Chris Michael Jennings, age 16, went missing from Kootenai County, Idaho on September 7, 1980.

He had accompanied his family to the North Idaho State Fair, where they were showing pigs. Chris reportedly became bored and wanted to go home, and his parents didn’t object. His brother also went home. They fed their animals, then Chris headed to a party.. He was never seen again.

In the beginning, his family believed him to be a runaway, as he had been displaying rebellious behavior and was experimenting with alcohol and drugs. There were also family problems; his parents were headed for divorce and frequently argued.

After no word from Chris in the ensuing weeks, his family grew worried and reported his disappearance to the police. There wasn’t much of an investigation at the time, and his parents eventually gave up searching.

Over a decade later, Chris’ sister was startled to receive a call from Marty Bennett, a former friend and classmate of Chris, who she hadn’t heard from in many years. Without directly admitting to knowing anything, he asked if she’d ever considered that Chris may have been involved in an accident, and that his friends buried him because they were afraid to come forward. She was baffled by this bizarre call, and she contacted police.

She found that nobody in law enforcement could locate any report on Chris’ disappearance, and that none of the veteran officers even remembered it. The police took a new report at that time.

Chris’ sister would be contacted by other former friends of Chris, and they also mentioned an accident. One stated that he believed Chris had been racing cars with his friends, which led to an accident. He recounted seeing a crushed Ford Mustang with a lot of blood inside.

Other people familiar to Chris back in 1980 gave inconsistent accounts of when they had last seen Chris, and one said that Chris had told him that he planned to leave.

Chris’ family believes there are many people who know what happened to him, and hopes one of them will develop a conscience and tell what they know. Chris’ mother believed he is buried in the woods on Chilco Avenue, near the family home. That was the party spot back then.

Unfortunately, this area has changed a lot since 1980. The dirt roads have since been paved, and houses now sit on the land that was once a secluded teen hangout.

Chris attended Lakeland High School and was active in 4-H activities. He was an animal lover and a typical teenager.

If you know what happened to Chris and where his remains are, please know that unless you murdered him, you won’t be in trouble if you come forward. The statute of limitations will have long passed. However, the need for Chris’ family to bring him home has not passed. Please help give this family peace.



The Charley Project

Facebook Page for Chris

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