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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    Derrick James Engebretson (8) - Bonanza OR, 1998

    DOB: Jul 5, 1990
    Missing: Dec 5, 1998
    Age Now: 14
    Sex: Male
    Race: White
    Hair: Brown
    Eyes: Hazel
    Height: 4'6" (137 cm)
    Weight: 85 lbs (39 kg)
    Missing From: BONANZA, OR
    United States

    Derrick's photo is shown age-progressed to 13 years. He 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. He has a scar from a dog bite on his chin, between the nostrils and under the nose.

    Klamath County authorities Saturday confirmed a report that a man serving a prison sentence for attempted murder is a suspect in the disappearance of a young Bonanza boy nearly six years ago during a family Christmas tree hunt near Rocky Point.

    The Oregonian reported Saturday that Frank J. Milligan, convicted of raping a 10-year-old boy then slashing the boy's throat and leaving him for dead, may have been in-volved in the disappearance of 8-year-old Derrick Engebretson on Dec. 5, 1998.

    The possible link between Milligan and Derrick was made two years ago said Ed Caleb, Klamath County District Attorney. It was made public only this weekend after it was uncovered by an Oregonian reporter working on a story about sex abuse.

    In 2002, Milligan confessed to killing Derrick, only to later retract his confession.

    "Now the question is whether he is telling the truth or not telling the truth," Caleb said.

    A confession is not enough to convict a suspect, Caleb said. It is not even enough for the filing of charges. Evidence that backs up someone's confession is needed, he said.

    After the confession State Police investigators tried to find evidence that Milligan had come in contact with Derrick or had been near Klamath Falls at the time of the boy's disappearance.

    "No one at this point has been able to do that," Caleb said.

    Without the evidence there is no grounds to charge Milligan with a crime, he said.

    Derrick, who was a third-grader and known to family as "Bear Boy," was searching for a Christmas tree with his father, Robert, and grandfather Bob Engebretson when he wandered away in a snow storm near Pelican Butte. His disappearance led to a massive search with dogs, snowmobiles and hundreds of volunteers that lasted for weeks.

    "For 18 days and 18 nights we never quit," said Ben Davis, Derrick's other grandfather.

    Eventually the Air National Guard and the U.S. Forest Service were brought in to aid in the search, but the boy wasn't found.

    Over the years authorities have looked into multiple leads and have had other suspects and people of interest, but none of the leads have panned out, said Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger, who inherited the case from former sheriff Carl Burkhart. The case is still classified as a missing person.

    "There has been no new information for investigators recently," Evinger said. He said they are still trying to put enough of the pieces of the puzzle together.

    Davis said the investigators told Derrick's family about Milligan's confession about two years ago. The family was kept abreast of the developments in the case and brought up to the Willamette Valley when Milligan told authorities he killed the boy and he would show them where he buried Derrick's body.


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