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Search for missing Wyoming man still active

Holly Jessen
for The Fence Post
Chance Englebert has been missing since July 6, 2019. He grew up on a ranch in South Dakota and was a rodeo bareback rider.
Photo courtesy Dawn Englebert

It’s been more than a year since Chance Englebert disappeared after leaving a home in Gering, Neb., and his family and friends are still working hard to keep the search going.

“Please keep praying, keep saying his name,” said Dawn Englebert, Chance’s mother. “We’ve got to keep the story alive until somebody talks. Somebody had to have heard something or seen something.”

Chance, 25 at the time of his disappearance on July 6, 2019, was visiting his in-laws in Gering, Neb., with his wife Baylee and then-infant son Banks, Dawn said. There was some type of misunderstanding or fight with his in-laws and Chance walked away, saying he wanted to go home, Dawn said. He called a friend for a ride and the friend called them. But although multiple family members called and texted him many times, he never responded.

The family went to Gering to help with the search, which involved 17 agencies and hundreds of people. “It just hadn’t really clicked, this is real,” she said. “I kept thinking he was going to come home.”

On July 11, almost a week after his disappearance, the missing persons case turned into an investigation. He was last seen on video surveillance footage in the Gering, Scottsbluff area, two cities located across the North Platte River from each other. “You think it would get easier, but it doesn’t,” she said.

Investigator Brian Eads of the Gering Police Department said at the time Chance disappeared he was with the Nebraska State Patrol, one of the many agencies that assisted with the search. Now he’s one of the main investigators on the case through his current job at the police department.

“We welcome any and all informational tips that the general public might have,” he said. To pass on any information about the case call the Gering Police Department at at (308) 436-5089.

According to a statement posted online from George Holthus, chief of police in Gering, the case remains an open missing persons investigation, and any information received by the department is followed up on. “Investigators have received and followed up on numerous possible sightings of Chance in several states, from Oregon to Texas and many others, but none of the information has led to Chance being found,” he said.

MORE ABOUT CHANCE

Chance grew up on the family ranch in Burdock, S.D., in the southwestern part of the state, near Edgemont, S.D. He was a bareback rider since eighth grade and went to college at Laramie County Community College located in Cheyenne, Wyo., on a scholarship for bareback riding, Dawn said. He earned a degree in diesel mechanics and welding.

It was always his dream to come back to work on the ranch, she said. Since that wasn’t immediately possible he was living in Moorcroft, Wyo., and working as a welder at a mine. Right before he disappeared, Chance, along with 600 other employees, lost their jobs when the company went bankrupt.

Chance, a hard worker who never missed work, stopped by a propane company in Moorcroft and got a new job, Dawn said. He was set to start working there the Monday after the Forth of July holiday when he disappeared.

“Everybody loved Chance,” she said, adding that he was an amazing big brother to his two younger brothers, Miles and Clay, and he’s missed very much.

Katie Ross, who met Chance at the community college where they were both part of the rodeo team, said he was a friendly, kind and happy person. She reached out to The Fence Post because she doesn’t want him to be forgotten.

In February Ross and her mom drove to Gering to help with another search because they felt they had to do something to help. It was inspiring to see so many people searching for days, some of whom never even knew Chance and others family and friends. “You hope you have friends that good,” she said.

Chance’s mom doesn’t understand how her son could have vanished in broad daylight, she said. So many things have been done to try to find him, including search and rescue dogs, cadaver dogs, drones, draining the canals and more. “Nothing ever pans out,” she said.

In October, the family hired a private investigator. There’s a billboard up in Gering, with a photo of Chance, asking people to call an anonymous tip line, (724) 466-4673. There’s also a Facebook page called Help Find Chance Englebert, where they share information as well as selling hats and other products, to help with the costs of the private investigator.

Chance is 5 feet, 10 inches tall, 195 pounds with light brown hair and hazel eyes. He has a scar on his hip. On the day he disappeared, he was wearing a short sleeved wrangler shirt, wrangler jeans, roper boots and a black and white trucker cap.

On July 6, one year since Chance went missing, there were two prayer vigils held. One in Edgemont, near where Chance grew up, and one in Gering, where he went missing. ❖

— Jessen is a freelance writer living in Minnesota with her nurse husband and daughter. They recently settled down after more than three years living a travel lifestyle, thanks to her husband’s travel nurse job. She can be reached at hollyjessenmedia@gmail.com.


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