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Breiton Scott Ackerman, 4 years old, disappeared on Sunday, May 22, 2005, while on a fishing trip with his family near Alton, Iowa. He was reported missing to the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office in Orange City, Iowa, that same day.
The Ackerman family were on a small concrete bridge over Willow Creek and said they lost sight of him for less than a minute some time between 3 and 4 p.m.
At the time he went missing, Breiton was described as a 4-year-old white male child with sandy-colored hair, hazel eyes, about 3-feet tall and weighing about 40 pounds. He was last seen wearing a green tank top and denim shorts.
Many believed Breiton fell into the creek and drowned, but extensive searches by divers, dogs, helicopters and heavy equipment in both the water and surrounding area turned up nothing.
Thinking the current may have carried his body downstream, officials conducted another search in the area where Willow Creek meets the Floyd River near Le Mars, but they recovered nothing.
Every May 22, Brad Ackerman visits the spot where his son disappeared.
“I don’t think you ever quit wondering, quit worrying,” Ackerman, of Alton, told the Sioux City Journal in a story published May 21, 2012.
Searchers had gone so far as to tear up the concrete bridge where Breiton was last seen, even though Sioux County Sheriff Dan Altena told the Journal a child Breiton’s size would have only floated 100 yards down the creek.
“We found nothing. Not one iota,” Altena said. “Not a piece of ripped shirt or anything.”
The Journal also reported in the May 21, 2012 article:
Sioux County deputies reexamined the case a few years ago. They gave a polygraph examination to a relative at creek that day. Although they didn’t suspect the man, who went for help, of harming Breiton, Altena said they wanted to know if Breiton could have sneaked inside the vehicle without anyone knowing it.
Altena said the man passed the polygraph, and that no one at the creek is suspected of harming Breiton.
In addition to the interview, the Journal also posted a Crime Watch Video where Brad Ackerman shared memories about his son and talked about what it’s like not knowing what happened to his son after all these years. (See below.)
Brad Ackerman talks to the Sioux City Journal about his missing son, Breiton Ackerman. Video Date: May 21, 2012
From Breiton’s obituary published in the Sioux City Journal:
ALTON, Iowa — Breiton Scott Ackerman, 4-year old son of Brad and Beth Ackerman of rural Alton, is presumed to have passed away Sunday, May 22, 2005, in a drowning accident.
Memorial services were held Friday, May 27, at 2 p.m. at Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Orange City, with the Rev. David Heilman officiating. Arrangements were under the direction of Oolman Funeral Home in Orange City.
Breiton was born July 10, 2000, in Orange City, the son of Brad and Beth (De Jong) Ackerman. He was raised in rural Alton and attended Orange City Headstart and Covenant Kids Preschool. He was a baptized member of the Immanuel Christian Reformed Church in Orange City.
He loved being outdoors with his dad and playing with his classmates and cousins. His favorite outdoors activities were riding a four-wheeler, fishing and camping. He enjoyed playing farm, especially with his toy horses. He was often referred to as “B” or “Daddy’s Melon Head.”
His favorite shirt was his “monkey muscle shirt”, which was a sleeveless t-shirt that matched one of his dad’s shirts. He and his cousin, Zachary, shared a favorite saying, “He did it.”
Survivors included his parents; three sisters, Roslyn, Cassandra “Cassie” and Sara, all at home; grandparents, Dennis and Gloria Vander Plaats of Sioux Center, Iowa, and Glenn and Jacqueline De Jong of Alton; several great-grandparents; a great-great-grandmother; and uncles, aunts and cousins, Tim and Pam Ackerman and their children, Katelyn, Samuel and Maggie, Dan and Denise Vander Plaats and their children, Ben and Emma, Nathan and Shawna Vander Plaats, Josh and Amanda Vander Plaats, David and Michelle Kremers and their children, Justin, Ashley and Connor, and Scott and Erica De Jong and their children, Zachary and Brooke.
He was preceded in death by his grandfather, Bud Ackerman Jr.; and a cousin, Allie Rae De Jong.
Memorials may be directed to the Immanuel Christian Reformed Church special fund at any of the Orange City banks.
If you have any information regarding Breiton Ackerman’s disappearance, please contact the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office at (712) 737-2280 or Deputy Tony Reitsma at (712) 737-3307.