http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2011/01/search_for_kyron_horman_resume.htmlSearch for Kyron Horman resumes today north and west of Portland
Published: Sunday, January 30, 2011, 5:00 AM Updated: Sunday, January 30, 2011, 9:08 AM
The seven-month search for missing Kyron Horman turns its focus today on two rural locations north and west of Portland as investigators run down specific intelligence they've developed and warmer weather conditions now provide a window of opportunity.
Between 40 to 50 search-and-rescue workers, along with up to seven cadaver-detecting dogs, will be combing the dense forested area around turnouts, trailheads, and gated logging roads along a stretch of Northwest Skyline Road, south of Rocky Point Road and a gravel road further north in the Dixie Mountain area.
The private timber land crosses into unincorporated areas of Multnomah, Washington and Columbia counties, and reaches elevations of between 1,000 and 1,500 feet.
"Weather conditions prevented the searching of these two locations a month or six weeks ago because of the snow up there, and dogs are not effective when it's below 40 degrees," said Multnomah County Sheriff's Sgt. Keith Krafve, a supervisor of the Kyron Horman Task Force.
"There're very specific reasons why we're here," said Multnomah County deputy sheriff Mark Herron, a search and rescue coordinator on the task force.
"We'll be looking for all those things that are Kyron associated," he said, adding that the searchers will also be looking for anything that might have been left by those involved with Kyron's disappearance.
Kyron hasn't been seen since he disappeared from Skyline School the morning of June 4. His stepmother Terri Moulton Horman had driven him to school early that morning for the school science fair and told investigators she last saw him walking to his classroom about 8:45 a.m. He never made it to his class but wasn't reported missing until that afternoon, after his father, Kaine Horman, and stepmother discovered he was not aboard the school bus after school. They went to the school to find him, prompting the school secretary to call 9-1-1 at 3:46 p.m.
Today's search will mark the latest in what's already been the largest search operation in the state's history with no evidence of the boy unearthed.
Stacks of maps in the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office "war room" plot the 155 square miles already scoured, mostly land around the school, property around the Horman home off Northwest Sheltered Nook Road, and land and waterways surrounding Sauvie Island, the focus of the most recent searches.
Investigators declined to identify the leads directing them to these two new locations. But past searches at Sauvie Island resulted from the analysis of cell phone tower pings, viable tips, or statistical probabilities from studies of other missing child cases, officials said.
"We're not going to be out searching anything unless we have an investigative purpose," Herron said.
The locations that will be combed today are remote, with residences few and far between. On Saturday, a heavy fog shrouded the wooded area for most of the early morning, and few cars passed. Ground searches will be directed to specific turnouts, trailheads or areas that a vehicle could pull in, and then conduct a 300-foot radius search of the sites, depending on the steepness of the terrain.
"You could see the hazards we're going to face," Herron said, stepping over discarded screens, wood filled with nails, broken glass and shotgun shells at one gated logging road off Northwest Skyline Boulevard, south of Rocky Point Road. The spot is about 20 to 22 miles from Skyline Elementary School.
"Time has gone by, yes," Herron said. "However, the things that we'll be looking for. If they're there, they're still going to be there."
Joining the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office search and rescue unit will be volunteer searchers from Search One K9 Detection, North Oregon Regional Search and Rescue (NORSAR), Oregon K9 Search Teams, Mountain Wave Emergency Communications Inc., Yamhill County dog team and Pacific Crest Search Dogs (Skamania County).
Although authorities have not named anyone a suspect, it's clear from court documents and testimony in the pending divorce between Kyron's father and stepmother that Terri Horman remains at the center of the inquiry, as well as a handful of associates and friends of hers. No arrests have been made.
Horman, living in Roseburg with her parents, has not made any statements and is represented by prominent criminal defense attorney Stephen Houze.
The search also comes as Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton is preparing a written report updating county commissioners on the status of the nine-member multi-agency task force dedicated to investigating the missing boy's disappearance. In October, Staton submitted a 120-day business plan for the task force, and obtained an extra $209,000 to cover overtime and an investigative technician dedicated to the team. As of Nov. 29, the investigation had cost nearly $1.4 million.
Staton last week said he doesn't intend to seek additional funds, and plans to go before the board of commissioners sometime in late February to give a status report on whether or not the task force will continue its full-time work.