PORTLAND, Ore. – The first accounts of 7-year-old Kyron Horman’s disappearance were a parent’s nightmare: A boy vanishes from the safe haven of his elementary school.

But in the course of two months, shock has turned into frustration as the case has taken bizarre twists. Suspicion rests on the boy’s stepmother, who is mute about what happened the morning he vanished, while lurid tales of infidelity and even a murder-for-hire plot swirl.

And still, after the largest missing child search in Oregon history, the question remains: Where is Kyron?

“I’ve got no reason to stop,” said the boy’s father, Kaine Horman. “I mean, I’m tired. So what? He’s scared, he’s alone, he’s afraid. He’s not here.”

On the morning of June 4, a busy Friday at the 300-student Skyline Elementary School in a rural area of northwest Portland, kids displayed their science fair projects as proud parents snapped photos. Kyron Horman was no different, posing for his stepmother, Terri Horman, with a grin in front of his red-eyed tree frog poster.

Terri Horman told investigators she last saw the diminutive, bespectacled boy walking down the hall to his classroom.


While his teacher recorded him as absent, there was confusion about a doctor’s appointment and the hours passed. Nothing was considered amiss until the afternoon, when Kyron didn’t get off his school bus.

Authorities launched a search that would involve more than 500 people from 18 jurisdictions, some from outside the state, and the FBI. Days stretched into weeks with no sign of Kyron. The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department acknowledged it had become a criminal probe, because it was not in Kyron’s nature to just wander away.

“It’s like a portal opened up in the school and Kyron just vanished into it,” said Kyron’s biological mother, Desiree Young.

At the end of June, the investigation took an unexpected turn. Kaine Horman, Young and her current husband issued a statement saying they were cooperating with police. Terri Horman’s name was noticeably absent. Hours later, Kaine Horman filed for divorce and a restraining order to keep his wife away from him and their 20-month-old daughter, Kiara.

Court documents would reveal that the restraining order was sought because sheriff’s investigators told Kaine Horman that his wife had tried to hire someone to kill him in the months before Kyron disappeared.


Another bombshell dropped two weeks later when Kaine Horman filed contempt-of-court papers against his wife, accusing her of taking up with one of his high school acquaintances who had reached out to the family when Kyron went missing.

Kaine Horman says she showed the acquaintance sealed court documents that included the address where he was in hiding with Kiara. Kaine also said the pair exchanged hundreds of text messages, including sexually suggestive photos.

Terri Horman has not been charged. Except for a few passing words to a TV reporter, she has made no public comments.

Her attorney, Stephen Houze, says she is the subject of threats and a “witch hunt.”

Terri Horman, who has reportedly moved in with her parents in southern Oregon, filed papers last week saying she would not contest the divorce.

Houze has not responded to repeated requests from The Associated Press for comment.

In recent days, one of Terri Horman’s friends, DeDe Spicher, reported to the Multnomah County grand jury looking into the case. Investigators will not comment on her role, if any. Young and Kaine Horman have accused Spicher of hampering the probe, but her lawyer maintains she is cooperating.

Former Multnomah County prosecutor Josh Lamborn, now in private practice and not connected to the case, said a grand jury’s involvement does not always result in criminal charges — contradicting rumors that spread recently that an arrest was imminent. Sometimes, Lamborn said, grand juries are simply investigative tools.

And still the question remains: Where is Kyron?

Kaine Horman has moved back home and returned on a limited basis to his work as an engineer at Intel, while trying to keep life as normal as possible for toddler Kiara.

He and his ex-wife, Young, speak often with the media, in hopes of keeping Kyron’s story in the news.

The father and mother’s latest appearance came Friday, when Young reiterated her belief that Kyron is still alive and that Terri Horman is involved somehow in his disappearance, although she has no evidence.

Her angry resolve to find her son has become tinged with more evident sadness as the weeks stretch into months.

“I don’t know if I’m getting through it,” she said. “I’m just taking one day at a time. Eight weeks is a hard marker for me.”