Special Reports

Search along Whitewater River continues for Adam Herrman's remains

Butler County sheriff's investigators on Saturday will make their third search along the Whitewater River near Towanda looking for the remains of a boy who disappeared 10 years ago.

Then, on Feb. 21, investigators plan to scour woods south of the mobile home park where Adam Herrman lived when he disappeared at age 11, Butler County Sheriff Craig Murphy said Thursday.

Besides looking for human remains, investigators will check any discarded items they find to see if they could be connected to Adam's disappearance, Murphy said.

The disappearance was discovered late last year when Adam's older, adoptive sister brought her concerns about him to authorities. That led to the discovery that he had been missing for nearly 10 years.

His adoptive parents, Doug and Valerie Herrman of Derby, have said that he ran away and that they didn't report it because they feared it would lead to them losing custody of him and his younger siblings.

Relatives have said that the Herrmans explained Adam's absence by saying he went back into state custody.

Murphy said the remaining searches are not in response to a specific tip. He said it makes sense to search the secluded areas near where Adam lived.

Although Murphy has not ruled out that Adam is alive, he has consistently said that his department is looking for Adam's remains.

Two previous searches along the Whitewater, on the west side of Towanda, used search dogs and anthropological experts. Investigators also have excavated part of the Towanda lot where the Herrmans' house sat when he disappeared.

Investigators are still analyzing trash unearthed there to see if it has any connection to Adam's disappearance, Murphy said.

Detectives have been going through reports this week, "making sure (of) the accuracy of the information that we've gleaned from interviews," Murphy said.

Butler County's chief prosecutor, County Attorney Jan Satterfield, has said that the investigation could result in murder charges and that Doug and Valerie Herrman are suspects.

The Herrmans have not been arrested or charged, and they and their attorneys have said they are innocent.

Close relatives of the Herrmans have said Valerie Herrman abused Adam over the years. She has denied the accusations in an interview with The Eagle.