The family of a now 93-year-old Boise man who went missing last year is offering a $10,000 reward for specific information that leads to his location and recovery.
Darwyn Hope and his car — a silver 2003 Pontiac Bonneville with Idaho license plate 1A7478F — have been missing since July last year.
Hope is 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, has blue eyes and gray hair. He was last seen at his home in northwest Boise. Detective Monte Iverson is the lead detective on the case.
Anyone with information should contact: Crime Stoppers of Southwest Idaho, 208-343-2677 (COPS) or the Leroy Law Office in Boise, 208-342-0000. Those who would prefer to speak to a reporter can contact Katy Moeller, 208-377-6413.
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Here’s the story about Hope’s disappearance published on Oct. 6:
Darwyn Hope vanished without a trace from his home in northwest Boise more than a year ago.
That’s one of the reasons that police find the 92-year-old’s disappearance suspicious.
“One would expect a 90-plus-year-old man to show up somewhere,” a Boise police detective said through a department spokeswoman. “If he harmed [him]self, you would expect a citizen would have located his car, etc. This makes us very suspicious that there is foul play involved.”
His silver 2003 Pontiac Bonneville disappeared with him. But his cane and hearing aids — which he needed to communicate with others — were found in his house.
Hope’s family told police they last saw him at his house July 11, 2016, and reported him missing July 12. They said he was in physical pain and suicidal, in part because of a delay in a surgery needed to alleviate his pain.
Investigators continued to work it. Some of Hope’s family members — specifically three of his four adult sons — were surprised to find themselves under police scrutiny, two of them said in interviews with the missing persons-focused Thin Air podcast.
In late January, Dale Hope and Mike Hope submitted to polygraph tests, hoping that would rule them out as having any involvement in their dad’s disappearance.
But the results only muddied the water.
“All through this process we were answering [the detective’s] phone calls. We were visiting when he wanted. We let them come into the house whenever they wanted. We were giving them as much information as possible,” Dale Hope said in the podcast. “Then all of the sudden, they just turned their guns on us.”
“When Dale said we were the prime suspects, I couldn’t believe it,” Dale’s wife, Lonnie, said. “I said that is unbelievable. That’s absurd. Nobody could believe it.”
Dale and Mike Hope hired prominent Boise attorney David Leroy. A former Idaho lieutenant governor and attorney general, Leroy is running for Congress, hoping to replace U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador.
‘We think you assisted your dad’
The “Thin Air” podcast, produced by Boise teachers Jordan Sims and Daniel Calderon, tells the stories of missing people all over the country. The free podcast has featured about two dozen cases. This is the first one to focus on someone from Boise. The episode on Hope was made available online Sept. 25.
Sims interviewed Dale and Mike Hope, Lonnie Hope, and Boise Police Det. Monte Iverson. Sims also obtained police documents on the case through a public records request.
Sims was surprised that investigators turned their attention to Hope’s sons.
“I thought the theory they came up with was outlandish,” she said.
Dale and Mike said in the podcast that investigators confronted them separately after the lie detector tests, in what they said was an attempt to get them to admit that they helped their father end his life.
Dale’s polygraph test came back “inconclusive,” while Mike showed “deception indicated,” according to police records that Sims obtained.
“They said, ‘We don’t believe you guys have a black heart. We just think that you assisted your dad,’ ” Dale said in the podcast.
Dale said police thought Mike’s 911 call about his father was strange because he started the call by saying he had some questions about reporting a missing person. Sims was unable to obtain the recording or transcript because it’s part of an ongoing investigation.
Dale owns Diamond Street Recycling. He said he believes police were trying to get him to say that he buried his dad and car in a pit at the 32-acre site. A major fire at the site in August of last year also piqued investigators’ interest.
Darwyn Hope was a retired postal worker who had lived alone since his wife, Margaret, died in 1999. He missed his wife terribly and considered suicide after she passed, according to his sons.
“My thoughts to him were, ‘People who commit suicide, they go to the sea of lost souls.’ He refrained from that,” Mike Hope recalled.
In the podcast, Mike and Dale said they met their father every Saturday for breakfast. Mike lamented that he didn’t see his dad more often.
“To me, he was a very loving person,” he said. “Like I say, he was my best friend.”
Mike was concerned about his father’s state of mind before he disappeared, describing it as the worst depression he’d ever seen his father suffer.
Family and police have considered methods that Hope might have used to kill himself. His sons said his medicines were at home. He didn’t have a gun and they checked with pawn shops to see whether he had purchased one.
Because of the extreme groin pain that he was suffering, Hope’s family doesn’t think he could have driven his car much more than 30 minutes from home.
Though doubtful their father would drive his beloved car into water, Mike and Dale have suggested that police look at Black Canyon Reservoir near Emmett because Darwyn had visited there with his second-oldest son, who is also named Darwyn but has a different middle name.
“He’s gotta be in Black Canyon. He’s gotta be under water,” Dale Hope said in the podcast. “That’s about as far as he could stand to drive.”
But the car was not found near the loading ramps at the reservoir in a search using sonar, according to BPD’s Iverson.
Mike and Dale are frustrated with Iverson’s efforts to find their father. But Leroy, their attorney, said he believes the investigation has been aggressive and thorough.
“They took an objective look at all possible events that could have occurred here,” Leroy said. “I think the department has conducted a classic and extremely laudable search in this case, and it’s an utter mystery why no lead has developed of any kind. I’m hoping your story can rattle the cage once more.”
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Darwyn Hope is asked to call: Ada County Dispatch, 208-377-6790, or Crime Stoppers at 208-343-2677 (COPS).