Left: Dermot circa, 1972
Right: Age Progressed to age 60
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: January 30, 1972
Missing From: Oglesby, LaSalle County, Illinois
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: July 27, 1955
Age: 16 years old
Height and Weight: 6’0″ and 150 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Male, Blonde hair, Blue eyes
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A black/white striped jacket, a t-shirt, blue jeans, and boots and a Accutron watch
NCMEC Number: 602923
Details of Disappearance
Dermot Kelly was last seen in Oglesby, Illinois on January 30th 1972. He left his family’s residence between 1:15 and 1:30 pm with a .22 caliber rifle and stated he was going to the woods alone the Vermilion River for target practice. He was never seen again afterwards.
When Dermot failed to return him by approximately 3:00 pm, his parents alerted authorities of his disappearance. A search was commenced by 5:00 pm the same day. The day was very cold in general and at night, the temperature was said or have dropped below zero degrees. The following afternoon, Dermot’s jacket and pair of boots were discovered on the bank of the Vermillion river where it fed into the Illinois River.
In addition to the clothing, bare foot prints were also found leading into the river and went about 20 feet in. There were no footprints to indicate the person came out of the river, however. The river was partially frozen at the time. Nearby was the imprint of a rifle in the snow.
Authorities initially assumed that Dermot had fallen into the river and drowned and sent divers to find Dermot’s body. While divers did not find his body, they did find a rifle under the ice with the telescopic sight missing. It’s believed to belong to Dermot.
His parents don’t fully believe the drowning theory and have other theories about what happened to him. They believe he may have runaway from home to live a transient type of lifestyle. A few days prior to his disappearance, Dermot said he wanted to leave and make a new life for himself. He didn’t have much money on him at the time of his disappearance. He was said to be carrying only a single dollar and some change and left all of his personal belongings behind which included his wallet and identification.
In 1973, the Kelly family’s doctor’s wife came forward and said she thought she saw Dermot in Chicago at one point. While it has not been a confirmed sighting, it led his parents to believe the runaway theory. It’s been stated that it would be odd for a person to die in the Vermillion River as a body would have surely been found.
At the time of his disappearance, his family described him as a non troublesome boy who did not do drugs or alcohol in 1972. He was a junior student at St. Bede’s Academy at the time and was described as an intelligent young man. He was getting B averages at the time and was said to be capable of getting better grades. He did miss weeks of school while being medically treated in Chicago in the fall of 1971. He loved reading and was described as quiet and his father stated that Dermot was troubled by what he described as inequities hypocrisy in society. He shared a nice middle class home with his parents and 4 siblings in 1972.
Despite extensive searches done by authorities, Dermot has never been located and has since been legally declared deceased in 1992, 20 years after his disappearance. Both of his parents have since died. His case remains unsolved.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
LaSalle County Sheriffs Office 815-433-2161
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children