BONNEVILLE COUNTY, Idaho — There are new developments in the DeOrr Kunz, Jr. case as an ongoing lawsuit involving the family’s former private investigator gets closer to possibly heading to trial. 

A lawsuit between the Kunz family and their former private investigator Philip Klein was back in court this week when attorneys revealed that the grandfather, Dennis Kunz, passed away in January 2019.

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Dennis Kunz was the person Klein had the contract with, so with his passing, the beneficiary of the contract could now be his son and DeOrr’s father, Vernal Kunz.

The Kunz family claims in the lawsuit that Klein broke the terms of the contract by not keeping information about the case confidential.

RELATED: New interviews in DeOrr Kunz case released

The family is also claiming Klein made 36 slanderous statements to the media about the family, including past accusations that DeOrr’s parents and grandfather had lied to investigators.

In interviews with media back in 2016, Klein made statements such as “Nothing that comes out of Vernal’s mouth is the truth – nothing.”

Klein also stated that DeOrr’s mother, Jessica Mitchell’s, statements about what went on that day matched up with what investigators found, same as Vernal Kunz’s statements.

RELATED: DeOrr Kunz family named as suspects 

Klein’s defense attorneys are arguing the contract allowed Klein to talk to the media about the investigation and that Dennis Kunz had a chance to disagree with those terms but didn’t.

Klein is the second private investigator hired by the Kunz family before later leaving the case.

KTVB did reach out to Klein for a statement but he said he cannot comment on pending litigation. His only comment was, “The truth is the ultimate defense.”  

Klein referred KTVB to his attorneys, who we were unable to reach.

The case could go to trial later this year. However, if the judge finds that Klein did break contract, the family is seeking a settlement of $20,000 to cover the cost of Klein’s fees.

DeOrr is the 2-year-old  who went missing from a campground near Leadore in July 2015. No trace has been found of him since. 

RELATED: Lemhi County Sheriff declares Kunz case a homicide