Brief hopes that Kyron Horman had been found were shattered when it turned out a youngster seen in California was not the 7-year-old Portland, Oregon, boy who disappeared from school eight days ago.
Surveillance video from a Walmart store in Yreka, Calif., showed a young bespectacled boy just like Kyron, and there were at least two other reports Friday from the store of possible sightings of the missing boy.
But police investigating the reports found that the boy was the grandson of the older couple seen with him in the video.
Another possible sighting also turned out to be false, police said.
"I was contacted by a couple that had stayed at our local Motel 6 on Saturday, and they believed, after seeing Kyron's picture, that they saw a boy matching his description staying at the Motel 6 that night," Det. Steve Fahrney of the Yreka Police Department said.
The flurry of reports came after a psychic in Idaho said earlier in the week that Kyron would be found in Yreka. The psychic called a tip line in Sacramento, Calif., and his information was passed along to the Yreka police, Fahrney said.
Police responded by passing out flyers with a photo of Kyron and began receiving tips about possible sightings.
"We do have heightened concern," Fahrney said. "It's coincidental that we get basically these three tips in one week, so all of our officers are familiar with Kyron's picture."
Kyron disappeared the morning of June 4 following a school science fair. He was last seen by his stepmother, walking toward his classroom 150 feet away. But he never made it there.
He was last seen wearing a "CSI" T-shirt and black cargo pants.
Authories in the Portland area expanded their search today, as more support joined the effort from across the state.
The school is set on the edge of a deep woods, and today the search expanded beyond the two-mile radius that had been the focus for the first eight days.
Sgt. Diana Olsen, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office search and rescue coordinator, said at a news conference today that there were about 300 trained rescuers on the ground, about 100 more than were involved in the search during the week.
They were helped by a change in weather, as the sun broke through and temperatures climbed into the 80s after heavy, chilly rain throughout the week.
Police have said little about what they have learned in the days of desperate searching for Kyron, and today was no different, though Olsen said search teams feel they're making progress.
"We know where he's not," she said. "That means we're getting closer to where he is."
One day after Kyron's family issued its first public statement, the family responded to questions about the little boy's personality today, through Multnomah County Sheriff's Captain Mike Shults, the liaison between Kyron's family and law enforcement.
Red is his favorite color and he wants to be a police investigator when he grows up, the family said.
He has a cat, Bootsie, who follows him around his property and meets him at the bus. He likes art, frogs and Hot Wheels, has a belly laugh and has lots of friends, the family said.
On Friday, Kyron's family thanked the hundreds of people who have searched for the boy and sending a message of hope directly to him.
"We want to say how much we appreciate the outpouring of love and support as we wait for you," said the boy's stepfather, Tony Young. "Until you come home we are not a family."
"Please, Kyron," Young said, hoping to speak directly to the missing first-grader, "keep up the hope. We believe in you."
On Thursday, a National Guard helicopter and searchers on horses joined about 125 volunteers searching through rain-soaked brush and steep terrain around the Skyline Elementary School in Portland.
The boy's father appealed to the community for help in finding the boy.
"We as family know how difficult and stressful this is, but memories and statements can help find Kyron," Kaine Horman said at a news conference.
"Please help us bring Kyron home," he said.
Local, state and federal authorities have combed the area near the school. By the beginning of the week, more than two-thirds of the school's students, about 300 children in grades K-8, volunteered to be interviewed by police.
The strain of the search was evident on the faces of Kyron's parents and stepparents, all of whom attended today's press conference wearing matching "Missing" T-shirts with pictures of Kyron's face on them.
"One little boy's smile can impact a community," Kyron's stepfather said.
Police on Wednesday said they had received more than 1,200 tips, mostly from Oregon and Washington state.
"We are looking for a living Kyron Horman," said Multnomah County Sheriff's Capt. Jason Gates at the time.
Gina Zimmerman, president of the school PTA, told the Portland Oregonian this week that her 8-year-old daughter Madi has been a classmate of Kyron's for three years.
"He's not the type of child who would just go out of school and go searching or wandering around," Zimmerman said. "He's just a timid, sweet boy.
"Everybody's just worried and in shock that this could happen in our little school where everybody knows everybody," she said.