Derrick James Engebretson

Friday, March 03, 2006

TIPS ENERGIZE SEARCH FOR BOY MISSING FOR NEARLY FOUR YEARS

Paid Oregonian Archives

July 18, 2002

TIPS ENERGIZE SEARCH FOR BOY MISSING FOR NEARLY FOUR YEARS
Summary: The focus widens in the hunt for the 8-year-old who disappeared while on a Christmas tree outing
Klamath County authorities hope to conduct a massive foot search early this fall in the mountains near Rocky Point for the remains of an 8-year-old boy who disappeared there during a family Christmas tree hunt nearly four years ago.


Searchers have looked dozens of times for Derrick Engebretson since the Bonanza third-grader vanished Dec. 5, 1998, while hiking above Upper Klamath Lake with his father and grandfather. But this fall's search will extend beyond spots already combed in previous hunts by police, volunteers and members of the boy's family, said county sheriff's Detective John Dougherty.
The search follows a ramped-up investigation into the possibility that Derrick was abducted, possibly by a man in a black Honda automobile, said Oregon State Police Detective Ken Pecyna.

Lori Engebretson, the boy's mother, said state police have been working additional tips seriously since last fall and have intensified their investigation in recent months. But she acknowledged Wednesday that she is still battling with the larger mystery of her son's disappearance.

"I can't imagine what God had in mind for this," she said.

Police hope to confirm, or discount, a tip that Derrick was abducted by the man. They are following up on a rumor that the boy was seen struggling with someone near the remote site of his disappearance.

"We don't know if (the tipster) really knows something or if they're trying to get attention," said Lt. Dale Rutledge, a state police spokesman.

While police seek the public's help in corroborating the tip that Derrick was abducted, the boy's fate remains unclear.

"Our main goal -- everybody's goal who is working on this case -- is that we find Derrick no matter what the circumstance, so the family can have some closure," Pecyna said.

State police are asking anyone with information about Derrick's disappearance to phone them at 800-452-7888.
You can reach Bryan Denson at 503-294-7614 or by e-mail at bryandenson@news.oregonian.com.

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