Why so long?

Tuesday, January 8, 2002

How could a nine-year-old boy be missing for nearly a year-and-a-half, without anyone noticing?

It is a question that has even plagued Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo, who said at a news conference Saturday about the investigation into the death of Timothy Boss of Remsen, "It hurts to know the death occurred and we are not able to locate the body".

Asked again Monday about how sure his department was that the boy was dead, Van Otterloo said, "The county attorney has filed a first degree murder charge in the death of Timothy Boss."

He also said there were no new developments as to the location of the body.

Even though no body has been found for the boy, last seen nearly a year-and-a-half ago in June or July 2000, authorities believe he has been murdered, due to statements -- not a confession -- made by the father during interviews and interrogation, along with statements by friends and witnesses.

The sheriff answered no comment to questions about the possibility of searching in Michigan, to the possibility that the body was still in the house or yard, and to questions about how authorities believe the death to have occurred.

That the boy was missing at all, also seemed to elude even family members.

The investigation did not begin until January 2002, last week when an as-yet unidentified Boss family member in Michigan made inquiries to the Michigan State Police, who contacted the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office for what law enforcement deem a "welfare check."

Van Otterloo believes the family's moving back and forth from Iowa to Michigan, combined with home schooling some of the children, made masking Timothy's absence possible.

Speculating Friday, Van Otterloo said, "It was not uncommon for them to let the school know the children wouldn't be there. If Lisa came in and said 'We're going to Michigan this week and the kids won't be in school,' or 'We're going to start homeschooling this week, the kids won't be in school,' it wouldn't be unusual."

The sheriff asks that anyone who heard from the Boss family adults about Timothy's whereabouts, contact law enforcement authorities or Crime Stoppers at (712)548-4968.

"Anything said concerning Timothy, we need to know about that," said Van Otterloo.

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