The Strange Case of Kyron Horman

I first took notice of the Kyron Horman case in Eyes for Lies´ blog, when she was commenting one June 11 about the first press conferences on this little boy´s disappearance and the odd behaviour and body-language of the step-mother, Terri Horman.

http://blog.eyesforlies.com/2010/06/kyron-hormans-parents-acting-odd.html

At this point, Kyron had been missing for a week. The 7 year old was last accounted on Friday morning for when Terri left him at his elementary school after having visited the school´s science fair. Later that day, his father, Kaine, Terri and little sister Kiara went to pick him up from the bus to go for an ice cream to celebrate/reward Kyron´s science fair project but he did not turn up. The family checked with the school, and it turned out that Kyron had left before classes started to take another look at “the cool electric project” and had not been seen since. They called Kyron´s biological mother, Desiree, with whom Kyron was supposed to spend the upcoming weekend. He was not with her, either.

At this point, as tragic as it is, it was basically just another disappearance.

Soon, observers noticed some odd behaviour especially in the case of Terri, who continued posting on her facebook account in a nonchalant way about “hitting the gym” as if nothing had happened. Eyes for Lied noted her unusual body language during the first press conference.

“As the interview progresses, look at the way that Terri buries her head into Desiree shoulder in the middle of Tony Young (the stepfather’s) speech. It’s as if she’s almost wanting to hide or recluse when Tony speaks. You know when little kids get embarrassed, they do this behavior. Why does Terri want to hide? It’s very notable.

When I look at Terri to discern her personality, I question if she is super shy, but I don’t get a feeling she is. We know for a fact that she helps out at Kyron’s school, which confirms she is not the reclusive type. Furthermore, when she walked out of the gym this week and avoided the media, her body language did not support she was a shy, reclusive run-away type of a woman. So what is causing her to want to recluse here? It’s intense. Terri appears very needy, too, as she keeps gravitating to everyone around her.

At one point, it even looks like Terri she can’t cope anymore. Her body language conveys the message of “I can’t take it anymore” (around 1:22). She lifts her hand towards her chest. Watch her react when Tony says, “…the community as a whole has shown how much impact one little boy’s smile can have on a community.”

Also at the very beginning of the tape when Tony starts speaking, Terri turns her head away from Tony sharply–as if to get away from what he is saying.

Watch how Terri looks up at Desiree while she has her arms around Desiree– right before Kaine speaks. Its very odd. It’s like she is hanging on Desiree for support and approval. Its like she is trying to comfort herself here instead of Desiree. Isn’t that odd? Notice how Desiree doesn’t reciprocate the embrace?

When Kaine starts speaking, watch Terri rub her arm –a gesture to comfort herself. She does this a couple of times. Terri also takes deep breaths and is doing all she can just to stand there. Her arms are pressed tight on her body in a very closed off manner.

Both Terri and Kaine are exceptionally nervous. Watch Kaine’s hands tremble as he holds the paper from which he reads. Why on earth would they be nervous? I could understand talking to the media will make anyone nervous, but the nervousness that both Terri and Kaine are feeling far exceeds what everyone else in this press conference are displaying. That is notable. Kaine may be picking up on Terri’s nerves. That is possible.

At this point, all signs are pointing that fact that Terri likely knows something, maybe even Kaine, that they are not sharing… They have definitely raised my eyebrows… I wish I could ask them direct questions. That would give me an immediate answer. I am highly suspicious of Terri right now, that is for sure.”

http://blog.eyesforlies.com/2010/06/kyron-hormans-father-speaks-out.html

A week later, while police were still adamant about Terri not being a suspect/POI, it was obvious that they were taking a close look at her. Flyers were handed out to every family who had a child at Kyron´s school asking whether the boy, his step-mom and her truck had been seen that day. It also transpired that Terri´s cell phone pings apparently did not match her accounts of where she had been after dropping Kyron off at school that morning.

Both Kyron´s parents and their spouses had taken a polygraph test soon after his disappearance, and it seems that Terri was the only one who had to take a second one (and, as it transpired later, had walked out on a third one). From the reports about this case, it seems that she had been evasise about certain questions about her “lifestyle”. Rumors and speculations were circulating about what that could mean and the Hormans – or Terri at least – were said to be connected with Portland´s swinger scene.

Around that time, it was briefly reported – but quickly taken down and disclaimed – that Kyron´s body had been found by divers on nearby Sauvie island (where  Terri´s cell phone was said to have been traced).

Until that time, everything seemed a regular missing person case. The parents and step-parents presented a united front, asking for help and cooperating with LE to get their boy back.

And then, things started getting crazy.

One June 17, Kaine Horman´s brother was sentenced and incarcerated for child molestation. As blinkoncrime.com reports, he had been arrested in January 2009, and although his trial was delayed due to several continuances, there appears to be multiple arrests on his record, some of which are unaccessible to the public.

Speaking of January, around this time, Terri Horman´s son from her first marriage – James – who had been living with the Hormans for the past 5 years, moved in with his grandparents and is now living with his biological father. It seems the teenager didn´t get along with Kaine any more.

And then, it was reported in the media on Monday, June 28, that Kaine Horman had taken the baby, Kiara, moved out of the mutual residence and not only filed for divorce but also asked for a restraining order preventing Terri to come close to him as well as the children involved. Terri, at that point, claimed this was merely a rumor and everything was fine. That same day, however, Kaine, his ex-wife Desiree and her husband, Tony, released and official statement in which they distanced themselves from Terri. The restraining order was sealed by the court (and later unsealed again) because it contained information pertaining to the ongoing investigation in Kyron´s disappearance.

Two days later, Terri Horman had retained a lawyer. Not a family lawyer, as could be expected in the face of the divorce and custody battle, but a criminal lawyer; a renowned defense attorney.

It transpired that some time the week before, Kaine Horman was informed by LE that his wife had not only hired a landscape gardener without his knowledge, and had either had or promised the man an affair with him – she had also tried to hire him to murder her husband.

On the Saturday that Kaine moved out, two 911 calls were made from the Horman residence. It seems that Kaine had been absent all day to allow LE to have the landscaper and an undercover LE agent confront Terri and try to get her to reveal something which would allow for an arrest. The sting failed, however, when Terri simply called 911 on the agents. Police was now forced to inform Terri that she is a suspect (which explains her hiring the defense attorney a few days later). The second 911 call, described as “custody matters, resolved over the phone” must have been when she realized that Kaine would not come back and had taken Kiara, and LE probably told her that he had done so on their advice.

By the end of that week, Kaine, Desiree and Tony had given a strange press conference excluding two major local papers. They confirmed their belief that Kyron is still alive, implored Terri to cooperate with LE and announced their intention to hold regular press conferences from now on.

http://blog.eyesforlies.com/2010/07/horman-press-conference-strange.html

At the same time, the website “Bring Kyron Home”  that had been made by friends of the Hormans was taken down – among those friends was one Michael Cook, who was a regular visitor to the Hormans house after Kyron´s disappearance, bringing them groceries and stuff while they were besieged by the media. He kept visiting even after Kaine had moved out.

The restraining order was unsealed after one of the two papers initially excluded from the press conference (but later readmitted) ran the story about the murder for hire plot, and soon after, it transpired what was behind the two 911 calls. Kaine and Desiree now openly accused Terri of being involved with Kyron´s disappearance, lying and not really working with LE.

Kaine asked Terri to move out of their mutual house so Kyron would have his familiar environment to come home to. Terri did not dispute this, or the divorce and custody papers.

Kaine also petitioned to have Terri held in contempt of court because she had not only shown the sealed restraining order to Michael Cook in spite of not being allowed to do so. She had also allowed Cook to take pictures of the document with his cell phone, including Kaine´s and Kiara´s current address, which he then checked out on Google Maps. He had also shared information from the sealed RO with at least two (as yet unnamed) people.

Terri also had begun a sexual relationship with Michael Cook only a few days after Kaine had moved out. They had exchanged hundreds of sexual text messages,  as well as several photographs of Terri Horman “in various stages of undress and graphic sexual activity.” Cook says they did not sleep together, though.

It was also said that Terri’s “sexual overtures to Mr. Cook resemble those made to the man she attempted to hire to murder Kaine,” which supports the landscaper´s story.

In addition, a clerk at a gym frequented by the Horman’s said Terri came there on about June 28, before the restraining order was delivered to her, and asked when Kaine was there working out, with baby Kiara in the gym´s daycare centre, and to let her know the next time he appeared. The clerk told the manager what happened and the manager then contacted police.

http://www.kgw.com/home/Court-doc-Kaine-Terri-Horman-kyron-horman-contempt-sexting-98270654.html

All the while, Terri has refused to speak to the media, but comments have been left under several aliases on the sites of various newspapers reporting about the case which are generally suspected – and, in at least one case, have actually been confirmed – to be hers.

From some of these comments, if they are indeed hers, it transpires that Terri blamed and resented Kaine for not getting along with her son, James, eventually causing him to move out, while she felt that she had made both an effort and personal sacrifices to raise and get along with his son, Kyron. She also accuses him of having an affair and ridicules both LE for not solving the case yet, and Desiree for playing the worried mom now after not having been there for Kyron (i.e. not having him live with her) before. Overall, it fits into the picture.

One new revelation after the other, apart from the one that would be most important: Where is Kyron, and what has happened to him?

Update June 15:

While Terri apparently did not refuse to move out of the house, she has asked Kaine for money to do so through her attorney. Kaine’s attorney, Laura Rackner, said her client is not willing to hand over money to Terri.
“He would like some cooperation from her first,” she said. “He would like to know where his son is.”
Kaine Horman at this point states that although Terri had suffered from post partum depression after the birth of Kiara, and the marriage became difficult at that time, he had though things were fine again and had not been aware that it was actually that bad.

Desiree, Tony and Kaine now openly accuse Terri of being in some way responsible for Kyron´s disappearance.Desiree in particular no longer minces words. She openly accuses Terri of having a history of lying (in little things), of having planned the disappearance and states that she immediately had a bad gut feeling about her when getting the call from school. But at the same time, there seems to be a rift developing between her/Tony and Kaine.

And as for Michael Cook – there´s more to him than just a friendly neighborhood guy who wanted to help a former schoolmate and got sucked in, too:  Unrelated to Kyron´s disappearance, his ex-wife Shannon, who is now professionally trying to help women get out of “toxic relationships”,  had told the story of her marriage on her website, mentioning that her ex-husband drank excessively, used drugs, engaged in “multiple sexual encounters with friends, colleagues, clients, and strangers, hiding large sums of cash from me, and compulsively lying about all of it on a daily basis. …  Though I still lived there, my husband began bringing his current mistress home, even when my son was there asleep.” (taken down now, but quoted in the comments on the case on blinkoncrime.com).

Another new information is the confirmation that the landscaper – whose name is now given as Rudy – indeed knew Kyron. Phew. What next?

Update July 27:

LE has searched the area again, including Skyline Elementary school, but nothing of the outcome of these searches is known.

Terri Horman has left the mutual house and moved in with her parents for the time being. Her son James, who (as it turned out) was still living with his grandparents, has now moved to his biological father who lives nearby. As an agreement was found between both parties´ attorneys, the court hearings were canceled – it seems Terri goes to some length to avoid appearing in court and on official court record for the time being. To this day, Terri has made no attempt to legally fight the divorce and restraining order that keeps her from seeing Kiara that we know of.

Kaine´s attorney has now put in a motion for disclosure just where the six figure sum needed to retain a renowned criminal defense attorney like Houze comes from, and if it comes from marital funds, Kaine wants half of it to pay his own attorney.

One of the persons suspected to be Terri on the internet has claimed that the murder plot was a lie fabricated by the landscaper in retribution for a 911 call made in March that involved him. It seems the 911 call from the Horman house has been confirmed. On the other hand, according to LE, the avances made towards Michael Cook are “of the same kind as those made towards the landscaper” which lends credibility to his story, too.

While on the 22nd, LE still said that Terri “has cooperated and agreed to all requests so far from investigators”, only a day later, they issued a statement that Terri “has been cooperative at times, but at other times, she hasn´t.”  

And then, new players entered the scene: It was reported that LE had taken a closer look at, and increased pressure on, a small circle of friends surrounding Terri Horman. Condos were searched, third parties interviewed. Only one of these friends has been named so far: DeDe Spicher, a workout buddy of Terri´s, who had been doing gardening work in  the vicinity the morning Kyron disappeared. Around 11 am, she got a call on her cell phone and then disappeared until ca. 1pm, not being able to be reached by phone. Kaine, Desiree and Tony issued a statement saying that DeDe “has been providing Terri with support and advice that is not in the best interests of our son. Additional information provided shows that she is refusing to cooperate with law enforcement, she is also going as far as to suggest to others that may have information regarding Kyron’s disappearance, not to cooperate as well.”

As of today, a grand jury is in session. It is still not known exactly what they are deliberating about, whether they are hearing evidence concerning Kyron´s disappearance or the murder for hire plot, but DeDe has been subpoenaed to testify. According to blinkoncrime.com, an indictment against at least one person is to be expected. A press conference has been announced for 2pm PST.

Update May 16,2011:

It is now almost a year and Kyron still has not been found, nor has it been discovered what happened to him. 

Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton said in September 2010  there had been “significant movements” in the 15-week investigation and there was a more defined scope, allowing them to not be as broad in their efforts. Investigators can now concentrate on their current course to support a theory of what happened to the boy. When asked if people would be shocked to find out what they know, Staton took a long silence.

“I know I’m taking a long pause on that, I have to think through that answer. I think there are things that come out of this investigation that will surprise you, that you’ll think about later on when it’s over. We have a knowledge of things we don’t want to know about … of things we wish we didn’t know,” he added.

But even though he said he had seen no evidence that indicated Kyron was not alive, search teams were obviously (but unsuccessfully) looking for a body in early January.

In November, Desiree Young announced that e-mails and text messages expressing hatred for Kyron suggest the boy’s stepmother “could have hurt him in the worst possible way”. Before police shared the messages with her on Friday, Desiree would only say that she believed her ex-husband’s wife, Terri Horman, was withholding information about the disappearance. But now she is convinced more than ever that Terri Horman was involved and holds the key to solving the mystery. “It’s very clear from Terri’s horrible words that she had a severe hatred for Kyron. …  She blamed a lot of the marital problems between Kaine and herself on Kyron; it was a huge point of contention in their marriage. She had expressed in great detail her hatred of Kyron.”

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/40192620/ns/today-today_people/t/kyrons-biological-parents-have-harsh-words-stepmother/

I´ll keep this updated.

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