- Associated Press - Friday, July 15, 2016

EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) - The adoptive father of a southeast Kansas boy whose disappearance went unreported for nearly a decade has died.

Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet said Doug Herrman, who was 61 and lived near Grove, Oklahoma, died Wednesday night after an illness, The Wichita Eagle (https://bit.ly/29D6huS ) reported. Herrman’s adopted son, Adam Herrman, was 11 in 1999 when he disappeared from his Towanda home, but authorities in Kansas didn’t learn about it until late 2008.

Herzet, the lead investigator in Adam’s disappearance, said of Doug Herrman on Thursday: “I was always hoping he would do the right thing and tell us where Adam’s remains were.”

Doug Herrman and the boy’s adoptive mother weren’t charged in Adam’s disappearance, but they were convicted in 2011 of continuing to receive state adoption subsidies after he went missing. The Herrmans had said that the boy ran away and that they didn’t report it out of fear that their other children would be taken from them.

At the couple’s sentencing, Butler County District Judge David Ricke said the case against the couple was more than a theft case. If the Herrmans had told authorities that their son was missing, Ricke said, a missing-child alert could have been issued. There could have been search parties.

“His face should have been on milk cartons,” the judge said.

On Thursday, Herzet noted that the disappearance remains an open case, with a $100,000 reward available from an anonymous donor for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Adam’s disappearance.

Someone has information that could help solve the case, he said. “I guarantee you.”


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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