Butler County Sheriff Craig Murphy said Thursday his office has received numerous tips in the search for Adam Herrman, some coming from across the country.
"I've received emails from North Carolina... and the New York area," Murphy said.
Some of those tips are potential sightings of Herrman, who would now be 21 years old. One such sighting was reported in Indiana, the state where Herrman's biological father lives.
Irvin Groeninger II says the sighting gives him hope.
"I'm hoping there are people out there who have spotted him," Groeninger said. "Point him in the right direction or point us in the right direction and help us bring him home."
Authorities say the are tracking every lead, though they have not been able to confirm any of the potential sightings. Murphy says in many cases, it's a simple case of mistaken identity.
"We've had people come forward and say this looks a lot like him," Murphy said. "But nobody has come forward and said I passed him walking down the street."
Although Murphy says there is no evidence of Adam's existence after 1999, investigators are not giving up hope he may still be found alive.
"If this boy believed he had reason to run," Murphy said, "you gotta ask yourself, 'what's his mental state?' Is he revengeful? Or is he going... to pick up the telephone and call us?"
Thursday, a relative of the Herrmans living in Haysville told KAKE News she did not believe recent media reports of abuse in Adam's adopted home. The woman, a sister-in-law, said she remembered Adam as a happy young boy, not living in fear of his adopted parents. She described Doug and Valerie Herrman as loving parents.
KAKE News first reported Wednesday night that SRS and Derby Police cleared the Herrmans of two cases of suspected abuse in 1996 and 1997.
Murphy declined to comment on speculation of abuse in the Herrman home during Adam's time there, but said all reports and tips are being used to determine what happened to the little boy.
On Saturday, investigators will search the area of a river running through Towanda, where Adam lived with the Herrmans before disappearing in 1999.
"We're not going to scale back," Murphy said.
Several months after Adam vanished, the Herrman's moved their mobile home to a lot in rural Sedgwick County. Authorities say a search of the home on Wednesday turned up no evidence in the boy's whereabouts.
Anybody who may have information in what might have happened to Adam to give detectives a call at (316) 322-4254 or (316) 322-4398, ext. 8.
On 01/07/09 Butler County Sheriff Investigators along Wichita PD Crime Lab served a Search Warrant on a Sedgwick County residence in the 10300 blk of N 109th West, Sedgwick County Kansas. This is the former mobile home of Doug and Valerie Herrman when they lived in Towanda Kansas in 1999. It is the last residence that relatives of Adam Herrman say they saw him.
Sheriff Craig Murphy states that since investigators had never seen the inside of the residence, they could not talk intelligently about the residence in working the case. The search consisted of documentation (diagrams), photo's, and verification of verbal information they had of the home. Sheriff Murphy states that these items are evidence in the case as well as assisting investigators understanding information that they are given and have already been given. Without this information investigators could only try to rely on their own mental musings about the home to which those musings would not be accurate.
Investigators will spend today going over their findings of yesterday, as well as following up on more leads produced by phone calls and e-mails which continue to come in. The Sheriff also stated that some of the investigators have court appearances on other cases, as well as prioritizing cases that continue to come to them on a daily basis.
Sheriff Murphy says the next major activity for this case will be on Saturday when they plan to search along the banks of the Whitewater river west of the town of Towanda. That search will include use of dogs and the focus will be for any evidence that could be a part of this case. The Sheriff says since this area is known for fisherman, and kids curiosity we feel we have to take a look at it. It is another "think of everywhere we can" where Adam might have gone if he did runaway.
Sheriff Craig Murphy