Will the results of a DNA test lead Chance Englebert’s family to answers they have been seeking for three years?
Chance Leslie Englebert was a 25-year-old husband and father who had recently taken a new job in Moorcroft, Wyoming, before he disappeared from a family gathering on July 6, 2019. A native of Edgemont, South Dakota, Chance competed in rodeo competitions in high school and attended Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he studied welding and diesel mechanics.
Chance’s mother, Dawn, describes him as “... a good kid, shy and hardworking … a smart kid …” She doesn’t believe he disappeared intentionally, saying, “I never felt that Chance would leave his family.” Chance’s wife, Baylee, agrees, describing Chance as “... such a good father …” who was excited to share his passion for Demolition Derby with his son.
The day Chance disappeared
On July 6, 2019, Chance and his wife, Baylee, were visiting her grandparents in Gering, Nebraska, and Chance went golfing with some of Baylee’s family members. He called her during the outing after he had an argument with his golf partners and asked her to pick him up so they could return to their home in Wyoming. She picked him up but drove back to her grandparents’ house instead. Chance became upset and decided to take a walk to cool off, which Baylee indicated Chance would do from time to time.
After Chance walked out of view, Baylee tried looking for him, but she didn’t find him. She spoke with Chance on the phone around 7:46 pm, when he told her he was walking south. Later reports from his friends indicated he had told them he was walking north toward Torrington, Wyoming. The last known person to speak with Chance was his friend Matt Miller around 8:46 pm. Chance’s aunt received a cryptic text message from him shortly after 9 pm, and his phone died or was turned off soon afterward.
A strong thunderstorm went through Gering around 9 pm that evening, so Chance’s family speculated he may have sought shelter inside a local business or nearby building. Baylee’s grandfather drove around town looking for Chance, but his search came up empty, and no one has heard from Chance since.
At the time of his disappearance, Chance was 25 years old, a white male of medium build standing about 5’9”, with brown hair and hazel eyes. He was last seen wearing a short-sleeved button-down Wrangler shirt, Wrangler blue jeans, Roper boots, and black-and-white trucker-style ball cap.
Still missing after nearly three years
When Chance didn’t return by the next morning, his family notified local law enforcement, who launched an investigation and wide-scale search. Efforts included at least 18 different agencies and hundreds of people doing ground and air searches. In addition, authorities enlisted help from K-9 teams and water search teams to look for Chance in nearby bodies of water, all to no avail.
The night he disappeared, Chance was last seen in surveillance video around 10 pm walking past local businesses near the intersection of Terry Boulevard and Stable Club Road in Terrytown, Nebraska. For months after Chance’s disappearance, there were reports of possible sightings of him in Wyoming and Nebraska, including a possible interaction with a woman at a Walmart in Casper, Wyoming. Police followed the lead and reviewed six hours of video footage from the Walmart store, but they were unable to confirm the sighting.
Where the case stands today
The lead investigator from the Gering Police Department, Brian Eads, stated that there are currently no person(s) of interest, but law enforcement continues to receive tips, and they are investigating all of them. He acknowledged that while authorities have no evidence to indicate foul play in this case, they also have no evidence to rule it out completely. One theory that his team has heard from multiple sources is that Chance’s disappearance could be the result of a robbery gone wrong. Law enforcement is looking into that possibility.
In October 2021, a human arm bone was discovered near the North Platte River in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, which authorities originally thought could belong to Chance Englebert. Initial DNA testing efforts were unsuccessful, but the specimen is now with another testing lab, and results are still pending. Because the bone was found with a piece of fabric that doesn’t match the description of Chance’s last-known clothing, it is unlikely the remains belong to him, but investigators aren’t ruling out a connection until they receive the final DNA testing results.
There’s a $17,000 reward being offered for information leading to the discovery of Chance or the identity of the person or persons responsible for his disappearance. Anyone with information can contact the Gering Police Department at 308-436-5088 or private investigator Amanda Waldron at 307-797-0363. Anonymous tips can be reported to the We Help the Missing tip line at 866-660-4025.