Sheriff in Kyron Horman Search Vows, 'We're Going to Bring You Home Buddy'

Second-grader vanished after elementary school science fair in Portland, Ore.

June 05, 2010, 6:21 PM

June 7, 2010— -- An investigator in Oregon vowed to bring home a missing second grader, choking up as he tried to send a message to 7-year-old Kyron Horman.

"Kyron, we're going to bring you home buddy," Multnomah County Sheriff's Capt. Jason Gates said today, struggling to hold back tears. "Nothing is more important to your family and friends."

Gates said authorities have received 1,200 tips, but are continuing to seek out anyone who was anywhere near Skyline Elementary School in Portland Friday morning.

The captain said he is relying on those tips.

"One of these is going to lead us to finding Kyron," he said.

There has been no trace of the 7-year-old boy who proudly showed off his project on frogs at a school science fair before vanishing Friday morning. He was last seen by his step-mother walking toward his classroom, 150 feet away. He never made it.

Gates said a source at the school saw him around 9 a.m. Friday, but declined to provide details. The school does not have video cameras. The FBI and the National Guard joined the search over the weekend.

"The kids are doing pretty well," Portland Public Schools spokesman Matt Shelby said today. "It's a pretty somber mood among the adults today."

Though there is understandable concern among parents that one of their own vanished in what is typically considered to be a safe environment, Shelby said parents and the students have been cooperative with authorities.

More than two-thirds of the school's population, about 300 children in grades K-8, showed up voluntarily Sunday to be interviewed by police.

Among their questions were about Kyron's likes and dislikes, his hobbies and his friends. His parents have so far declined to speak publicly about their son's disappearance.

Gates said today that parents and students who didn't come Sunday were being interviewed today. Investigators also stood in the street near the school today around the same time Kyron disappeared Friday, questioning drivers who may pass the school as part of their normal routes.

FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele said today that there's not even enough evidence to classify the disappearance as an abduction.

Kyron Horman's School Was Full of People the Day He Vanished

"They're keeping all options open," she said. "They have no specific evidence at this point that he was kidnapped."

Shelby said the school has focused on keeping routines as normal for the children as possible. They have all been told their classmate is missing.

"We're trying not to jump to conclusions or speculate too much," he said.

A "safe room" has been set up for parents and students seeking counseling and extra substitute teachers have been called in to relieve teachers who need a break in dealing with Kyron's disapperarance.

Shelby said that visitors to the school are normally required to check in and receive a badge. But since the science fair was held before school hours, most did not go through that process, Shelby said, calling the fair a "semi-public" event.

"It was a full building," he said. "People were going from classroom to classroom."

Kyron's step-mother, Terri Moulton Horman, last saw him around 8:45 a.m. as he walked down the hallway. The last school official to see the boy put him in the classroom earlier that morning showing off his project. No school official saw him after that.

When Kyron did not return home on his school bus as scheduled at 3:30 p.m. Friday, his family called to report that he had not returned home.

The Multnomah County Sherriff's Office was contacted at approximately 4 p.m.

"We definitely got a late start here," sheriff's office spokeswoman Lt. Mary Lindstrand said Saturday. "The family didn't know that he wasn't at school, his teacher didn't see him so we are feeling like we are behind the eight-ball here."

The search has been made difficult by the high grasses on the property surrounding the school.

"This is devastating for the family or anyone who knows him," Lindstrand said. "We just want to find him and get him home safe."

Gina Zimmerman, president of the school PTA, told the Portland Oregonian that her 8-year-old daughter Madi has been a classmate of Kyron's for three years.

Photo of Kyron Horman Shows Him Proudly Smiling With His Science Project

"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.

Zimmerman told the newspaper that most of the parents and students arrived at the school shortly after 8 a.m. Friday for the end-of-year science fair.

She said Terri Horman took a photograph of Kyron in front of his project, which her daughter Madi said was on the red-eye tree frog.

"We always play on the swings together," Madi told the Oregonian. "I'm thinking my thoughts for him. I'm very worried."

Anyone with information regarding Kyron Horman's whereabouts is asked to call the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office tip line at 503 261-2847.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events