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UNSOLVED: The Disappearance of Kyron Horman

The investigation into the disappearance of one young boy brought several disturbing truths to the surface—but there have been no real leads as to his whereabouts to this day.

kyron horman
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  • Photo Credit: Alchetron

On the morning of June 4th, 2010, 7-year-old Kyron Horman attended a science fair at Skyline Elementary School with his stepmother, Terri Moulton. By 8:45 AM, Terri left as Kyron headed down the hall toward his first class. Kyron never made it to math, getting marked down as absent for the day. And the young boy was never seen or heard from again.

Kyron's home life was complicated. He was born in 2002 to parents Desiree Young and Kaine Horman, but the pair had divorced eight months into Desiree's pregnancy, citing irreconcilable differences. For two years the Desiree and Kaine maintained shared custody, but when Desiree was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2004, Kaine took over full custody. Desiree remained an active part of Kyron's life despite her medical struggles, and in 2007, Kyron's family grew bigger when his father married substitute teacher Terri Moulton. A year after that, Kyron had a new baby half sister, Kiara.

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According to the statements Terri made to the police, her morning after leaving Kyron at school consisted of running errands with Kiara. Until a little after 10 AM, Terri and her toddler made stops at two different grocery stores. The next hour and a half was allegedly spent driving around town, hoping to use the car's motion to soothe her daughter's earache. After another hour spent at the local gym, Terri arrived home around 1:20 PM to post pictures of Kyron at the science fair on social media.

As Terri and the school went about their day as usual, precious time was being wasted. It wasn't until Terri, Kaine, and Kiara walked to the bus stop to meet Kyron after school at 3:30 that anyone realized something was wrong. After the bus driver told the family Kyron never boarded, Terri called the school to ask about her stepson's whereabouts. The school secretary informed Terri that no one had been absent from school for the entirety of the day, and now understanding that the child was missing, the secretary placed a call to the police.

An extensive search effort was launched, focused in on a two-mile radius around Skyline Elementary. There was also a search focused on Sauvie Island, which sat six miles away. The reasons behind the search of this specific area—including an investigation of the Sauvie Island Bridge—were not disclosed by law enforcement.

By June 12th, roughly 300 trained researchers were scouring the wooded areas around the school. This effort would grow to be the largest search in Oregon history, spanning over ten days and including more than 1,300 searchers from Oregon, Washington, and California. A reward for any information pertaining to Kyron's whereabouts was posted for $25,000, before rising to $50,000 a month later. But it was all in vain.

Suspicion began to turn inward, and some shocking twists emerged. In the midst of the investigation into Kyron's disappearance, authorities allegedly approached Kaine Horman in late June with information regarding his wife. According to the deposition given by the Horman's landscaper, Rodolfo Sanchez, Terri had approached him with the offer of "a lot of money" to murder her husband. This alleged offer was proposed in January of that year, five months prior to the baffling disappearance of Kaine's young son. When Terri's attorney questioned her on these allegations, she denied any such conversation took place. Investigators set up Sanchez with an audio surveillance device to confront a confession out of Terri, but no evidence was obtained to make an arrest.

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Despite Terri avoiding any further ramifications from the authorities on this front, her home situation was hardly resolved. Kaine filed for a divorce on June 28th, obtaining a restraining order against her as well. The divorce was granted, and Terri was allowed only supervised visitation with her daughter.

Meanwhile, Terri underwent two separate polygraph examinations regarding the disappearance of Kyron. She failed them both. In July, a Multnomah County grand jury subpoenaed several of Terri's friends. Among them was DeDe Spicher, a woman Desiree and Kaine described as being a close confidant to Terri, who offered her advice and support that wasn't in Kyron's best interests. Law enforcement categorized Spicher as highly cooperative, even allowing a search of her property and enduring questioning that lasted three hours.

On the morning of Kyron's disappearance, Spicher was at work, gardening for a homeowner at their home in Northwest Portland. Around 11:30 AM, she abruptly abandoned her job, returning a full hour and a half later. She reportedly assisted Terri in purchasing an untraceable cell phone.

Desiree and Kaine were subpoenaed to testify in the grand jury hearing in August. Skyline Elementary's principal was also brought in to testify. At the end of November, the search for Kyron had racked up a cost of an estimated $1.4 million. County commissioners reported 4,256 tips offered for the case. But by December, the grand jury was still unable to provide an indictment with the evidence they'd yielded.

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  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Another piece of information rose to the surface in August. Law enforcement announced that two witnesses reported seeing a mysterious individual sitting inside Terri's truck outside the school the day Kyron disappeared. It was debated whether or not this second person actually existed, but if they were to be found, it could be crucial in understand what happened to Kyron.

On June 1st, 2012, Desiree Young filed a civil lawsuit against Terri, believing her to be responsible for the disappearance of her son. The lawsuit sought to prove that Terri had kidnapped him, and asked for $10 million in damages. Terri tried to delay the lawsuit that August, but a federal court judge denied the motion.

Spicher was deposed in the lawsuit in October of that year, but she refused to answer any of the 142 questions posed to her. The questions included inquiries into her whereabouts on the day of Kyron's disappearance, as well as the communications made between her and Terri that day. Spicher also refused to identify a photo of Kyron, and would not say whether she'd met him or even knew his father, Kaine.

Kaine was involved in a separate hearing that same year, and during his testimony he stated that the policed informed him they "have more probable cause to think Terri Horman was involved in Kyron's disappearance than they did two years ago." In July of 2013, Desiree dropped her lawsuit against Terri, so as not to interfere with the police investigation underway.

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In 2016, Terri appeared as a guest on Dr. Phil. On the show, she claimed that everyone from her husband to her attorneys advised her not to say a word about anything in the beginning of the search for Kyron. Now taking her chance to speak out, she denied any involvement in the boy's disappearance. She went on further to speculate about who she believed was the perpetrator, "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..."

It was reported in 2017 that a secret grand jury panel was still continuing to hear evidence in Kyron's disappearance. The grand jury had allegedly convened on multiple occasions. At the time, Kyron's case was described as being "active and ongoing." In July of that year, law enforcement conducted another round of searches along Skyline Boulevard, yielding no results.

Latest word on the case was in 2018, when Desiree posted on the official Find Kyron Horman Facebook page. She wrote, "Stay tuned, something big is coming, I promise you." However, no breaks have been made in the case.