Butler County sheriff to search river area, a home in boy's disappearance

Date: 2009-01-07

BY STAN FINGER AND LORI O'TOOLE BUSELT
The Wichita Eagle

Butler County sheriff's officers plan to serve a search warrant today at an undisclosed residence outside Butler County in the disappearance of Adam Herrman, Sheriff Craig Murphy said.

Also, beginning Saturday morning, investigators plan to search the Whitewater River area south of K-254 looking for clues in the case of the Butler County boy who was last seen in 1999, he said.

A computer-enhanced photo showing what Adam might look like if he were still alive became available late Tuesday. He would now be 21.

The Alexandria, Va.-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children age-progressed a childhood photo of Adam to a composite drawing of a 21-year-old man.

Murphy said that he hopes someone somewhere will recognize the photo as someone they know.

Murphy also said that he expects another flood of calls from people throughout Kansas and surrounding states who think they recognize an adult who might be Adam.

Tips about Adam flooded in by phone and e-mail following a news conference Monday morning, Murphy said.

"There's some information" that may prove valuable, Murphy said without going into specifics. "We'll have to take a look at the validity of it."

Murphy said he personally received about 20 tips by e-mail Tuesday and that tips have been coming from surrounding states and others, including Indiana.

The Wichita-Sedgwick County Exploited and Missing Child Unit received a tip about a month ago that Adam had not been seen for nine years. Relatives said they were told by his adoptive parents that he had been returned to the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

Authorities believe Adam disappeared in the summer of 1999, when he was 11 or 12. A lawyer for the boy's adoptive parents said he ran away and that the adoptive parents did not report him as missing.

Investigators also hope to use ground-penetrating radar to search for human remains. Murphy said that search may have to wait a few months for warmer weather.

Murphy held a news conference in El Dorado on Monday morning and talked to CNN on Monday night, hoping to draw national attention to the case.

One tipster claimed to have seen someone on a Web site who looked like what they believed Adam would look like today. Investigators went to that site, Murphy said, but came away convinced it's not him.

Murphy said other tips have come from people who think they may have seen Adam in photos on MySpace, Facebook or other Web sites.

"We're just hoping for anything here," Murphy said. "I just hope the kid shows up somewhere" alive.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com.

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