PORTLAND Authorities Wednesday began pulling in support from law enforcement across the entire state in the ongoing search for seven-year-old Kyron Horman.
Capt. Jason Gates, the lead investigator, said he was implementing a statewide search & rescue plan which will include several hundred search-and-rescue teams from 36 counties in Oregon staged in a tent city near the search area.
Also during the noon press conference, Lt. Mike Shults, the Multnomah County Sheriff s Department liaison for the Horman family, read a statement on behalf of the family.
Kyron s family would like to thank everyone for their support and interest in finding their son. The outpouring of support and continued effort strengthens their hope, Shults said. There are a lot of resources out there to help. Please don t stop.
Shults added that the family has been in great pain since Kyron s disappearance and said the reason why they have not granted interviews is because they want all the attention focused on Kyron alone, until he is home safe.
FBI brings in reinforcements
Also Wednesday, the FBI added a mobile command center to the search effort Wednesday, with hopes that it will help searchers. Meantime, the search crews themselves are doing everything they can to stay focused and positive.
It's always frustrating when we're not finding anything, especially when we have such high hopes. But we're going to keep on until something happens, one searcher told KGW.
Gates would not answer any questions specific to the investigation or the search on Wednesday, except to say that it was logistically and emotionally overwhelming.
Above all do not give up hope, as we certainly never will, Ramirez said. He is out there and we are going to find him and bring him home safe where he belongs.
More than 1,200 tips received
In a Monday afternoon news conference, Capt. Jason Gates said police had received more than 1,200 tips and were following up on hundreds of leads pouring into a special tipline.
TIP LINE: (503) 261-2847
Those leads involved information being sent to state and federal law enforcement agencies from across Oregon and in parts of Washington.
Kyron, we re going to get you home buddy, Gates promised earlier, his voice cracking and his eyes tearing up. Nothing is more important to your family, your friends and to us.
Noteworthy in the afternoon press conference was the information Gates would not share. The Captain said investigators were not ready to release information about who saw Kyron last, or whether he attended his first class.
Boy missing since Friday
Kyron Horman and his step-mother, Terri Moulton Horman, arrived at Skyline Elementary School around 8 a.m. Friday and attended a science fair at the school. Around 8:45 a.m. Terri said goodbye to Kyron and watched the second-grader walk down the hallway toward his classroom. Police say that the last time the boy was seen was about 9 a.m.
At 3:45 p.m., when the school bus arrived at Kyron's stop without him on board, his step-mom called the school. She was told he was marked absent by his teacher. She called 9-1-1 just before 4 p.m. and the search effort was launched.
Portland schools sent an automated message to parents in the school district that the boy was missing. Meanwhile, police walked the school grounds with K-9 tracking teams, searched every room and closet inside the school and even checked the roof.
FBI and police coordinating search effort
The search quickly snowballed as word of the little boy s disappearance spread among the small school s community in Northwest Portland. Police said the search area was spread across 20 miles of roadway and two square miles of land. Officers also handed out fliers and questioned drivers and area residents Monday.
By Monday, the search included 22 law enforcement agencies, according to Capt. Gates.
Investigators were trying to interview all the families of some 300 Skyline students. Gates said parents had been very cooperative.
Capt. Gates said 1,200 tips had been received by Monday, and characterized some as viable leads , but pleaded with people to call with more tips. Every tip, no matter how insignificant, is important to us, he said.
Sheriff Dan Staton said late Sunday night that he was not prepared to call the boy's disappearance a kidnapping. He described Kyron as a missing endangered child because more than two days had elapsed since he disappeared and because search efforts were hampered by rainy weather.
We have developed a lot of information which has to be processed thoroughly, and I am not in a position to divulge any specifics of our investigative plan at this time, Staton said in a statement.
Police indicated their search was not limited to the area around the school but they would not specify where else they were searching.
An FBI profiler was studying everything from Kyron s schoolwork to his friends, to try and determine where the little boy might be. Two local criminal experts told KGW that if Kyron was kidnapped, he believes all the clues point to someone who knew the boy, not a stranger.
Investigators on Sunday interviewed parents of other students at the school, trying to come up with even the smallest clues about what could have happened. The parents and Kyron s fellow students came to the school voluntarily on a staggered basis to interview with detectives. Authorities were also reviewing photos and videos taken during the school's Friday morning science fair, where several people reported seeing Kyron.
Kyron described as a really good kid
Parent Gina Zimmerman said she last saw Kyron in the morning, when he posed in a classroom in front of his red-eyed tree frog science project. She said her daughter is one of Kyron s best friends and she knew him well.
Zimmerman said that Kyron was not the type of child to wander off. He knows 'stranger danger, she said. He's a really good kid.
Parents were shocked at the disappearance, she said, and have been calling to share concerns at our little school where everyone knows everybody.
To try and quell those fears, security was increased at the school Monday. Counselors were also on hand to talk to distraught students and staff members. In addition, the district began mandating the use of an automated attendance call system to notify families of any unexcused absences.
No Amber Alert issued
Some parents wanted to know why an Amber Alert wasn t issued. Sheriff Gates said that tool works only when citizens can be offered descriptions of specific suspects or vehicles, which was not the case in this situation.
Parents were urged to talk to their children about stranger danger and explain what to do if they were in Kyron s situation.
Meantime, Kyron s family was doing the best they could to cooperate with police and talk with searchers under traumatic circumstances, Capt. Gates said. The birth mother came to Portland after her son was reported missing and all the parents have been in constant contact with detectives, he said.
Anyone who has seen Kyron or knows of his whereabouts was asked to call (503) 261-2847.