$50,000 reward yields no clues in missing boy case
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Although the recent offer of a $50,000 reward has yielded no new information about a southeast Kansas boy who has been missing since 1999, a county sheriff said he will keep investigating until he finds out what happened.
An anonymous donor put up the reward in late December to help solve the disappearance of 11-year-old Adam Herrman, who was last seen at his family's home in Towanda. As of Monday, the reward brought in only about a half-dozen calls and none of them provided new clues, Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet said.
Adam's parents said he ran away from home after being disciplined, but his disappearance was not reported until 2008, when Adam's sister contacted law enforcement. The parents claimed they didn't report him missing because they were afraid their other children would be taken away.
"I was hoping the $50,000 would maybe make somebody come forward and talk a little bit, you know," Herzet said. "I feel there's people out there that know, and I just don't know why they're not talking."
Adam's adoptive mother, Valerie Herrman, told The Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/1ei2eQy ) that the reward was "wonderful news."
"I am so thankful for the person that did this. ... If I knew the person, I'd given them the biggest hug I could," Valerie Herrman said.
The parents have been suspects in the case but have not been charged. Herrman said she understands why they are suspects. They now live in Grove, Okla.
"The reasoning we didn't call police, that makes us look really suspicious. I understand that," Valerie Herrman said. "I mean I would suspect anybody like that. And then, we were the last ones to see him."
In 2011, the Herrmans pleaded guilty to felony theft for continuing to accept a $700 per month state adoption subsidy until Adam's 18th birthday in 2005. A Butler County judge ordered the couple to pay $15,488 in restitution and both were sentenced to prison for less than a year.
Herzet said extensive searches of the trailer park where Adam lived, along the Whitewater River and in nearby wooded areas yielded no human remains, but investigators have no evidence Adam is still alive.
"He's not come forward to say, 'Hey. I'm Adam Herrman.' We've exhausted all of our leads as far as ... locating someone through Social Security and social media" and other avenues, Herzet said.
Herzet said the Herrmans never call for case updates.
Valerie Herrman said lawyers advised her not to call the sheriff's office because she and her husband are suspects.
"I've never given up hope that they would find him (Adam). I just know he's out there somewhere."
Herzet vowed to keep looking for Adam.
"My detectives are vested in this case until the end or until they retire," he said.
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com