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Year after Idaho Toddler Deorr Kunz Jr. Vanishes, Speculation and Questions Still Swirl

Deorr Kunz Jr. Lemhi County Sheriff's Office

Last weekend marked one year since an Idaho toddler seemingly vanished from an Idaho campsite, and answers continue to evade officials.

Deorr Kunz Jr., 2 years old at the time, was reported missing by his parents on July 10, 2015.

The toddler’s parents, Jessica Mitchell and DeOrr Kunz, Sr., told authorities they believed DeOrr's great-grandfather was watching him at the Timber Creek Campgrounds outside remote Leadore, Idaho, while his great-grandfather believed the boy was down by the creek with his parents and the fourth adult on the trip, a friend of the great-grandfather.

The parents' separate 911 calls triggered an investigation that’s left more questions than answers.

Discrepancies quickly emerged in the accounts of the circumstances under which Deorr vanished. Inconsistencies in statements from the tot’s parents became public; officials say both have failed multiple polygraph tests.

Both Mitchell and Deorr Sr. were named suspects in the case in January.

“I believe his parents are hiding something. There is no doubt in my mind,” Lemhi County Sheriff Lynn Bowerman told Dateline. “We gave them every opportunity to explain if it was an accident of some kind, and they haven’t.”

The sheriff added he believes the case “has to be a homicide,” and does not believe Deorr is anywhere on the mountain. Multiple massive searches have been conducted through the mountain meadows, dense pine forests and waterways in the weeks and months since.

Then there are the cowboy boots the tot was said to be wearing -- a size too big for his tiny feet -- which allegedly kept slipping off, family members say. Many speculate that if Deorr met with some type of wild animal, like a mountain lion or a wolf, or was hurriedly snatched by another person, the boots would have fallen off. Experts have found no trace of them.

Mitchell and Deorr Sr. maintain their innocence, although they have mostly remained silent in the months since being named official suspects. Neither has been charged in connection with the case.

“Jessica does not know what happened to her son,” their attorney Allen Browning told Dateline. “Sometimes she thinks he may be alive, sometimes she gives up hope. [Deorr Sr.] believes he was kidnapped.”

Related: Parents of Missing Idaho Toddler Named Suspects in Summer 2015 Disappearance

Browning also slammed the statements made by the private investigation firm Klein Investigations and Consulting, first hired then later fired by the family, calling the firm’s comments about the case and statements that Mitchell and Deorr Sr. were involved with their son’s disappearance “outrageous.”

The head of the firm, Philip Klein, reports his investigators unearthed evidence to rule out an animal attack or kidnapping scenario. “We have said one thing all along in this case - the evidence will lead us to the truth. And we want to assure you, the public, that we are getting there," Klein said in a news release last week.

Klein says a member of Deorr’s extended family rehired him to investigate the case, something the attorney for Mitchell and Deorr Sr. denies.

As for the official investigation, Lemhi County investigators are not sure if any more searches will be conducted around the campground. With the case under a national spotlight, especially in the weeks leading to the one year anniversary, less than useful tips have begun pouring in.

“I’m just surprised so many people are offering such bizarre possibilities; aliens and supernatural stuff,” said Sheriff Bowerman. “Bigfoot has come up. It’s, like, you’ve got to be kidding me.”

If you have any information regarding the case, you're asked to call the Lemhi County Sheriff's Office at (208) 756-8980.