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Remembering Deorr Kunz, 9 years without answers


IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - July 10, 2024, marks 9 years since 2-year-old Deorr Kunz Jr. disappeared from Timber Creek campground in Lemhi County. According to the controversial volunteer group "Justice for Baby Deorr," the day marks "another year without answers."

In the years since the boy's disappearance, police have developed 3 theories as to what happened to the 2-year-old. First, an animal killed the child, Deorr was possibly abducted, or he was the victim of foul play.

Phillip Klein, of Klein Investigations and Consulting, has theorized that the parents, Jessica Mitchell and Vernal Deorr Kunz, know what happened to their son. Klein worked as a private investigator on the case, hired by Deorr's parents to find their son.

Klein was let go by the family years ago because of his accusations. Then, Vernal hired another private investigator named David Marshburn, who is still involved with the case.

Klein has actively repeated his theory in online interviews.

The parents still insist they had nothing to do with Deorr's disappearance. In 2019, they sued Klein for defamation.

According to attorney Allan Browning, that case was thrown out because the judge did not believe enough evidence was provided to prove Klein had slandered Vernal Kunz. 

While Klein has written online that he proved his case in the slander trial. "Vernal Kunz lost his case after the judge reviewed the evidence and in part stated "The Truth is the Ultimate Defense," Klein wrote in a Facebook post.

Browning has filed another slander suit this year directed at the woman behind the "Justice for Baby Deorr" group.

"I've actually filed suit against Kali Pearson because she won't stop," Browning said. "She has pushed Vernal to the point of near suicide...When all this came down in the earlier years ago, he went into counseling to get rid of the suicidal ideation that he was having because she was telling the world, and Klein was telling the world, that he killed his son."

Browning is urgently asking for the accusations to cease, and to simply focus on finding the child.

Local News 8 has reached out to Klein for comment, and in response received an email from the Justice for Baby Deorr group that Klein and his organization "are not taking interviews at this time."

The volunteer group, "Justice for Baby Deorr", writes they "still have faith" Deorr will be found.

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Seth Ratliff

Seth is a reporter for Local News 8.


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