Guest Blogger: Missing Child Kyron Horman

The content of the following post on missing child Kyron Horman is the opinion of today's guest blogger, Crime Buff, based on his personal and professional experience.  

Case Summary:


Seven-year-old Kyron Horman was last seen in the early morning hours on June 4, 2010 at a science fair at Skyline Elementary School in Portland, Oregon.   He was reported missing that afternoon when he did not return home from the school.  Authorities have reportedly administered two polygraph examinations on Kyron's stepmother, Terri Horman.    

A comprehensive list of stories and court documents related to the case are listed here. 

And now Crime Buff...
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I am a licensed private investigator with 23 years of experience in civil litigation. I have answered several questions about Kyron’s case based on my experience and accounts published on the internet.

Who is responsible for Kyron’s disappearance?

There are three possibilities: 1. Terri Horman alone is responsible for Kyron’s disappearance. 2. Terri Horman is responsible for Kyron’s disappearance, and had the assistance of a third party. 3. Some third party is responsible, acting alone or with other third parties.

Will Kyron Horman be found alive?

No. The probability of finding Kyron alive after more than 30 days is exceedingly low.

Is Terri Horman a suspect in Kyron Horman’s disappearance?

Yes. In such an investigation, detectives must first rule out certain individuals who history indicates are most often culprits. The first group is the missing person’s immediate family. The next group is the people who were last seen in the company of the victim. Terri must be examined closely because she is part of the victim’s immediate family, and she was the last person seen with the victim. Until she is ruled out as a suspect, she will remain a focus of the investigation – rightly or wrongly.

Do the police have probable cause to arrest Terri Horman for Kyron Horman’s disappearance?

Not likely. If the police had probable cause to arrest her they most likely would have done so within the first few weeks of the investigation, in order to attempt to secure an incriminating statement or confession within the context of a custodial interrogation. Because of the dearth of independent evidence, this would have been their best opportunity to establish her involvement in Kyron’s disappearance.

Would a grand jury indict Terri Horman for kidnapping or murder?

Yes. A grand jury would indict a ham sandwich.

Would a jury convict Terri Horman of kidnapping or murder?

Yes. A Multnomah County jury would jury convict Terri Horman of kidnapping or murder or terrorism or any number of other offenses.

What’s the big hold up then?

The biggest problem at the moment – based on information available to the public – is that there is no direct evidence that Terri Horman carried out any criminal act. Moreover there is no impressive circumstantial evidence that she did anything illegal.

What about the cell phone pings on Sauvie Island and the failed polygraph tests?

The pings on Sauvie Island are circumstantial evidence that she was on the island. This would be relevant if the victim’s body (or other evidence of a crime) were found on the island. No such evidence was ever identified despite numerous searches. Accordingly the pings are irrelevant to the case at this time. The polygraph examinations are unreliable, inadmissible, and insufficient to establish guilt in a legal sense.

Could she actually be responsible for Kyron’s disappearance, and yet leave absolutely no evidence with which to convict her?

Yes. It’s possible. Remember CSI was her favorite show; she might have spent months cooking up a scheme that left no trail.

If she’s actually responsible what should she be doing right now?

If she’s actually responsible, the best thing for her to do is to hire the best criminal defense attorney she can afford, keep her mouth shut, and stay inside her house.

If she’s actually innocent what should she be doing right now?

At this point, if she is actually innocent, the best thing for her to do is to hire the best criminal defense attorney she can afford, keep her mouth shut, and stay inside her house.

If she had assistance in causing Kyron’s disappearance, who would help her do such a thing?

Her 16-year-old biological son, from a previous marriage. She seems skilled at manipulating other people to achieve her own objectives. Children crave their mother’s love and approval. They are particularly susceptible to manipulation. If she had help, the person most likely to help her would be her 16-year-old biological son.

Is it possible that she is not involved?

Yes. Kyron may have been the victim of foul play at the hands of an unrelated person. The school was open to the general community on the day of his disappearance. It is entirely possible that he was kidnapped from the school, or he was victimized on the school grounds, and his body removed thereafter.

Who would have the confidence to do such an act?

Someone who knew the school and grounds well, possibly a former employee, a family member of a past or present school employee, or a sibling of one of the students.

If you were on a jury, would you vote to convict Terri Horman, based on her bizarre behavior and the circumstances described in the press accounts and on the internet?

No. Although we have all concluded in our hearts that she is most likely responsible, the available facts are simply insufficient. It is a basic principle of American jurisprudence that it is better to let ten guilty people walk free, than to convict one innocent person.
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Thanks again to Crime Buff for his analysis on this sad disappearance. 

*The photo was used from here.

24 comments:

Eternally Distracted said...

I had not heard of the disappearence or the circumstances surrounding it... I hope, for the sake of the little boy that the truth outs soon.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk and Crime Buff,
Thank you for such an informative FAQ concerning Kyron Horman. It's like a primer for many other cases.

It does seem that the family behavior especially of the mother is odd. I would not leave out the rest of the family either. Sometimes the one who acts out is not the guilty party, but the indicator that things are out of whack. On the other hand . . . .

Thanks for a thought-provoking post!

Ann T.

Angelia Sims said...

Interesting facts on this case. I know most times it is more likely someone close to the little boy
Still....it's sad. I can't imagine hurting a child. I wish they would find him alive, but as mentioned here, not likely.

Thanks for the info. Will be hoping for closure soon.

malia said...

Poor little guy-- even though the odds aren't good I hope he's found alive soon

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

I like your style of writing, Crime Buff. Thanks for informing us about this case.

ooglebloops said...

Been following this on the news - and when I first heard it, my gut feeling was it was most likely the stepmom. Now everything seems to indicate that in the media. But, since one can't always believe the media reports.....seems unlikely, at this point, that he will be found alive, but one can always hope for a happy resolution.

Linz said...

oh gosh...no... just breaks my heart. i hope they find him alive...

obladi oblada said...

Well...that was informative. I have had an uneasy feeling about the bio son...but I never thought about him being in cahoots with her..interesting. So was Kyron wearing the CSI shirt (if Terri did it) a way of taunting police and the public? Im thinking so....

BobKat said...

Crime Buff...
Hello and Thank-you!

I've been following events in Kyron's disappearance... I have experience in such matters.

Your expertise is quite valuable... probably frustrating to you that all you have to go on is the same information I glean from the WWW.

Building on what you've said, is it possible we have a neurotic, at best, family here... their concern is Kyron, but we have a "domestic situation"?

That was 1)

2) While a student is on school grounds for a school function it is my experience both as a long-time school employee, and my understanding of school protocols, that young Kyron would have checked in that morning, and after that, I question the the involvement of school staff responsible for student safety? Further, it sounds like he then was suppose to go to classes, to then be let out of school to go home on the school-bus.

So my BIG question? what sort of school security was there, what attendance policy was in place, what passes needed to be aquired to move about and what protocol was in place as to school policy on release to this person, was in place. Did Terri Horman have "pick-up" authorization at the school?

To be honest? I'm more inclined to think it wasn't his family... The reason I say that is not that I disagree with your opinion, it's the longer the case focuses on the family, the more time a stranger abduction fades away.

Anonymous said...

why was not amber alert issued for kyron and could it have made a difference?

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

Here is the link to the Facebook site for Kyron: http://www.causes.com/causes/494023?m=d15dc4d4&recruiter_id=56380734

Linz said...

Thank you for your comment! It was supposed to be a 3-verse poem...but the idea of being changed by kindness just ran away with me...

J. J. in Phila said...

Outstanding blog. It explains, in layman's terms, the weighting of evidence.

Sue said...

I hope he is found.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the comments all.

@ Anonymous: I'll have to research that about the amber alert.

@ BobKat: On the school security question--it is a good one and certainly relevant.

From reading the reports, I got the impression that they were lax on visitor sign-in and other security protocols that day due to the number of family members in the building for the science fair. Since the focus of the investigation has been one family member being involved in the disappearance, the school has gotten a free pass thus far.

If the investigative direction changes, the criticism of school officials will be fierce.

On your first question--I am not sure if I understand it. If you mean that Kyron's family was an active domestic disturbance then there are reports that support that assertion. The step-mothers alleged hiring of the hitman, alleged affair, and alleged marital probs with her husband all have been made public.

BobKat said...

RE: my first question... I understand there was alleged proof given to Mr. Horman that his ex-wife had a contract out on him. And likely she screwed around... seems many do. But what evidence is there that she was or would target young Kyron... what do we know about their relationship. Could it not be a way for the father or new wife to transfer guilt? Or maybe, they all simply don't get along. The question is... where does Kyron fit? Could this accusation against Terri not be a domestic issue, having nothing to do with Kyron's disappearance?

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imbeingheldhostage said...

I'm going to go get my kids before they even get off the bus and give them a big hug. So sad.

Candice said...

Sounds like he is right on.

Until there is a body, let's hope!!!

Slamdunk said...

@ Anonymous: Charisse Van Horn provides an excellent response to your question about why an Amber Alert was not issued.

In sum, the three general factors that have to be present to issue an alert (there must be evidence an abduction occurred, a description of the vehicle used in the abduction must be present, and there must be a description of the suspect) were not present at the time.

Miss Caitlin S. said...

Hey thanks for writing on this- must have been a busy day that I missed! I enjoyed the insight though felt very sad when he said that he wouldn't be found alive. I have always heard that most victims are dead within the first 2 hours but I still held out hope. This case is so odd to me because I live right here and it's Kyron everywhere. I've been to the wall and I've grown a grotesque hatred for Terri Hormon. So sad. I am still hoping for this cute little boy.

Anonymous said...

I just saw this user comment from another blog (primewriter.com), and found it interesting:

Dick Tracy @ July 28th, 2010 11:38 PM

Here’s better theory: Terri Horman has been in a power struggle with Desiree since before Kyron was born. Terri is a competitive woman. Look at her body-building history. She had an affair with Kaine knowing Desiree was very pregnant. No woman of honor fishes in another woman’s pond when the wife is pregnant. She won! She got Kaine away from Desiree. When Desiree became ill with kidney disease, Terri got Kyron away from Desiree, five years ago. The prize was never Kyron, but the power Terri gained over Desiree. Terri has to be on top.

Look at the facts:

1.) Desiree and her husband said Kyron wanted to move to their home.
2.) It was the last day of school. Thus, a chance for Desiree to have Kyron for a longer period during the summer vacation.
3.) Kyron was to be driven to Desiree’s home by Terri.
4.) Terri lost her looks, while Desiree is beautiful, healthy-looking, and keeps herself up.
5.) Desiree has the better-looking husband, who has the sexier job: police detective vs. geeky engineer. For a little boy, having a cop for a dad would be cooler than having an engineer.
5.) Terri “lost” her older son, because the older son didn’t get along in the family, which would be a humiliating loss for Terri.
6.) Kyron looks like a geeky little boy, and everytime Terri looked at him, she saw her Kaine, in all his annoying geekiness.

It was “the perfect storm” of psychological torment to Terri to have Desiree “win” by having Kyron choose Desiree over Terri. If Kyron stayed with Desiree, it would mean loss of face for Terri, loss of some income (Kaine would have to pay support), and a “win” to Desiree in the power struggle between these two women. Terri could not let that happen.

Terri likely drugged Kyron with prescription drugs. All that driving around…was to let the drugs have effect. Terri is the kind of woman who takes pride in planning, down to the last detail. Terri was plotting the perfect crime.

What tripped her up? Her arrogance. The minute I saw Kyron in a CSI t-shirt, I knew it was a bad day for that little child.

I would investigate Terri’s public library usage. And, the cable bill. Do a Google search for “body disposal” + “methods,” and cross reference it with “crime drama,” and you will likely find an answer. Kyron’s remains are probably within 1/8 mile of a secondary road, not in a State Park, but on private property. Terri wouldn’t have left her baby in the carseat for more than ten minutes.

Anonymous said...

we pray that kyron gets the justice he deserves,hold him tight and keep him safe in jesus"s name amen.!

Anonymous said...

My name is Cinderella and I have not forgotten about precious Kyron! Never will. Still hoping~~