The red-eyed tree frog is known for being a little shy. Their tiny green bodies are easily camouflaged by their surroundings, melting into the background of the bright emerald leaves that dominate the forests of central America.
It’s only when they feel comfortable that they’ll untuck their back legs and reveal the flash of cobalt blue that marks their sides. And, when they feel threatened, their bulging red eyes might give predators pause, giving the frog a chance to flee.
If only 7 year old Kyron Horman was a little more like the tiny amphibians that fascinated him so much.
The sandy-haired second grader was also known for being a little on the shy side, but around his friends and family he was quick to flash his wide smile, showing off the large front teeth that were still working their way into place.
On the morning of June 4, 2010, Kryon was getting ready for the Science Fair at Portland’s Skyline Elementary School. He wore his black CSI T-shirt, the images of crime scene analysis both fitting for the event of the day and an ominous suggestion of what was to come.
Kyron’s baby sister, Kiara, was buckled into her car seat as he hopped into his dad’s white pickup, his step-mother Terri behind the wheel.
Terri had been a part of Kyron’s life for most of his seven short years, and she had always taken pride in doing everything a good mother should. On this day, that included chaperoning young Kyron at the Science Fair as he presented his research on the red-eyed tree frog.
The president of the PTA would later recall seeing Terri and Kyron in his classroom at 8:45. Terri was taking a picture of the smiling Kyron, as he posed in front of the vividly colored tri-fold and shoe-box diorama that made up his exhibit.
Kyron’s step mother had become pretty recognizable to many of the teachers and families at Skyline. Her bright red hair would often be seen on campus as she volunteered in the classroom.
But, no one seems to remember seeing that shock of red hair at the top of the stairs as Terri waved a final goodbye to Kyron, before leaving to run some errands.
At 10 o’clock the Science Fair was over, and it was time to go back to the usual business of the day. For Kyron that meant math class. But, when his teacher took attendance, Kyron’s chair was empty.
His teacher didn’t think anything of it. Hadn’t Terri mentioned that Kyron had a doctor’s appointment that day? She noted the absence, but was sure it wasn’t a big deal. Not worth calling his parents and interrupting what was likely a busy day at work for them both.
Kyron’s father, Kaine, was an engineer at Intel. His mother, Desiree, was in Medford, over 200 miles away.
It wasn’t until six hours later, when Kyron failed to get off the bus that afternoon, that it became clear something was very, very wrong.
Hundreds of searchers would comb the area around the school all night long and for days afterward. They didn’t see any sign of Kyron. But, investigators did start to notice something was off about Terri. The timeline she gave them for that day kept shifting, and there were several hours that she couldn’t account for at all.
The days stretched into weeks. The search intensified. Still no sign of Kyron. But, suspicion was growing that maybe Terri wasn’t such a perfect mother after all.
And then, a month after Kyron’s disappearance, a shocking request from Kaine. He said Desiree needed to meet with him in secret because Terry was trying to have him killed.
With a mounting desperation to find Kyron and fears that her older son could be next, Desiree took her plea to the public, begging for information that could lead them to her little boy.
Thousands of tips have come in and dozens of searches have been conducted, but after more than 10 years that burning question remains unanswered: What happened to Kyron Horman?
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