By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily
New leads and information about what happened the night a Moorcroft man went missing more than two years ago have been coming in, according to a private investigator who recently picked up the case, as the reward money increases to $14,750 following a fundraiser for the family.
Though she couldn’t divulge any of those leads or information at this time, Amanda Waldron, private investigator with the national non-profit We Help the Missing (WHTM), said that new witnesses have contacted her with information about the night of Englebert’s disappearance.
“Multiple people have come forward,” she said. “Typically, most cases are 5,000 piece puzzles but this one is more like a 10,000-piece.”
Chance Englebert, then 25, disappeared July 6, 2019, during a weekend trip with his wife and young son to visit her family in Gering, Nebraska.
It’s unclear what transpired that day, but Englebert had been golfing with his father-in-law and other members of his wife’s family and reportedly got into an argument over the new job that he’d recently accepted after being laid off from a coal mine.
Englebert called his wife to come get him and told her he wanted to return home to Wyoming. When his wife refused to leave, he called a friend to come get him, but the friend was not able to make the drive, so Englebert allegedly started walking toward Torrington.
He was last spotted on surveillance footage walking in downtown Gering on the 700 block of O Street, wearing Wrangler jeans, plaid shirt and a trucker’s cap.
The last text message from his phone was sent just after 9 p.m. that day and contained an incomprehensible jumble of numbers and emojis, according to his mom Dawn, who questions whether someone else had his phone as he never used the symbols in his messages.
Despite a massive search involving 17 agencies, drones, divers, cadaver dogs and hundreds of volunteers on foot, horseback and ATVs – as well as several searches led by friends over the past two years between Gering and Torrington – Englebert remains missing.
His case has been the subject of dozens of missing person and true crime podcasts, most recently on InHuman: A True Crime Podcast.
Waldron is in the process of tracking these new leads down and encourages anyone with information to come forward.
“I’d suggest people need to get ahead of this before criminal charges start happening as we get closer to getting answers,” she said Monday. “Someone innocent is protecting someone guilty, and it would be in their best interest to come forward.”
Gering Police continue to receive tips and conduct interviews, Brian Eads, lead investigator on the case, said, though they haven’t seen a boost in new people coming forward after the reward money was recently increased $2,700 to $14,750 for any information leading to solving the case.
The new funds are the result of a fundraiser by business owner and neighbor, who lives near the Englebert’s ranch outside Edgemont, South Dakota, and who also lost a son in an ATV accident.
Ironically, Englebert had taken the young boy’s loss hard, asking his mother how a parent goes on after losing a child. He didn’t think he could take the pain, he told his mom.
“I told him it’s the best and hardest job you’ll ever had,” Dawn said, thanking her community and all the people who are helping to help bring Chance home.
“His family and community need him home,” she said. “We will complete the puzzle yet, and Chance will be where he belongs.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Gering Police Department at (308) 436-5088 or private investigator Amanda Waldron at (307) 797-0363 or the We Help the Missing tip line at (866) 660-4025. Tips can remain anonymous.