July 26, 2010 -- After thousands of tips from across the globe, the search for missing Oregon second-grader Kyron Horman wound up this weekend right back where it started -- at his Portland elementary school.
Searchers descended on the property in and around Skyline Elementary School for several hours Saturday even as authorities assured the public that it was part of a routine search and not in response to a specific tip, according to ABC's Portland affiliate KATU.
In a report issued to the media Friday, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office seemed to have little information about the boy's whereabouts, nearly two months after he vanished from the elementary school after an early morning science fair.
"We are continuing to hope Kyron is alive and will proceed under that premise," the Sheriff's Office report read, in response to e-mailed media questions.
Bruce McCain, a retired captain with the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, questioned the use of the word "hope" in the statement even though the report also speaks of "significant progress" in the case.
"That is not really good news because what we were hoping for is, 'We have evidence to believe that he is alive,'" he said.
The Sheriff's Office also noted that Kyron's stepmother,Terri Horman, has not spoken with police since she retained a prominent Portland criminal defense attorney several weeks ago.
"It is very possible that there is simply no evidence in this case," Northeastern University professor and criminologist Jack Levin said. "My sense is there may not be a body or blood or crime witnesses and the police were hoping by playing a good cop approach to get a confession from the stepmother. But she hasn't confessed, she lawyered up."
Horman has not been charged in Kyron's disappearance or named a person of interest, but investigators have made it clear they believe she knows more about the case than she has let on.
"She may be innocent," he said. "We don't really know."
Police appear to be pressuring more of Terri Horman's friends.
Two women told KATU this weekend that police questioned them in relation to the case. One of the women said she was given a polygraph test and her home was searched.
Horman has also been pummeled with intense scrutiny, most of it coming from her own family. Her estranged husband Kaine Horman, Kyron's father, has publicly pinned his son's disappearance on her more than once.
Kaine Horman released a scathing statement last week alongside the boy's biological mother, Desiree Young, accusing one of Terri Horman's close friends of helping her orchestrate the boy's disappearance.
DeDe Spicher was identified by law enforcement as a confidante of Terri Horman and, according to Kaine Horman's statement last week, she's not cooperating with investigators.
"She has not only been in close communication with Terri but has been providing Terri with support and advice that is not in the best interests of our son," read the family statement, accompanied by a picture of Spicher. "Additional information provided shows that she is refusing to cooperate with law enforcement, she is also going as far as to suggest to others that may have information regarding Kyron's disappearance, not to cooperate as well."
The Oregonian reported that Spicher, 43, was spotted by a witness leaving her job for about 90 minutes on June 4, the day Kyron disappeared from his elementary school. She was gone, the paper reported, around the same time the boy is believed to have vanished and that a second witness reported not being able to reach Spicher on her cell phone during that time.
"We implore DeDe Spicher to come forward and cooperate with the investigators," the family's statement continued. "If we find out through the investigation that she caused a delay in us finding our son due to her lack of cooperation, we will pursue civil remedies in this matter."
McCain, noted Friday that the continued updates on the investigation that have been coming from Kyron's parents are unusual for a complicated criminal case such as this.
"There's been absolutely silence from this investigative team. Everything we're learning about this is coming from Kaine and the Youngs," he told "Good Morning America."
It could be an orchestrated move by police to increase pressure on Terri Horman, he speculated, or it could indicate a rift between Kyron's family and investigators.
Kaine Horman Refuses to Give Up Hope That Son is Alive
The family's statement comes one day after ABC's Portland affiliate KATU reported that Terri Horman had told Kyron's teachers and classmates that he would be out of the classroom that Friday at a doctor's appointment, giving the school no reason to expect him back after the science fair that morning.
But Terri Horman has been vague with investigators, the affiliate reported, later telling detective she was referring to the next Friday, June 11.
"Clearly even school children were aware that he was going to the doctor that day and they expected him to be at the doctor that day so now after the fact to say, 'I didn't know it was that day, it was another day' it is weak," former homicide detective C.W. Jensen said.
The school had faced immense scrutiny in the days and weeks after Kryon vanished after Horman told investigators that she last saw Kyron before leaving the fair and only realized he was missing when he didn't get off the bus that afternoon.
"That now gives about a six to seven hour window ? in which no one was concerned about his whereabouts," McCain said, calling the move "carefully orchestrated."
Terri Horman is also being eyed in an alleged murder-for-hire plot in which she allegedly tried to hire a landscaper to kill Kaine Horman. Kaine Horman quickly filed for divorce and fled the family's home with the couple's 20-month-old daughter. He was granted an emergency restratining order keeping Terri Horman away from him and their little girl.
A judge evicted Terri Horman from the family's home earlier this month.
Terri Horman and her attorney have declined to comment on the allegations made by Kyron's parents. Her lawyer, Stephen Houze, said that his client has been receiving death threats and that the media frenzy surrounding the case has morphed into a "witch hunt."
Police said they've received more than 3,000 tips and the district attorney has subpoenaed 200 sets of records.
Kaine Horman, told "Good Morning America" earlier this month that Terri Horman seemed to change after the birth of their 20-month-old daughter, Kiara.
"She went through some post-partum depression after the birth and her emotional state was more erratic," Horman said.
Young said she didn't believe Terri Horman from the beginning when she called to tell her that Kyron went missing from his elementary school.
"There was just certain details that just didn't make any sense that gave me that sick to my stomach feeling," Young said.