Two months after the disappearance of 25-year-old Wyoming father Chance Englebert, family and friends still don’t have answers.
Chance and his wife, Baylee, 20, met two years ago and fell in love. They got married in October 2018 and their son, Banks, was born in May 2019.
The family, who live in Moorcroft, Wyoming, were visiting Baylee’s grandparents in Gering, Nebraska on July 6, 2019, when their world was turned upside down.
Baylee told Dateline that Chance was out golfing with some of her family members when he became upset over a misunderstanding. He called Baylee to pick him up and told her he wanted to go home. They drove back to her grandparents’ house, but Chance got upset again and started walking away from the house.
He never returned.
“When he gets mad, he’ll walk to cool down,” Baylee said. “But I didn’t think he’d go far. He just kept walking until I couldn’t see him. I didn’t think he was serious.”
Baylee said she went out looking for her husband, but was unable to find him. When she last spoke to Chance around 7:46 p.m., she says he told her he was walking south, but he had also contacted friends and said he was walking north toward Torrington, Wyoming.
Baylee said the last time anyone heard from Chance was about 8:46 p.m. Saturday. His phone was turned off shortly afterwards.
A bad thunderstorm swept through the area around 9 p.m. and Baylee figured Chance took shelter in a nearby bar or building. Her grandfather went out to look for him, but no one had seen him.
“I still wasn’t that worried,” Baylee said. “I figured he’d come slinking in late that night. But he didn’t. And when I woke up the next morning and he wasn’t there… I knew it was bad.”
Police said the rains during the thunderstorm that night were heavy and cold, so in addition to the dangers of lightning, police were worried that Chance may have gotten hypothermia. Officials said there is also the concern of slipping into rivers and streams.
“I think whatever happened is really bad,” Baylee said. “People just don’t vanish. Something happened to him.”
Baylee told Dateline that Chance would never leave their baby.
“He is such a good father,” Baylee said. “When I found out I was pregnant, I was kind of freaking out, but he was so excited. Like stupid excited.”
Baylee said Chance couldn’t wait to buy their baby a mini derby car. She said Chance and his family were big participants of the Demolition Derby and he often could be found working on his derby car.
Baylee is continuing to go to nursing school and raise their son, “I’m just trying to do everything he wanted us to do the best I can.”
The Gering Police Department told KNEP that despite multiple agencies searching hundreds of miles on the ground and in the air, they have not found anything to aid their investigation to the whereabouts of Chance.
Chief George Holthus said the search efforts have included 147 people participating in ground searches, 2,400 acres searched, 18 agencies involved, Air Link logged 280 miles and the Nebraska State Patrol helicopter logged 100 miles.
“We can say with relative certainty that Chance isn’t in those areas,” Holthus said.
Chance’s mother, Dawn Englebert, said she’s living a nightmare and said she just wants to know that her son is safe.
“As a mom, I keep expecting him to show up in my driveway needing his mommy,” Dawn told Dateline.
Dawn lives on a family ranch in Edgemont, South Dakota. She said the family recently signed papers for more land and was devastated that Chance couldn’t be there.
“He always wanted more land on this ranch,” Dawn said. “I wish he was here to see it happen.”
Chance, who worked in the coal mines for years, had recently been hired as a welder and was excited to start his new job, Dawn told Dateline.
“He was so eager to start that job, he just wouldn’t leave it,” Dawn said. “He wouldn’t leave his job, or his family, his baby.”
She made a plea to her son that if he ran away to please come home.
“Please call somebody. You don’t have to come home. We just want to know that you’re safe. Our hearts ache every day. Every night.”
Chief Holthus told KNEP that if Chance did run away, he would not face any criminal charges.
“There’s no repercussions. If that’s what happened and Chance needed a break, to decompress, whatever, there is no criminal charges,” Holthus said. “He has not committed a crime. He is an adult. He can go and do.”
But Dawn believes there was foul play and that someone knows where he is.
“You just don’t vanish like that,” Dawn told Dateline. “There has to be foul play. I just… I want answers. I’m running out of steam and hope.”
Chance was last seen wearing a short sleeve button-up Wrangler shirt, dark blue Wrangler jeans, roper-style boots and a black and white trucker hat.
Chance is 5 feet 9 inches tall, medium build and has sun-lightened brown hair.
A $10,000 reward is being offered by the family for anyone who can locate Chance.