Authorities report that the investigation of a Wyoming man reported missing in July remains open, but to date, there has been no resolution to the case.
Chance Englebert, 25, of Moorcroft, Wyoming, had been reported missing by his wife, Baylee. The woman reported that her husband had left the home of one of her relatives and she had last seen him walking in the 700 block of O Street. Gering Police Capt. Jason Rogers confirms that as part of the investigation, Englebert had been captured on video, walking past two businesses in Gering and an apartment in Terrytown. The last video of the man shows him walking in the area of the intersection of Terry Boulevard and Stable Club Road in Terrytown.
In updated information on Wednesday, Rogers clarified information involving cell phone data recovered as part of the investigation. Rogers said that Englebert’s cell phone last communicated with a tower near Riverview Golf Course, just west of Scottsbluff. The last time Engelbert’s phone was used had been shortly after 9 p.m.
“Because of cell phone technology, the information did not greatly narrow down the area Chance may have last used his cell phone,” Rogers said, saying the phone had been used in an area two to three miles south to southeast of the tower near Riverview Golf Course.
In the days after Englebert’s disappearance, officers and volunteers from 18 agencies were involved in ground searches, combing 2,400 acres and Air Link and the Nebraska State Patrol covered 380 miles by air. Sonar and a K9 were used to search 10 lakes and ponds, in addition to the river, riverfront property and irrigation ditches and canals. Those efforts also involved draining the Central Gering Canal to a very low flow rate so it could be searched.
Since then, Rogers said, the Gering Police Department has used organizations from Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico with search and rescue dogs and cadaver dogs to continue searches. While initial searches centered around the area of southwest Scottsbluff, Rogers said, a greater area has been searched using drones, along with volunteers on the ground.
“To date, no evidence or traces of Chance Englebert have been discovered,” he said.
Private individuals have also been conducting searches for the man, including family and friends of Englebert.
Numerous interviews have been conducted in connection with this investigation, including the man’s family and friends. With assistance from the Scottsbluff Police Department, Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s Office and Nebraska State Patrol, he said, investigators have been able to follow up on dozens of tips and information that have come in. Those three agencies continue to be involved with assisting in the investigation.
To date, he said, there has not been any evidence to suggest that Englebert’s disappearance is the result of foul play.
“One of the most common questions that has been asked of our investigators is why has this investigation not been deemed to be a homicide. ... What we know at this point is that Chance was walking in Gering and Terrytown on his own free will. Because there is no evidence of a crime being committed the investigation remains in its original classification as a missing person.
“There has been a lot of misinformation and opinions passed around on different social media platforms with respect to the investigation. While we recognize that people are afforded the freedom of speech by the U.S. Constitution, we ask that people consider the consequences of the comments and thoughts they express on those most effected by Chance’s disappearance: his family and close friends,” Rogers said.
Investigators have also followed up on dozens of potential sightings of Chance in numerous states, including Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Texas and Missouri. The law enforcement agencies in the jurisdictions where the potential sightings were reported have assisted in looking at video and other requests made of them. Reported sightings have not resulted in any useful information, Rogers said.
In posts on social media, numerous persons have indicated that they have reached out to the FBI to urge them to join the investigation. Rogers addressed that in his release Wednesday: “At this time, the information in the Chance Englebert investigation does not contain the federal elements necessary for the FBI to open an investigation. FBI personnel have said that if information is developed that changes the circumstances being investigated, they will review that information with local investigators to determine if they can open a federal investigation based on information that suggests a federal violation has occurred. The FBI has offered and continues to offer any assistance that local authorities deem necessary.”
Rogers said the department continues to encourage anyone with information about the case to contact authorities. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Gering Police Department by calling the Scotts Bluff County Communications Center at 308-436-6666.
“Although this remains an open Missing Person investigation, we welcome the sharing of information,” Rogers said. “Please keep in mind that not all information we have can be shared but we welcome an open dialogue. The most beneficial way to help is to say a prayer for Chance, his family and the law enforcement personnel looking for answers.”