BEAUMONT – Philip Klein, an area blogger and private investigator, has been hit with a libel and slander suit, brought by the grandfather of DeOrr Kunz Jr. – the Idaho Falls toddler who vanished in July 2015.
Alleging breach of contract, DeOrr Dennis Kunz, along with the father of the boy, DeOrr Vernal Kunz, filed suit against Klein and his company, Klein Investigations and Consulting, on Nov. 1 in an Idaho state court.
Two years ago, Dennis Kunz hired Klein for $20,000 to find his grandson and clear his son, Vernal, of any suspicion.
Klein has since withdrawn from the investigation.
“Klein breached his contractual and ethical duties of confidentiality by making public statements without authorization,” the suit states. “Klein has appeared on Idaho television news programs professing to have extensive information concerning the disappearance of Little DeOrr and giving detailed accounts of information obtained pursuant to his contract with Dennis Kunz.
“In addition, some of the information shared was false and cast Vernal Kunz in a bad light, contrary to the entire purpose of the contract.”
Klein has made statements to numerous media outlets, including Channel
8 News in Idaho Falls and the "Dr. Drew" show on CNN, claiming evidence points to Vernal and the boy’s mother being complicit in the disappearance.
As a result of Klein allegedly breaching his contract, he has destroyed Vernal’s reputation and should be made to compensate him for the humiliation and loss of income, the suit states.
“In fact, Phillip Klein did sell out his own clients to appear to be a righteous problem solver, but in the process he published false and misleading information which made an entire nation hate the parents of a missing child, Little DeOrr, and made most of the nation believe the parents had either killed the child or been responsible for the child's disappearance and/or death,” the suit states.
The plaintiffs are also suing for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
They are represented by attorney Allen Browning.
Klein sent an email to the Record stating the parents are named as suspects by the FBI and Lemhi County.
In January 2016, the Idaho State Journal reported the Lemhi County's Sheriff's Office named the parents as suspects.