On June 4, 2010, Kyron Richard Horman disappeared from Skyline Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, following his participation at a science fair. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), state and local police, and the FBI carried out a thorough search and opened a cri*minal investigation, but they were unable to find any meaningful information on the child’s whereabouts. The biggest cr*iminal investigation in Oregon history was initiated after Horman’s disappearance.

Kyron Horman

On September 9, 2002, Kyron Richard Horman was born in Portland, Oregon, to Kaine and Desiree. Kyron lived with his mother for the first two years of his life after his parents got divorced before he was born. His favourite colour was red, and when he grew up, he wanted to pursue a career as a police detective, just like his new stepfather, Tony Young. Bootsie, his cat, goes everywhere with him on his property and meets him at the bus stop. He had a belly laugh, had a large circle of friends, and enjoyed art, frogs, and Hot Wheels. He had a great interest in forensic science. On the day he went missing, he was wearing a shirt bearing the C.S.I logo. At seven years old, Kyron Horman was a bright and vivacious child who adored the beach. He was in an advanced math class, did exceptionally well in school, and displayed a natural affinity for learning sign language. Kyron was a bright youngster, but in the weeks before he vanished, he had been experiencing memory problems and occasionally zoned off during talks. Terri claims that his doctor made an appointment for him on June 11, 2010, stating that they thought he might be experiencing “mini-seizures.”

Family Background

Both Kaine and Desiree Young had shared custody over Kyron. When Desiree developed severe health problems she sent Kyron over to his father. Desiree called her old friend Terri and requested her to move into the Horman residence and take on the role of full-time caregiver for Kyron, as she knew that Kaine, an engineer for Intel, was extremely busy. Terri agreed. Terri and Kaine were already well acquainted. While Kaine and Desiree were still married, the two had an affair, but they later ended their relationship. Terri, on the other hand, reignited her romance with Kaine, and the two eventually tied the knot in 2007. Terri already had one son from a previous marriage, James, and the following year, she and Kaine welcomed their first child together, a daughter named Kiara.

The Disappearance

On June 4, 2010, Skyline Elementary, Kyron’s school, held a science fair. Kyron was eager to present his project at school that day. It was an exhibit about red-eyed tree frogs. Terri drove him in the morning to school. They went to set up his exhibit after leaving his coat and backpack in his classroom. At little after 8 a.m., Kyron, Terri, and baby Kiara were found in the gym by several witnesses. The school was accessible to everyone that day due to the science fair, and no one was obliged to sign in. Around 8:45 a.m., Terri and baby Kiara departed the school after exploring the other science fair exhibits. Terri last spotted Kyron heading down the hallway to his math class just before classes started. Before turning to go, she called out to him, and he waved. But Kyron was declared absent that day and never showed up for his first class. That day, around 2:00 p.m., Kaine came home from work. Kaine, Terri, and Kiara went down to the bus stop an hour and a half later to wait for Kyron. Kyron did not get off the bus when it arrived at its scheduled hour. The bus driver said he didn’t board the bus that day either. The school secretary promptly contacted 911 as they became aware that Kyron had disappeared and the search began.

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The Search

Extensive search operations were conducted for Kyron, with the main focus being on a 2-mile (3.2 km) radius surrounding Skyline Elementary and Sauvie Island, which is roughly 6.9 km away. The purpose of the search, which included a search of the Sauvie Island Bridge, was not disclosed by law authorities. About 300 experienced rescuers were on the ground on June 12th, combing through the wooded regions close to the school. With nearly 1,300 searchers from Oregon, Washington, and California, the ten-day search for Kyron was the largest in Oregon history. In late July 2010, a $25,000 reward was announced for information that led to the discovery of Kyron. The prize was then increased to $50,000.

Despite these efforts, nothing was ever found. There were no signs of Kyron anywhere. After this, Kyron’s disappearance was officially considered a cr*iminal investigation and no longer merely a missing persons case.

The Investigation

The first person that everyone suspected was Terri, the stepmom. According to the statement of Terri, this is what happened.

Terri took Kyron to the science fair along with her daughter at 8 am. At around 8:45 am she waved Kyron goodbye as he walked away to his math classes, which was the last time she saw him. At 9 am she arrived at the Fred Meyer store to buy medicines for her daughter who had an ear infection. Then she realized she had come to the wrong store and drove to the second Fred Meyer store to get the medicines at 9:30 am. At around 10 am Terri drops off her husband’s dry cleaning and at 10:10 am she stops at Michael’s Craft store. At 10:39 am she makes a phone call, but to whom she placed the call remains unknown. Between 10:10 am and 11:39 am, she was driving around since the motions of the car drive were soothing her baby’s earache. At 10:39 am she arrived at the gym and left Kiara at the onsite daycare centre. At 12:20 pm, Terri takes Kiara, leaves the gym and arrives at home around 12:40 pm. At 1:21 pm Terri posts photos on Facebook including the one of Kyron taken in the science fair. At 2:00 pm Kaine arrives at home while she still is on the computer. At 3:30 pm both of them leave for the bus stop to pick up Kyron.

Terri Horman’s involvement in her stepson’s disappearance was suspected by the police early in the investigation. Terri was the only one of the four adults — Kyron’s parents and his stepparents — to flunk a polygraph test twice. Emails from Terri showed that she disliked Kyron and even held him responsible for her marital problems. Because Kaine and James did not get along, she was also said to have been resentful of Kaine for forcing her son to move out months earlier. Investigators reportedly informed Kaine in late June 2010 during their search that Terri had offered their landscaper, Rodolfo Sanchez, “a lot of money” to kill her husband. In addition to getting a restraining order against Terri, Kaine filed for divorce on June 28. Terri finally received supervised visitation with her daughter once the divorce was approved. Terri was also cited as saying to Desiree, “I loved your son,” a few days after Kyron disappeared. The fact that Terri was already referring to Kyron in the past tense while the rest of his family was still holding out hope that he would be discovered alive and well has led some to interpret this phrasing as alarming. Desiree, on the other hand, was convinced Terri was at fault. This is also supported by Kaine, who notes that Terri seemed to have an alcohol addiction, a personality disorder, and postpartum depression.

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Some speculated that DeDe Spicher, Terri’s best friend, might also have been involved because, on the day Kyron vanished, she had around three hours that she refused to account for, which coincided with Terri allegedly being out and about driving her infant around. DeDe was employed that day at a nearby nursery, as was later discovered, but she refused to acknowledge what would have amounted to unemployment fraud because she was also receiving benefits at the time. DeDe claimed that she had been unofficially cleared of any suspicion.

Terri was sued by Young in a civil suit on June 1, 2012, alleging that Terri was “responsible for the disappearance of Kyron.” The lawsuit sought to establish that on the day Kyron vanished, Terri had abducted him. Young demanded damages of $10 million. It was revealed on July 30, 2013, that Young had withdrawn his case against Terri to avoid interfering with the current police investigation.

The author of Boy Missing: The Search for Kyron Horman, Rebecca Morris, disclosed in 2020 that on the morning of June 4th, Kyron was allegedly seen by several witnesses leaving the school with Terri and her little daughter. The bus driver for Kyron, a classmate, and two of the classmate’s relatives were among the eyewitnesses. Morris stated in her book that Kyron’s stepmother’s strangely joyful and upbeat behaviour on the day of his abduction made investigators suspicious of her right away. Terri allegedly cleaned Kyron’s backpack and jacket that day, according to the book.

The book also revealed that the day before Kyron’s disappearance, Terri emailed a friend and said that she was going to leave Kaine the next day and take her daughter with her. It also claimed that Terri wasn’t able to recall or describe to police where she was for parts of the day and that she had a suspicious, large gash on her leg. Terri has consistently claimed innocence regarding Kyron’s disappearance despite all of this. She stated that she believed Kyron was taken from the school, noting that at the time there were known paedophiles residing in the neighbourhood.

Terri’s ex-boyfriend Sean Rea came forward and said he thought Terri had hired a hitman to kill him in 1990. The two were having lunch in the park on the day in question when a man wielding a gun approached them. Terri allegedly stood up and exclaimed, “He’s here for you,” to Sean. But instead of firing, the man fled, possibly losing his courage. After the event, Sean ended his relationship with Terri and moved out shortly after.

Everything that has happened throughout the investigation has pointed towards Terri as the suspect, but with no solid evidence, it has become a de*ad end.

Media

Terri appeared as a guest on Dr Phil in 2016, during which she told Phil McGraw: “I was advised from the beginning by law enforcement, by my husband at the time, by attorneys in the beginning, not to say anything. I’ve always wanted to. I’ve asked multiple times to speak out and have not been allowed.” She denied having any involvement in Kyron’s disappearance and also stated her belief that he was kidnapped, adding: “There was a man in a white pickup truck, Ford, parked on Highway 30 at the 7-Eleven, which is not near the school. He was acting very strangely and he was addressed by one of the employees because he had been pacing back and forth in front of the 7-Eleven for about an hour.

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“Vanished from School,” season 2, episode 2, of the television show Real Life Nightmare on Discovery ID, explores the case. The episode aired on November 15, 2020.

The current state of Investigation

Terri went into legal issues once more in the years after Kyron vanished, once more for driving a stolen vehicle and once more for stealing a gun from her roommate. In 2016, Joseph Cristobal, her former partner, also accused her of domestic abuse. Terri was dubbed a “prime suspect” by a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge in 2012, but no hard evidence connecting her or anyone else to Kyron’s abduction has ever been discovered. Since Kyron vanished in 2010, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office reported receiving over 4,000 tips. According to spokesman Chris Liedle, the police still receive one to twenty leads each month and have two investigators and an FBI agent working full-time on the case.

In an effort to find a match with one of the thousands of unidentified victims across the nation performed DNA analysis on his toothbrush during their inquiry and investigators submitted Kyron’s dental features and X-rays to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons database. Police have also continued to release age-progressed photos of Kyron. There have been no new advancements in the case announced despite these attempts. His family is still holding out hope that he could be out there somewhere. Kyron’s family threw a car wash on September 9, 2022, which would have been his 20th birthday. Every penny raised was used to support the ongoing search for Kyron. In addition, Desiree, his mother, called for the formation of a new task force to plan the strategy for prosecuting homicides with “no body” evidence and staged a demonstration outside the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office. Desiree discussed her constant pain during a press conference.

“Making the drive in for 12 years and pulling up to the school and knowing this was the last place Kyron was, I can’t even explain the anguish and the heartache.”

In an interview with NewsNation, Young recounted a moment she had just days after Kyron vanished. She said she felt both the presence of God and her son in a quiet moment outdoors when she felt the wind kick up and the warmth of Kyron’s touch on her hand.

“He told me ‘Mama, I’m okay. There is a God and I’m with him and I’m happy and okay. And you need to be okay, too.’ And I said I can’t be okay, because I need answers,” Young said. “I don’t want you to be with God, I want you to be with me.”

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department is actively looking for any leads in the case as of right now. But even after more than ten years, the authorities are still not any closer to uncovering the mystery behind Kyron Horman’s disappearance.

I hope they find Kyron Horman soon.

For any details please contact Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office at (503) 988–0560, your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate. You can also submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

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