Rest-stop Graffiti Reopens Hunt For Boy
Posted: 12/15/02 12:15 am
Rest-stop graffiti reopens hunt for boy
October 4, 1999
Police won't reveal contents, but say it's linked to 8-year-old's disappearance
The Associated Press
KLAMATH FALLS -- Police are investigating whether graffiti on a restroom wall at a rest area in Eastern Oregon is connected to the disappearance of a Bonanza boy who vanished on a snowy Christmas tree-hunting trip in December.
Lt. Ray Duman of the Oregon State Police's criminal division in Baker City said travelers passing through the Sagehen Rest Area about 10 miles west of Burns saw the graffiti Sept. 24 and called authorities.
Authorities examined the scene, he said. Investigators removed the piece of wall with the graffiti. It was not clear how long it had been there.
Oregon State Police spokesman Lt. Gregg Hastings said Sunday there would be no comment on the content of the graffiti.
"It hasn't been determined if this was someone playing a prank or if the person who placed it has information," he said, adding that police didn't want to raise false hopes.
"There was some information that caused concern," said Klamath County Sheriff Carl Burkhart. "Since (the boy) has never been found, we have to take everything that comes up as an important factor."
Detective John Doughty of the Klamath County Sheriff's Office went to Burns to investigate the incident.
Eight-year-old Derrick Engebretson has been missing since Dec. 5 when he vanished in the woods on Pelican Butte northwest of Klamath Falls while looking for a Christmas tree with his father and grandfather.
An intensive two-week search of the area was unsuccessful. Several searches this summer also have turned up empty.
Family members wonder if he may have found his way to a road and been kidnapped, and have offered a reward of $20,000 for his safe return.
Authorities do not rule that out but say it is far more likely that the boy died on the mountain.
"We haven't found one shred of evidence that actually is connected with the boy," Burkhart said of the searches. "(Searchers) have found beer cans, candy bar wrappers, a global position system device and a citizen's band radio. We know they're covering the ground."
Hundreds of searchers blanketed the area, using helicopters, heat-seeking devices and trained dogs when the boy vanished. Dogs also were used this summer to no avail.
Copyright © The Mail Tribune 1999, Medford, Oregon USA