The Disappearance of Kyron Horman- 4th June 2010- Portland, Oregon.
Kyron Horman was a happy, boyish 7 year-old whose smile lit up any room he was in. His parents, Kaine and Desiree divorced before he was born and married other people. Desiree married a detective named Tony Young, and Kaine married Terri Moulton. Due to Desiree’s health issues, Kyron stayed with Kaine and Terri in Portland, although Desiree still remained a very active part of his life. Kaine and Terri went on to have a daughter, Kiara, together.
Around 8am on the morning of 4th June 2010, Terri and Kyron arrived at his school, Skyline Elementary. There was a science fair that day, which Kyron was taking part in as well as a talent show later that afternoon. A while later, after taking photos of Kyron standing with his project, Terri left the school. She said that as she was leaving, she saw Kyron walking towards his classroom. Kyron, however, never made it to his class. After Terri left, she says she drove to two different Fred Meyer stores, seeking medication for Kiara’s ear infection until around 10am. She then drove around town, attempting to use the car’s motion to soothe Kiara untill 11.40am. She says she then went to the gym until 12.40pm, before heading home, where she posted the science fair photos on Facebook at 1.21pm.
At 3.30pm Terri, Kaine and Kiara went to meet Kyron at the bus stop. When the bus arrived and Kyron didn’t get off, the bus driver notified them that he hadn’t got on the bus after school and advised them to call the school to see if they knew where he was. When the parents called, they found that he had been marked absent that day. His teacher had assumed he had a doctor’s appointment and never questioned his absence. Realising Kyron was no where to be found, the school Secretary called 911 and reported him missing. Officers arrived at both the family home and the school around 45 minutes later.
The reaction after that was very quick in progression. A broadcast was sent out to parents in Portland schools, detectives notified search and rescue and the FBI, and local media was sent a photo of Kyron along with information on his disappearance. At 8pm, search teams began to arrive and an intense search for Kyron began; his house, school grounds, crawlspaces, outbuildings, classrooms and storage areas were scoured. There was no sign of Kyron. As a result, the search was expanded, with over 1000 searchers joining the effort in what would be Oregon’s largest search and rescue operation. Press conferences were held with Kyron’s parents pleading for him to come home, while students at Skyline Elementary put up a “wall of hope” full of tributes and hopeful messages. A $25,000 reward (later doubled to $50,000) was also posted. But Kyron was still no where to be found.
After 10 days, the search ended and the case was upgraded to a criminal investigation. Investigators shifted their focus onto those closest to Kyron, specifically Terri, who was the last person to have seen Kyron. Desiree, herself, felt something was “off” about Terri’s version of events. Tony, with experience in this type of investigation, had advised the family in the beginning about their personal lives being put under a microscope, and noted Terri’s frustration and shifty attitude about being questioned.
Terri was repeatedly interviewed, her car searched multiple times and was made to take three polygraph tests. She failed two of these tests and walked out of the third. Her excuse would later be that she is part deaf and couldn’t her the questions well. Witnesses began to come forward saying they had seen another person waiting in Terri’s car outside the school, as well as seeing Kyron leaving the school with Terri and Kiara. It was also discovered that Terri’s phone data didn’t match her story. The search for a possible second person led police to Terri’s close friend, Dede Spicher, who was questioned and had her home searched. Dede had abruptly left work with no explanation on June 4th and didn’t answer any calls from colleagues, before returning 90 minutes later. She claimed, however, that she had never left work that day. She also allegedly helped Terri to buy an untraceable phone.
Soon after Kyron disappeared, a gardener of Terri’s, Rodolfo Sanchez told police she had offered him a large sum of money to kill Kaine just months earlier. He was wired and made to try get a confession from Terri, but the plan failed. Later, Sanchez retracted his statement, and it was found that authorities allegedly threatened to deport his family if he did not testify. Despite this, Kaine filed for divorce and a restraining order against Terri, moving out and taking Kiara with him. While this happened behind the scenes, Terri told the media, “It’s just a rumour that needs to be squelched. Everything’s fine.” Dede admitted in an interview that she was there for Terri through all of this, staying at the home with her. She told how the pair suspected they were under surveillance, so had important conversations outside, while only talking about Terri’s life, kids and family while inside the home. Soon, Terri was ordered to move out of the home, which she did immediately. It was also found that 26 days after Kyron’s disappearance, Terri had been sexting Kaine’s friend, expressing her thirst for sex and seeming very unfazed by her step son’s disappearance.
While the investigation continued, Desiree eventually filed a civil suit against Terri, demanding her to return Kyron or reveal where his body is. She sought $10million in damages. During the deposition for this, Terri refused to answer 142 questions, including her whereabouts on June 4th, whether she knew Kyron & Kaine, and even refused to identify a photo of Kyron. Later, realising the suit would need sealed information from Kyron’s investigation to move forward, Desiree chose to drop the suit to maintain the integrity of the investigation. Terri went on to move to California to escape the pressure and attempted to change her name to Claire Sullivan – a character from a murder mystery novel – but was denied. She has gone on to remarry since then, and maintains her story, saying that she believes Kyron was kidnapped by a man in a white pickup truck, who she had seen that day acting suspiciously. In 2016, she was arrested for driving a stolen vehicle. She was already facing charges of gun theft and domestic violence. The DV allegations came after a partner of Terri reported that he fears for his life after Terri held a knife up to his face, threatening to kill him and his family. She was also linked to a 1990 murder-for-hire plot by an ex boyfriend, but hadn’t officially been charged.
Desiree, her husband and Kaine are still fighting desperately for Kyron to be found. Last year, on the 9th anniversary of his disappearance, Desiree revealed that investigators have narrowed the search down to an area of 100 acres, and urged anyone with information to come forward. The investigation remains open and active, with detectives saying they will not stop until Kyron is found.