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OR DERRICK JAMES ENGEBRETSON: Missing from Bonanza, OR - 5 Dec 1998 - Age 8

Discussion in 'Missing 1990 to 1999' started by Paaskeharen, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. Paaskeharen

    Paaskeharen The Danish Thinker


    Derrick James Engebretson
    • [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    • [​IMG][​IMG]
    • [​IMG]
    Derrick, circa 1998; Age-progression to 18 (circa 2008); Vehicle similar to the model reportedly driven by an unidentified male on the day of Engebretson's disappearance

    • Missing Since12/05/1998
    • Missing FromBonanza, Oregon
    • ClassificationEndangered Missing
    • Date of Birth07/05/1990 (28)
    • Age8 years old
    • Height and Weight4'6, 85 pounds
    • Clothing/Jewelry DescriptionA blue snowmobile suit, a size 12 or 14 denim jacket, navy blue Route 66 pants, a black sweatshirt, an Oakland A's t-shirt, a hat, felt-lined camouflage-print boots and gloves with the Goosebumps logo.
    • Distinguishing CharacteristicsCaucasian male. Brown hair, hazel eyes. Derrick has dog bite scars on his chin, between his nostrils and under his nose. He has a cowlick. His nickname is Bear Boy due to his love of the outdoors.
    Details of Disappearance
    Derrick was looking for a Christmas tree in the Rocky Point area of Winema National Forest in Klamath County, Oregon on December 5, 1998. He wandered away from his father and grandfather during the day and apparently became lost.

    Derrick has never been seen again. Extensive air and ground searches yielded few clues as to his whereabouts. A blizzard hit the area the evening he was reported missing, hampered search efforts and obliterated any tracks that might have been there.

    Volunteers discovered a candy wrapper and a Bonanza School bookmark near Rocky Point several days after Derrick disappeared. Blood of an unknown origin was also located at the scene. It is not known if the materials were connected to Derrick's case, but he had been enrolled at the school in 1998.

    A crude shelter made of fir boughs under several fallen logs are located on the mountain, but tracker dogs at the site did not seem to detect Derrick's scent. In the days following his disappearance the temperature dipped below zero and there was a great deal of snow and wind; police are of the opinion that Derrick could not have survived long on the mountain. They speculated he succumbed to the elements.

    Authorities investigated Derrick's case as a possible abduction shortly after he disappeared. An unidentified adult male was driving a black Honda in the Rocky Point area on December 5. A photo of a vehicle similar to the man's car is posted with this case summary. The individual reportedly asked for directions while in the forest.

    A witness allegedly saw an unidentified individual struggling with a young boy near the area later in the day. The witness did not stop because he assumed the man was the boy's father. Investigators do not know if the incident is related to Derrick's case. His father and grandfather have both taken polygraphs and are not considered suspects.

    In 1999, police discovered graffiti scrawled on the wall of a public restroom that they thought might have a connection to Derrick's disappearance. They never released the wording of the graffiti, but a portion of the wall was removed and sent to a state laboratory for analysis. Investigators eventually concluded that the writing was a cruel joke.

    In 2004, investigators announced that convicted child rapist Frank J. Milligan is the prime suspect in Derrick's disappearance. Milligan, a former aide in a children's psychiatric ward, is serving a sixty-year prison sentence for kidnapping a ten-year-old boy in 2000, raping him, and slashing his throat. The child survived the attack. Milligan also was convicted of sexually abusing an eleven-year-old boy.

    Authorities theorize that Derrick made it to the roadside on the day of his disappearance and was picked up by Milligan. An inmate of Milligan's told police and Derrick's family that he bragged about killing the missing boy while in prison.

    When authorities confronted him, Milligan confessed to killing the child. He said he would plead guilty to the murder if he was spared the death penalty. He offered to lead investigators to his body, but a search turned up nothing and Milligan later recanted his confession. He has not been charged in connection with Derrick's case but is still considered a strong suspect.

    Derrick carried a small hatchet at the time of his disappearance. His father says he is accustomed to mountain terrain and routinely walked distances up to twenty miles through the southern Oregon countryside. Derrick enjoyed reading R.L. Stine's Goosebumps books series at the time he went missing. His case is unsolved.
    Investigating Agency
    • Klamath County Sheriff's Office 541-883-5130
    Source Information



    edited to add link to media
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2018
  2. Paaskeharen

    Paaskeharen The Danish Thinker

    3332DMOR- Derrick James Engebretson

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    The image on the right has been age-progressed to 18 years.

    Name: Derrick James Engebretson
    Case Classification: Endangered Missing
    Missing Since: December 05, 1998
    Location Last Seen: Bonanza, Klamath County, Oregon

    Physical Description
    Date of Birth: July 5, 1990
    Age: 8 years old
    Race: White
    Gender: Male
    Height: 4'6"
    Weight: 85 lbs.
    Hair Color: Brown
    Eye Color: Hazel
    Nickname/Alias: Bear Boy
    Distinguishing Marks/Features: Scar on chin, Scar between nostrils

    Dentals: Available
    Fingerprints: Not Available
    DNA: Available

    Clothing & Personal Items
    Clothing: Blue snowmobile suit, denim jacket size 12-14,Rt 66 pants in navy blue, Oakland A's sweatshirt, and a black sweatshirt, a hat, felt-lined boots, and gloves with a Goosebumps logo
    Jewelry: Unknown
    Additional Personal Items: Camo boots, He was carrying a small hatchet

    Circumstances of Disappearance
    Derrick Engebretson became separated from his father and grandfather while they were looking for a Christmas tree in the Rocky Point area of the Winema National Forest in Klamath County, Oregon on December 5, 1998. The three were walking together most of the time that day and were never very far from the paved road. But, at one point, Robert walked ahead of Derrick and his grandfather.

    A little later, Derrick wanted to catch up with his father, just up the snowy hill and out of sight. The grandfather told Derrick to follow his father's footsteps in the snow. The boy has been unreported since. Extensive air and ground searches yielded few clues as to Engebretson's whereabouts. A blizzard hit the area the evening Derrick was reported missing which destroyed any tracks that may have been left.

    Investigating Agency(s)
    Agency Name: Klamath County Sheriff's Office
    Agency Contact Person: Sergeant Monty Holloway
    Agency Phone Number: (541) 883-5130
    Agency E-Mail: N/A
    Agency Case Number: 98-3506

    NCIC Case Number: Unknown
    NamUs Case Number: 6037
    NCMEC Case Number: 857924
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  3. Paaskeharen

    Paaskeharen The Danish Thinker

    Still missing: 10 years later, questions linger about boy
    BY CHRIS CONRAD December 05, 2008

    It's been a decade since 8-year-old Derrick Engebretson disappeared in the woods near Klamath Falls while Christmas tree hunting with his family.

    Police hope another 10 years won't go by before closure is brought to Lori and Robert Engebretson, who continue to hold onto a shred of hope their son made it off Pelican Butte alive that night.

    "We don't know anymore," Lori Engebretson said. "For a while I thought maybe we would find him on the mountain. We also wonder if someone may have taken him."

    The couple, who live in Bonanza, still search Pelican Butte on occasion, but the steep, rugged terrain near the northern end of Upper Klamath Lake has become an impediment. The couple used to spend much of their time combing the mountain in the years after a massive search effort by several police agencies failed to turn up any sign of Derrick.

    "I am not as young as I used to be," Lori Engebretson said.

    Derrick was on the hunt for a Christmas tree with his parents and grandfather when he wandered off and disappeared into the snowy woods about 30 miles from Klamath Falls.

    His family attempted a hasty search immediately after it became clear the boy had become separated from his grandfather. They called authorities, who descended on the area over the next few weeks with hundreds of volunteers, snowmobiles and search dogs.

    Eventually, the search teams drifted away, leaving the Engebretsons without answers.

    A Christmas tree decorated with teddy bears and ornaments remains near the spot where the family pickup was parked that day. The spot could hold some clues about what happened to Derrick, Lori Engebretson said.

    "We know he made it back to the truck because we found some wood he had chopped with his little hatchet near there," she said. "We also found a snow angel he had made near the road, so we know he made it out of the woods at some point."

    The mystery took a turn six years ago, when Lori Engebretson received word from Salem police saying a man lodged in the Marion County Jail had bragged to a cellmate that he had kidnapped and murdered the boy, according to stories in The Oregonian.

    Jack Milligan, who is serving 36 years in prison for raping and assaulting a 10-year-old boy in Dallas, Ore., continues to be a suspect in Derrick's disappearance, Lori Engebretson said.

    Klamath County Sheriff's Office Det. Jeff Lord would not comment on whether he has singled out Milligan as a suspect. Lord said the case remains open and he is working with Oregon State Police to solve Derrick's case.

    "We won't give up," said Lord, who has a picture of Derrick near his desk. "You don't give up on these cases."

    Lord has hiked the terrain surrounding Pelican Butte several times, saying the area has become more difficult to search as the brush has thickened over the decade.

    The Engebretsons are organizing a large-scale search of the area this summer. In the meantime, they remain in contact with police to keep abreast of possible changes in the investigation.

    "Hopefully, someone will remember something and call us or the police so we can have Derrick back," Lori Engebretson said.

    Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Klamath County Sheriff's Department at 541-883-5130.

    Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471, or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.
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  4. Whatsnext

    Whatsnext Well-Known Member

  5. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    20 years later, family still holding out hope missing boy will return home

    Derrick Engebretson went missing 20 years ago on Wednesday.

    He, his father Robert and his grandfather Bob all went Christmas tree hunting in Rocky Point. Derrick was supposed to cut down the tree in 1998.

    After 20 years of searching, dead end leads and waiting, a memorial still hangs from a tree in the spot Derrick was last seen.

    Search and Rescue in Klamath County never found a boy's body in the Rocky Point area.

    "You never go into something thinking, 'well, I'm going to be talking about this 20 years from now,' and if you do, it's because it's a success story," Lt. Brian Bryson, Search and Rescue Coordinator, said.

    All the clues and evidence in the search for Derrick have been dead ends, including a confession from convicted sex offender Frank Milligan that he later recanted. After it was recanted, the Engebretson parents believed he did not kidnap their son. Derrick's hatchet to cut down the tree was never recovered, and footprints that may have been his were wiped away during a snowstorm that night 20 years ago, followed by plows.

    Detectives received tips from as far away as San Francisco and as recently as last year.

    "This is probably the largest volume of information we've got on any cold case," Detective Nick Kennedy said.

    "I want to believe that he's still alive to this day, and until somebody shows me something different, I don't think I'm ever going to give up on him," Lori said.

    Lori believes her son was kidnapped after saying the family first found small footprints in the snow leading to the road. Kennedy says KCSO cannot share any theories the investigators have, but Derrick's family is sure he is not on the mountain where he went missing.


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