

The three had been walking together most of that day and were never far from a paved road. At one point, however, Derrick’s father, Robert Engebretson, walked ahead of Derrick and his grandfather, Bob Engebretson.

A little later, Derrick wanted to catch up to his father, just up a snowy hill and out of sight. The boy was never seen again.

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 for several days, but turned up little more than a child’s bookmark that no one could be sure was Derrick’s.

After the search was called off, Robert and Lori Engebretson of Bonanza continued looking on their own for the son they nicknamed ‘‘Bear Boy.’’

Combined wire, local reports

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