What I hadn’t known before I spoke to this reporter is that his disappearance may very well be a simple drowning accident or suicide. The Chicago Tribune piece I’d read about his disappearance, written two years after he vanished, said nothing about it, and even the NCMEC didn’t know. But they found Dermot’s shoes and jacket on the banks of a semi-frozen river, a set of bare footprints leading across the ice, and no returning set. And they found a rifle, probably his, under the ice. (If he did die there, I’d be inclined towards accident; if he wanted to kill himself why not use the rifle?)
However, it would be highly unusual for this body to NEVER be found, and Dermot’s parents later decided he’d staged his disappearance or something and ran away. He was declared legally dead in 1992, but in his mom’s obit last year he was listed as having survived her.
I doubt we will ever know what really happened here.