New Leads In The Disappearance Of Moorcroft, Wyoming, Man Missing Now For 5 Years

It’s been nearly five years since Chance Englebert vanished during a holiday visit to see his in-laws in Nebraska. As his family gets ready to mark the unhappy anniversary, new leads have emerged that may help shed light on the Moorcroft, Wyoming, man’s disappearance.

Jen Kocher

June 30, 20249 min read

Chance Englehart with his newborn child. There's still little information about what happened to the Moorcroft, Wyoming, man when he vanished July 6, 2019.
Chance Englehart with his newborn child. There's still little information about what happened to the Moorcroft, Wyoming, man when he vanished July 6, 2019. (Courtesy Photo)

It’s been nearly five years since Chance Englebert vanished during a holiday visit to see his in-laws in Nebraska.

As his family gets ready to mark the unhappy anniversary, new leads have emerged that may help shed light on the Moorcroft, Wyoming, man’s whereabouts that night.

Englebert, then 25, was last seen on surveillance video walking down a residential street in Gering, Nebraska, the evening of July 6, 2019. The new lead, however, places him at a convenience store in the neighboring city of Scottsbluff, about 2 miles from where he was last picked up on camera.

A second tip involving two young women in distress who were spotted running down a road near the new location Englebert is thought to be last seen may be one more clue in unraveling the mysteries of what happened that night.


Englebert, his wife, Baylee, and their infant son had driven to Gering from their Moorcroft home in the shadow of Devils Tower to visit her family for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Englebert had spent the day golfing with his father-in-law and other in-laws when he got angry over comments one of them had made about his new job. Englebert had just been laid off from his job at an area coal mine along with hundreds of others and was set to begin a new position at a propane company in Moorcroft the following Monday.

He called Baylee from the golf course and asked to be picked up. He told her he wanted to return to Wyoming, and as they drove to her grandparents’ house an argument ensued, according to Englebert’s mom, Dawn.

When they arrived, Englebert got out of the car and started walking away from the home.


As he walked through Gering, Englebert called family members and his best friend, Matt Miller, asking them to pick him up, but all were at least four or more hours away.

Englebert told them he wanted out of Gering and planned to walk the 35 miles to Torrington, Wyoming. He never made it.

He was last spotted on surveillance video walking alone in neighboring Terrytown, about 1.5 miles north of Gering and halfway between Gering and Scottsbluff.

In the video, he looks down at his phone before taking a 90-degree turn to the left, as if following a map.

His last communication was a text to a family member at 9:08 p.m., just as a torrential storm swept through the area. The jumble of emojis and letters made no sense to any of them. He never used emojis, Dawn said.

Then his phone died, and he’s not been seen or heard from again.

Despite a massive search involving 17 law enforcement 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 — Chance remains missing.

Englebert’s best friend Miller told Cowboy State Daily that he and other volunteers have conducted about 25 searches of the area, beginning at the golf course and along the North Platte River to Torrington, but found no trace of his friend.

Chance Englebert was last seen on video in the highlighted area five years ago.
Chance Englebert was last seen on video in the highlighted area five years ago. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

New Evidence

What happened to Englebert that night and whether a crime was committed remains the mystery that law enforcement and volunteer private investigators have been diligently trying to unravel for the past five years.

A new volunteer private investigator working with the Englebert family has recently generated new information that may help fill in some of the holes of Englebert’s last steps before his phone went dark.

The investigator, who asked to be identified by his company name RD Investigations, has spoken to a former clerk at a convenience store in Scottsbluff who claims to have seen Englebert in the store time between 8:30 and 9 p.m. before the brunt of the storm hit.

The store was about 2 miles from where Englebert was last seen on surveillance video in Terrytown.

The clerk said it had been raining lightly at that point and he distinctly remembered Englebert because the top of his shirt was wet with rain, according to the private investigator.

He further told the investigator that he thought he saw Englebert having a “tense conversation” with another man in the back of the store prior to Englebert buying tobacco and a Monster energy drink.

As he rang up Englebert’s purchases, the man he thought Englebert had been talking to in the back of the store was being helped at a second register by a co-worker, the investigator stated.

The clerk told him he distinctly remembered carding Englebert for the tobacco and the fact that he was from South Dakota. Chance grew up on his family’s ranch in Edgemont, South Dakota, and never switched his driver’s license.

The clerk told RD Investigations he recalled teasing Englebert about “crazy people from South Dakota” being out in a Nebraska storm.

The clerk told the investigator that Englebert said that he’d been in an argument with his wife and needed to take a walk, but had cooled off and was heading back now. The clerk praised him for his level-headedness in handling the situation, the private investigator said.

The clerk saw the other man hop into an unidentified vehicle but couldn’t provide details or what it looked like, or if Englebert got into the vehicle with him or took off on foot.

He was too preoccupied with the sudden storm rolling in — thunder booming, lightning flashing and heavy rain pouring down – to the point where it later caused a power outage in town.

Two Females Running

The second new lead RD Investigations uncovered was a sighting of two women in their mid-20s running alongside the road near Five Rocks and Stable Club roads around 9 p.m., within a mile vicinity of the store in which Englebert was allegedly last seen.

The two women were “frantically calling out for assistance,” according to the private investigator, who said witnesses described them as “so beautiful they looked like models.”

The witnesses told RD Investigations that they then saw the women get into a white, two-door pickup that was towing a small boat on a white trailer. They seemed to know the driver, he added.

Whether this had anything to do with Englebert or if they had witnessed a crime or other event is yet to be determined, according to the investigator, who is asking anyone with information to come forward.

All of this information has been shared with both Gering and Scottsbluff police, he said, noting that he’s now visited the area on multiple occasions and has spoken to dozens of witnesses and followed countless leads.

Brian Eads, lead investigator with the Gering Police Department, confirmed he received the tip but hasn’t determined whether it’s credible.

Chance Englebert Poster 6 29 24
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)


Eads has been tight-lipped about the open investigation. He told Cowboy State Daily that it is active and ongoing, but there are no updates to report.

“We continue to get tips and always would appreciate more,” he said.

Eads was much more forthcoming in a January 2022 interview with News Nation, where he told the outlet that one theory they are investigating is a potential robbery gone wrong. Eads was quoted as saying that the robbery has been reported to him in several variations with different people and circumstances.

Another theory that was floated on social media was that Englebert wandered or accidentally fell into the surging North Platte River as the storm passed through that night.

Both Miller and Dawn, however, don’t believe that given Englebert’s physicality as a former college rodeo star as well as his vast experience hunting and in the outdoors.

Others on social media sites have speculated that Baylee’s family was involved, but to date there’s been no proof of that, and Eads said that they have been cooperating fully with the investigation.

Baylee did not respond to an email request for comment but has told other news outlets in the past that she stopped doing interviews after receiving death threats.

The tragedy has also torn the two families apart, and the Engleberts have not seen their grandson since their son disappeared.

Bittersweet Day

For the Englebert family, July 6 marks a bittersweet occasion. Despite their grief, Dawn said that she’s continually humbled and touched by the outpouring of support from her friends and community.

She’d like to ask that people honor her son by flooding social media with his flyer to show their support and to hopefully generate more tips and information. She’s touched by the number of people who have shared his poster and others in her community who hang them in their storefronts or put out signs in their front yards.

“It’s so humbling to see how many still support Chance and our family,” she said. “It’s still a living nightmare every day, and we will always need that extra support, love and prayers.”

Though the new information seems promising, Dawn said she wakes up in the morning with a knot in her stomach wondering if this is the day she’ll finally learn what happened to her son.

“Those thoughts never leave us. Some days it makes us physically ill still,” she said. “I know many use the word closure, but I don’t think we will ever have that.”

Even if they find him or what happened to him, there will always be questions of why, she said.

“All we can ask is please keep sharing him and his beautiful smile, his name and story,” she said.

Anyone with information is asked to call RD Investigations at 605-389-3196 or the Gering Police Department at 308-436-5088.

Jen Kocher can be reached at

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Jen Kocher

Features, Investigative Reporter