Search for Missing Boy Kyron Horman 'Won't Be Cold Case'

Police vow to find Kyron Horman, 11 days after he disappeared.

June 5, 2010, 6:21 PM

PORTLAND, Ore., June 14, 2010— -- The search for Kyron Horman, the 7-year-old who disappeared from his school 11 days ago, may have been scaled back, but police said today that does not mean they are any less focused on finding the bespectacled, science-loving boy.

"This will not become a cold case for us," Multnomah County Sheriff's Office Capt. Jason Gates said today. "We will continue to investigatethis case until we have it solved."

Officials said Sunday that the investigation had turned from a missing persons case to a criminal one, with authorities becoming more tight-lipped about any theories or suspects in the case.

Sheriff's officials say they will not be holding any further media briefings unless there are new developments in the case, and are scaling down their command post near Kyron's school.

Gates told reporters today that investigators are still resolute in their determination to bring Kyron home, and the next phase of the investigation will include another canvassing of the neighborhood and school.

Authorities have also offered a $25,000 reward.

"The investigation still moves forward," Gates said. "This process is not over."

Tuesday would have been Kyron's last day of school before summer break, and on a cloudy Monday afternoon students at Skyline Elementary School could be seen on the playground under the watchful eye of several adults.

Kyron disappeared on the morning of June 4. Kyron and his stepmother Terri Horman attended a school science fair where Kyron had displayed a project on red tree frogs. His stepmother said she last saw Kyron walking down a hallway toward his classroom.

Portland Public Schools has an automated call system in place at all schools to alert parents if their students are absent from class. But a spokesman said that while Kyron's school had access to the system, staff at Skyline didn't regularly use it because attendance and truancy problems there are rare.

The district is now requiring all schools to use the automated call system, but it's not clear whether a search for the second grader would have been begun earlier if the call system had been used.

"We don't know if the system would have helped in this case," Portland schools spokesman Matt Shelby told ABC News. "But it certainly wouldn't have hurt."

When Kyron didn't come home on the bus that Friday afternoon, his parents called the school, which in turn called 911, launching what Gates said could be the largest search operation in Oregon history.

Approximately 1,300 searchers in the field were joined by 213 additional investigators from 42 different agencies from California, Oregon and Washington. A National Guard helicopter also joined in the search.

Many of the search teams have packed up and headed home, although a small number of local teams will be on call in case there are any new leads or developments.

"It's always hard, you know, and we're still holding out hope on this one. Just because we are changing some tactics, we're still working on this," said Doug Hormann, a member of Washington County Search and Rescue.

Kyron's family has only appeared twice in public since he disappeared. On Friday, his stepfather made an emotional plea for his return.

"You mean everything to us," said his stepfather Tony Young. "And until you come home this family's not complete. Please Kyron, keep up the hope."

For many people here, the distinction between a missing persons case and a criminal one is irrelevant since Kyron is still nowhere to be found.

"It has not changed our focus," family friend Becky Owens said. "Our focus has been and will continue to be finding Kyron. So it doesn't change what we're doing, getting his face out to as many people as possible."