HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Tom Dunkelberger assumes his nephew Dennis, Dennis’s wife Rebecca and their children, 9-year-old Karley Marie and 7-year-old Bentley have left the state.
His hope is they’re following the news back home on social media and will see his plea for them to return to their home in Battle Creek.
“We love him. And we want to see him back with his family, together,” Dunkelberger said. “If they simply come forward and let both the court know and Child Protective Services know that everybody is OK, the rest of the stuff, we can work on.”
Dennis Dunkelberger and his family haven’t been seen since Jan. 9.
The kids haven’t been in school and the parents canceled appointments with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, likely related to a pending neglect case involving the children.
Authorities put out an Endangered Missing Advisory for all four of them last week.
Police say the parents suffer from a number of issues related to substance abuse and mental health, and have violent tendencies when they are together but not towards their children.
“He is not a harm to his family. He’s trying to save his family in the only way that he knows,” Tom Dunkelberger said. “I honestly believe that he is running in fear for his family and trying to keep them together (and) not allow them to be split up.”
Tom says he sees his nephew Dennis three or four times a year. He says he knew there were issues, but he didn’t know how severe those issues had become.
And that’s the other message he hopes reaches his nephew: that his family is here to help.
“I wish we had some way of letting him know that we may have been absent prior to this, but we’re not going to be absent now, if he would just come back,” Tom said.
Bentley is 3 feet, 8 inches tall and 46 pounds with curly brown hair. He sometimes wears glasses and speaks with a stutter.
Karley is 3 feet, 10 inches tall and 61 pounds. She has long blonde curly hair and has autism.
The family was last seen in a black 2013 Kia Sorento with the Michigan license plate of 4LUZ90.
If you have any information, please contact Battle Creek police at 269.966.3375 or Silent Observer at 269.781.9700.