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The Strange Disappearance of Kyron Horman: Vanished from School

Kyron standing in front of his science project exhibit on the day he went missing.

Kyron standing in front of his science project exhibit on the day he went missing.

Kyron Richard Horman

Kyron Richard Horman was born on September 9, 2002, in Portland, Oregon, to parents Kaine and Desiree. The couple divorced before Kyron was born and he spent the first two years of his life living with his mother.

Desiree was struggling with health problems and decided to seek treatment in Canada, so Kyron went to live with his father. Knowing that Kaine, an engineer for Intel, was very busy, Desiree contacted her longtime friend Terri and asked her to move into the Horman home and become a full-time caretaker for Kyron. Terri agreed.

Kaine and Terri already knew each other well. The pair had an affair while Kaine and Desiree were still married, but had since broken things off. However, when Terri moved in with them, she and Kaine rekindled their romance and eventually got married in 2007.

Terri already had one son of her own, James, from a previous marriage, and the following year she and Kaine welcomed their first child together into the world: a daughter named Kiara.

Kyron Horman was a bright and energetic seven-year-old, who loved the beach and who dreamed of becoming a police officer one day like his new stepfather, Tony Young. He excelled in school, being placed in an advanced math class, and showed a natural aptitude for learning sign language as well.

Though he was clearly an intelligent child, Kyron had been having trouble with his memory in the weeks leading up to his disappearance and was said to sometimes space out during conversations. According to Terri, his doctor believed he might be having “mini seizures” and scheduled an appointment for him on June 11, 2010.

Science Fair

June 4th, 2010, was science fair day at Skyline Elementary, Kyron’s school. Kyron, whose exhibit was about red-eyed tree frogs, was excited to go to school and show off his project that day. Terri brought him to school that morning. They left his backpack and coat in his classroom and then went to set up his exhibit. Multiple witnesses placed Kyron, Terri, and baby Kiara in the gym at just after 8 AM.

Because of the science fair, the school was open to everyone that day, and no one was required to sign in.

After looking around at the other science fair exhibits, Terri and baby Kiara left the school at around 8:45 AM. Classes were just about to start and Terri last saw Kyron walking down the hallway towards his math class. She called out to him before leaving and he waved goodbye.

Kyron Horman would never be seen or heard from again.

kyron-horman-vanished-from-school

Disappearance

Kaine arrived home from work at 2 PM that day. An hour and a half later, Kaine, Terri, and Kiara went down to the bus stop to wait for Kyron.

The bus arrived at its usual time, but Kyron did not get off. According to the bus driver, he didn’t get on the bus that day either.

Terri called the school immediately and learned that Kyron never showed up for class and had been marked absent. Possibly due to a miscommunication between Terri and Kyron’s teacher earlier that morning, the latter mistakenly believed that Kyron’s doctor’s appointment was for that day instead of for the following Friday, which is why she didn’t find it concerning when Kyron was no longer there when class started.

Once they all realized that Kyron was missing, the school secretary called 911 and a search ensued shortly thereafter.

The search for Kyron Horman, the largest in Oregon’s history, included over 1,300 searchers and spanned 10 days.

Despite these efforts, nothing was ever found. There were no signs of Kyron anywhere.

After this, Kyron's disappearance was officially considered a criminal investigation and no longer merely a missing persons case.

Terri, Kyron's stepmom.

Terri, Kyron's stepmom.

Terri's Timeline

According to Terri’s own account, here is a timeline of her actions on the day Kyron went missing:

  • 8 AM: Kyron, Terri, and Kiara arrive at Skyline Elementary.
  • 8:45 AM: Last sighting of Kyron, as he walked down the hallway to his math class. Terri and Kiara leave the school.
  • 9:00 AM: Terri arrives at a Fred Meyer store. She needed to pick up medication for Kiara, who had an ear infection. However, she accidentally went to the wrong Fred Meyer the first time.
  • 9:30 AM: Terri arrives at the second (and correct) Fred Meyer store and picks up Kiara’s medication.
  • Around 10 AM: Terri drops off her husband’s dry cleaning.
  • 10:10 AM: Terri stops at a Michael’s craft store.
  • 10:39 AM: Terri makes a phone call, but to whom she made the call is not publicly known.
  • 10:10 AM to 11:39 AM: Terri says that she was driving around because the smooth motion made her sick baby feel better.
  • 11:39 AM: Terri arrives at the gym and leaves Kiara at the onsite daycare center.
  • 12:20 PM: Terri and Kiara leave the gym.
  • 12:40 PM: They arrive home.
  • 1:21 PM: Terri uploads photos to her Facebook account, including the pictures of Kyron she had taken that day at the science fair.
  • 2:00 PM: Kaine arrives home from work. Terri is still on the computer.
  • 3:30 PM: The family heads to the bus stop to wait for Kyron.
Kyron's parents, Kaine Horman and Desiree Young.

Kyron's parents, Kaine Horman and Desiree Young.

Investigation

Shortly into the investigation, the police started to suspect Terri of being involved in her stepson’s disappearance.

Out of all four adults, Kyron’s parents and his step-parents, Terri was the only one to fail a polygraph exam, not once but twice.

A look at Terri’s emails revealed that she did not like Kyron and even blamed him for her marital troubles. She also allegedly resented the fact that Kaine had made her son move out months earlier, due to the fact that Kaine and James did not get along.

Additionally, just a couple of days after Kyron disappeared, Terri was quoted as telling Desiree: “I loved your son.” Some have found this wording to be telling, as Terri was already speaking of Kyron in the past tense, while the rest of his family was still hopeful that he would be found alive and well.

Was this just an unfortunate slip of the tongue? Or a sign that she was already aware of his fate?

Desiree, for her part, strongly believes that Terri is guilty.

Kaine also believes this, stating that Terri appeared to suffer from postpartum depression and a personality disorder, in addition to having a problem with alcohol. He later divorced her and filed a restraining order against her.

Some suspected that Terri’s best friend, DeDe Spicher, may have been involved as well, especially since she had roughly three hours of time that she refused to account for on the day that Kyron went missing, which happened to overlap with when Terri was supposedly driving her baby around.

It was later learned that DeDe was working at a local nursery that day, but since she was also collecting unemployment checks at the time, she didn’t want to admit to what would amount to unemployment fraud.

DeDe has since claimed that she has been “unofficially cleared” of any suspicion in this case.

In 2020, Rebecca Morris, author of Boy Missing: The Search for Kyron Horman, revealed that multiple witnesses reportedly spotted Kyron leaving the school with his stepmother on the morning of June 4th.

These eyewitnesses include Kyron’s bus driver, a classmate, and two family members of the classmate’s.

Despite all of this, Terri has always maintained her innocence of any involvement in Kyron’s disappearance. She said her own belief is that Kyron was abducted from the school, pointing out that there were known pedophiles living in the area at the time.

Hitman Plot

Three weeks after Kyron went missing, Kaine was informed by police officers that an undercover operation was underway at his home.

The reason for this: a landscaper for the Hormans had come forward to say that Terri had attempted to hire him to murder her husband, whom she claimed was abusive towards her.

Allegedly, Terri told Rodolfo “Rudy” Sanchez-Estrada that Kaine often carried large amounts of cash with him and suggested that Rudy make Kaine’s murder look like a mugging and that he was welcome to keep whatever money he found for his efforts.

An undercover agent tried to get Terri to incriminate herself; perhaps realizing what was going on, she did not. No charges were filed.

Many have questioned the veracity of Rudy’s story, however, pointing out that it would have been difficult for the pair to even communicate with one another, given the fact that Terri could neither speak Spanish, nor could Rudy speak English.

Though if the story is true, this may not have been the first time that Terri had attempted such a thing.

Sean Rea, an ex-boyfriend of Terri's, came forward to say that he believed that she had hired a hitman to kill him back in 1990. On the day in question, the two were having lunch in the park when they were approached by a man holding a gun.

Terri supposedly got up and shouted to Sean: “He’s here for you!” But the man, perhaps losing his nerve, did not fire and instead ran away.

Sean broke up with Terri following this incident and moved away soon thereafter.

kyron-horman-vanished-from-school

Current State of the Investigation

In the years following Kyron’s disappearance, Terri has been in trouble with the law again, both for driving a stolen car and for stealing a gun from her roommate.

She was also accused of domestic violence in 2016 by her then partner, Joseph Cristobal.

Still, no concrete evidence linking Terri, or anyone else, to Kyron's disappearance has ever been found.

No further developments have been announced in Kyron’s case, though his family has not given up hope that he might still be out there somewhere.

On what would have been Kyron’s 20th birthday on September 9, 2022, his family hosted a car wash. All proceeds went towards the continued efforts to locate Kyron.

Kyron Richard Horman has now been missing for 12 years.

Sources

"Kyron Horman," Michael Whelan, Unresolved, March 15, 2020

"Disappearance of Kyron Horman," Wikipedia

"The Mystery of Kyron Horman," That Chapter, YouTube, August 11, 2020