GERING, Neb. (NewsNation Now) — The lead investigator working to track down Chance Englebert is looking at a number of possible theories that could have led to the 25-year-old’s disappearance and says foul play can’t be ruled out.
“At this point, there’s no evidence to suggest it did happen,” Brian Eads with Gering police, a guest on “NewsNation Prime,” said Thursday. “But there’s also no evidence to suggest it didn’t.”
NewsNation first reported Wednesday about Englebert vanishing while visiting his in-laws in the tiny Nebraska town in 2019.
“We continue to get a lot of tips on the case,” Eads said, adding that there is currently no person of interest. “And some of them are very similar. But they’ll have little pieces that are different.”
According to Gering police, Englebert was golfing with his wife Baylee’s family July 6 and got upset over comments made about how he’d be making less money at his new job.
According to Baylee, Englebert called her on the phone, saying he wanted to leave Gering — and wanted to go back home to Wyoming. She picked him up and drove them to her grandparents’ house in Gering. And that, she said, made Englebert more upset. He got out of the car and started walking away.
Englebert then called his friend and best man, Matt Miller, who turned out to be the last person Englebert is known to have spoken with. Miller told NewsNation’s Rich McHugh that Englebert wanted a ride, but he wasn’t able to go get him.
There are two main pieces of evidence in the case: surveillance video that shows him walking down a street and strange text messages sent to his aunt.
One theory investigators are looking at is the possibility Englebert could have wandered into or fell in a nearby river during a powerful story.
Miller and Englebert’s mom don’t think that could have happened.
“I’d say Chance was born and raised for that kind of weather,” Miller said.
The second theory is that something bad happened to him, something criminal, perhaps. Many people have focused on the argument that he had with his in-laws before he disappeared.
It was reported that Baylee asked for a death certificate early on in the investigation.
Eads said it was a “red flag,” but said she explained her reasoning to him.
“She had a son to provide for,” Eads said. “She was not working at the time, Chance was the sole breadwinner for the house. And in discussing it with Chance’s mom, they discussed that if he was to get on Chance’s Social Security, they would have to have a death certificate in order to show that.”
No death certificate was given, but Eads believes it is possible to get one for a missing person after 7 years in Nebraska.
“She’s (Baylee’s) always been very cooperative with me, very cordial,” Eads said. “Interviewed her at length. My first interview with her was probably a couple hours long. So she’s always been very cooperative.”
Baylee and her family did not want to be interviewed on camera because they say they have received threats. Talking to NewsNation, Baylee called Englebert’s disappearance and the mystery around it “absolutely devastating,” and says she continues to work with the police.
The disappearance has divided Englebert’s and Baylee’s family and friends.
“I’m not pointing fingers,” said Englebert’s mother, Dawn. “I don’t know if it was family or a robbery gone bad,” but said that “is what I’ve been told.”
Eads says they are looking into the robbery theory.
“There’s been a few different variations of that story that have been reported as far as different people involved, different circumstances, all of which we look into and some continue to look into.” Eads said.
Eads said authorities have enlisted outside investigators and K-9 teams to help with the search. He said they have conducted search warrants and polygraph tests as they chased down leads. He also says the FBI has assisted with portions of the investigation.