FBI steps up role in search for missing Oregon boy

AP News
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Posted: Feb 24, 2011 8:17 PM
FBI steps up role in search for missing Oregon boy

A half dozen FBI agents will join Oregon investigators trying to wrap up the case of Kyron Horman, a Portland boy who vanished last spring at age 7.

The agents, stationed in Portland, will help a local task force that has been working with FBI profilers from Quantico, Va., on a case now in its ninth month, at a cost of $1.4 million, that hasn't turned up a trace of the second-grader last seen heading for class.

The profilers came from the agency's Behavioral Analysis Unit _ the inspiration for the TV show "Criminal Minds."

They have twice been in Oregon to help with the case, once right after Kyron was reported missing and again late last month for several days, said Beth Anne Steele, a bureau spokeswoman.

Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton described the FBI help on Thursday as he gave county commissioners a briefing on the investigation.

Staton and the FBI say the Portland agents will follow up on recommendations the profilers made for an investigation whose focus has been on the boy's stepmother, Terri Moulton Horman. She hasn't been charged or named as a suspect.

She told investigators she last saw Kyron after a science fair at the school, heading for class at about 8:45 a.m. on June 4. The alarm was raised that afternoon when he wasn't on the bus home.

Late in January, investigators said they had specific information that led them to dispatch volunteer search and rescue teams with cadaver-detecting dogs to wooded areas near the school and the boy's home.

But they reported finding nothing to help their case.

Last year, teams searched near the school and later explored nearby Sauvie Island and channels close to the mouth of the Willamette River.

Staton said the task force is moving ahead and the case will be reassessed in June if it hasn't been closed.

Investigators are increasingly using language that suggests they're making sure there are no loose ends for defense attorneys to exploit in a trial.

"At some point there will be a worthy adversary trying to pick apart the investigation," Rod Underhill, chief deputy district attorney, told the commissioners after one asked whether the probe was "on the right track."

Staton used similar language in an interview with The Oregonian newspaper: "Anything that we neglect to look into are potentials in a prosecution as something that you can poke a hole through. So we can't be remiss in looking at all the leads."

One of Staton's top aides, Capt. Jason Gates, told reporters Thursday that investigators hope to bring things to an end "either by solving the case or coming to a semi-conclusion by having done all that we can do."

Investigators haven't been specific about what they believe happened to the boy.

Last year, Staton said he had no evidence that Kyron was not alive. He declined Thursday to repeat that.

"The sheriff nor investigators will speak about specifics of the investigation," said a spokeswoman, Lt. Mary Lindstrand, in an e-mail reply to an AP question.

Before Kyron vanished, he was living with his father, Kaine Horman, and his stepmother, from whom Kaine is now seeking a divorce.

Kyron's eighth birthday was Sept. 9.

The failure of the January search distressed the boy's mother, Desiree Young, who was divorced from Kaine Horman in 2003 and later married a Medford police officer.

Earlier this month, Young went to Roseburg, where Terri has been reported living in her parents' home, to circulate fliers urging the public to question Terri about where the boy is.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com