Oregon's 41 missing children cases steeped in mystery

Oregon's 41 missing children cases steeped in mystery

PORTLAND, Ore. – There are 41 missing children in Oregon, according to state police.

Well known, of course, is Kyron Horman, the Portland boy who has been missing nearly three years.

But there is also Samuel Boehlke. He was 8 years old when he vanished six and a half years ago.

When Boehlke vanished, his disappearance got a lot of attention. According to the Oregon State Police website for Samuel Boehlke at the Missing Children’s Clearinghouse, he vanished in October 2006.

He's listed as 4 feet 8 inches tall and weighed 85 pounds. He's also listed as endangered and missing.

The search for Boehlke focused on the Crater Lake area not far from Klamath Falls.

The boy was out hiking with his father while they were camping at Crater Lake.

His family continued looking for him even after authorities called off the official search. His family eventually held a memorial.

"I think the life lessons that Sam taught me were receiving patience and glee," his mother, Kirsten, said at the time.

The search for Samuel Boehlke never did turn up any trace of him, which is why he's still listed on the Oregon State Police Missing Children's Clearinghouse website.

Another boy, Derrick Engebretson was just 8 years old when he vanished.

He too is still listed on the OSP website. He vanished in 1998. He'd be 22 years old today.

The search for Engebretson at the time focused on the area where he was last seen – on the western edge of Klamath Lake in the Winema National Forest.

He had been out searching for Christmas trees with his father and grandfather that December when he disappeared.

One of the few clues in his disappearance came in a message scrawled on a wall at a rest stop near Bend, eight months after Engebretson vanished, suggesting the boy might have been abducted.

"In a way, it gave me hope thinking, 'OK, maybe somebody's got him and he's alive," said his mother, Lori, in 1999. "And in a way, it gave me the worst feeling I think I've ever had in my life – somebody having my son and what they've done. I don't know."

An FBI profiler decided the message was a hoax. The official search for Engebretson ended after eight days. One hundred volunteers kept searching for days after that but still found no trace of what happened to the boy.

No one ever found the hatchet that the boy was supposedly carrying with him during that search for Christmas trees. 

There are many cases of missing children still open in Oregon.

Yulianna Escudero disappeared from Salem 11 years ago. She was 14 at the time. When someone last saw her, she was with an older man.

Joan Hall disappeared many years ago. The case is from 1983 out of Warrenton. She was seen leaving a store, walking to Warrenton Elementary School in the afternoon. She was never seen again.

There is also Heather Mehlhoff.

Her mother was the last one to see her in Salem back in 1993. She says her daughter got into a small, gray pickup truck with a red faded door on one side. She never came home again.

If you know anything about these cases or others, call detectives at 1-800-282-7155, the Missing Children Hotline.