WHAT HAPPENED? (1)
I'm sorry everyone, get ready for a sad one. On June 4, 2010, 7-year-old Kyron Horman disappeared from his Portland, Oregon elementary school after attending the science fair. The sweet photo above was taken within an hour of his disappearance.
His disappearance sparked the largest criminal investigation in the state's history. Local and state police, along with the FBI, launched the search and investigation, but they did not uncover any significant information.
As of today, 10 years since the boy in the cutest little CSI shirt went missing, his whereabouts remain unknown.
DISAPPEARANCE AND SEARCH (1)
Kyron Horman was bon to parents Desiree Young and Kaine Horman on September 9, 2002. His parents divorced 8 months into the pregnancy, but had shared custody of him until 2004, when Desiree became really sick and required extensive medical intervention. At that point, Kaine took over full custody, but Desiree was still active in his childhood and upbringing.
Kaine remarried in 2007 to Terri Moulton. They had been involved since 2001 in the midst of his divorce, but did not marry until 2007. In 2008, Terri had the couple's first child, a daughter named Kiara. 5-year-old Kyron was a student at Skyline Elementary School at the time of his little sister's birth.
On June 4, 2010, Terri took Kyron to school, and then stayed with him for the science fair. She claims she left at around 8:45 AM and watched Kyron walk down the hallway to his first class, but he was never seen in that class. He was marked as absent.
In statements to the police, Terri said that after leaving the school, she ran grocery-related errands until 10:10 AM, and then was driving around town with her daughter, attempting to sooth her earache with the motion of the car. Then she went to the gym and worked out for about an hour, and then arrived home at 1:21 and posted photos of Kyron at the science fair on Facebook.
It wasn't until 3:30 PM when the family realized their son was missing. Terri and Kaine walked to the bus stop to meet Kyron, and their world came crashing down when the bus driver told them he never boarded the bus. When they called the school, they found out that he had been reported absent and had not been seen at school the entire day. The secretary called 911 when she realized the child was missing.
The search was extensive, but only in a few small areas, including the 2 miles around the elementary school, and around Sauvie Island, though law enforcement did not disclose why they searched this particular area.
The search for Kyron, which included about 300 trained rescuers and 1,300 volunteer searchers, searched for over 10 days. It was the largest search in Oregon history. A reward was posted for $50,000 for any information leading to Kyron. But unfortunately, it amounted to nothing.
LEGAL PROCEEDINGS (1)
Later in the year of Kyron's abduction, Kaine was told by investigators that his wife, Terri, had paid their landscaper Rodolfo Sanchez "a lot of money" to kill him (him meaning Kaine, not Kyron.) Sanchez testified in a deposition that he had been approached by Terri to help kill Kaine in January, but Terri denied it. It was later determined that the DA told Sanchez he needed to participate in the testimony, or his family would be deported. He tried to confront Terri while wearing a wire, but got no evidence.
Despite this, Kaine filed for divorce and got a restraining order against Terri, who was only granted supervised visitation of their daughter.
Terri wasn't just the victim of a weird police smear campaign to make it look like she was trying to take her husband out. She also failed 2 separate polygrapph tests regarding Kyron's disappearance, and witnesses saw her sitting in her truck outside of the elementary school with another person.
In search of that second person, police subpoenaed DeDe Spicher, a close friend of Terri's. She was extremely cooperative and allowed police to search her car and she calmly endured hours of questioning. But despite her helpful demeanor, she did leave work abruptly around 11:30 AM on the day of Kyron's disappearance, and returned 90 minutes later. She also helped Terri purchase a burner phone. However, Spicher said that she never in a million years would believe her friend would be capable of such foul play, and wouldn't support her if she thought it was true.
On June 1, 2012, after her son had been missing for almost exactly 2 years, Desiree filed a civil suit against Terri, claiming she was responsible for her son's disappearance. The lawsuit tried to prove that Terri kidnapped him, and sought $10 million in damages. As a part of the lawsuit, Spicher refused to answer 142 questions, including where was she, and what type of contact did she have with Terri. She declined to identify a photo of the boy, whether she had met him before, or if she knew Kaine.
As a result of the lawsuit, police believed that they had more probable cause as to Terri's involvement and in 2013, Desiree dropped the lawsuit so she wouldn't interfere with the police investigation.
Terri went on Dr. Phil in 2016 and claimed she had been told not to say anything, but she just wanted to speak out. She said she had nothing to do with Kyron's disappearance, believing he was kidnapped. Though, if she saw him walking down the hallway to class but never arrived in class, a stranger kidnapping him in that extremely short window seems very difficult to believe.
In one write-up of the case, the user says they used to believe the step-mother was involved, but instead, thinks that Kyron's teacher had something to do with it. (2)
Full disclosure: I had a hard time finding articles that corroborated a lot of this, so I am taking this from a Reddit write-up. It is just a theory, right? Anyway, this user claims there was speculation that Kyron was being sexually abused, as he had been experiencing some weird behavioral issues. Terri made a doctor's appointment for him and told the school about the upcoming appointment. (2)
On the day of his disappearance, his book bag was left in the classroom, and other students and teachers claim they saw him after Terri left. Apparently, the teacher had some papers that corroborated his behavioral issues that Terri would have needed for the appointment, so the teacher must not have thought he was at his appointment. If she thought he was at an appointment, would she have said something about his backpack that was left behind? (2)
It is a far-fetched theory, but if you believe that Terri saw him walk to his classroom, but then he never showed up for class, it makes sense that he'd be taken by someone comfortable with him. She could have hid him somewhere in the school and moved him after. Maybe she was sexually grooming the kid and felt that Terri was onto her and decided to act. This theory is 100% speculation, but if you don't believe Terri did it, a rogue kidnapper wouldn't have had the access inside of the elementary school as a teacher would. (2)
Some people agree with the spirit of that theory, but aren't convinced it was the teacher, but someone else he would have trusted in the community. The science fair made the school a bit more chaotic, and perhaps whoever had been grooming him felt that it was an optimal time to take him. (3)
While the most widely accepted theory is that Terri was involved, given the fact that she "seems like she's hiding something", the failed polygraph, her friend pleading the 5th and being the last person to see him, she really had no motive. She was a really involved parent who seemed to love her step-son, and there is no evidence against her. Additionally, if she wanted to kill or kidnap her son, why would she do so at the school? She lived with him, it would have been a lot easier to make it look like she wasn't involved under different circumstances. (3)
But, I'm still not entirely sure. Of course, the loss of a child is always immensely hard on the parents. But even after the hit-for-hire plot was determined to be false, Kaine divorced her and asked for a restraining order against her. That sounds like a lot for an unfounded plot against him. Additionally, she was driving around aimlessly trying to cure her daughter's earache, but it could be an excuse for why she was driving with no destination in mind. There are also some alleged emails that she had some emails that blamed Kryon for her marital problems. (3)
But that's all very circumstantial. She had receipts from grocery stores within the hour of his disappearance and really hasn't acted guilty. To abduct him, kill him, dispose of him and clean up within the extremely short timeframe, while driving around a small child, seems tricky to believe. (3)
This one is a tough one for me. The disappearance of a child is so much more different than that of an adult. He couldn't have left on his own accord. He couldn't have gotten drunk and made a bad decision. He was a 7-year-old kid in what should have been one of the safest possible places to be a 7-year-old kid, and he was taken.
Ultimately, I lean toward someone who was in, or worked in, the school. It makes no sense for his step-mother to have kidnapped him at school when she lived with him 100% of the time. She was an easy target, but I don't think she had anything to do with it. If you were a predator, especially one who had sexually abused the child in the past, a chaotic morning at school would be the perfect time to attack. It happened at the school, I think the most likely scenario is that it was someone affiliated with the school.
It has been 10 years and still, no answers. If Terri did it, I truly hope one day she is held accountable, but if she didn't, I hope that she is able to move on from being the prime suspect in a crime she didn't commit, and forgive the panicked, grieving parents who put her through a media storm to make her look guilty. She had practically raised Kyron since he was a baby. If she had nothing to do with it, she's a grieving parent too, who is now also dealing with everyone believing her to be guilty.
This is one that, to me, doesn't have an obvious answer and it truly seems like the child vanished into thin air. No theory makes perfect sense. This isn't like some disappearances that are "unofficially" solved, where everyone accepts one theory but it was never proven. This one is a complete mystery that has certainly haunted the people who loved the sweet 7-year-old kiddo for these past 10 years. I truly hope one day this case gets solved.