(NewsNation) — It’s been 13 years since seven-year-old Kyron Horman vanished, shortly after showing off his science project at his school in northwest Portland, Oregon.
His case captured the attention of people around the globe, resulting in a documentary and even a book by a New York Times best-selling author. But Kyron remains missing and his mother is still hoping to bring him home.
On June 4, 2010, Kyron left for school with his stepmother, Terri Horman, looking forward to showing off his second-grade science project on tree frogs.
The pair took Kyron’s father, Kaine Horman’s, truck to Skyline School that day. Terri didn’t normally drive the car but said she’d need it to bring Kyron’s science project back home.
Terri snapped a picture of Kyron with his project, which she posted to Facebook that afternoon. But she said when she went to pick Kyron up from the bus at 2:30 p.m., he wasn’t there.
The family called the school and the police. Later the FBI set up staging and search locations both at the school and at Kaine and Terri’s house. For the first nine days, police called the search a missing persons case but on day 10, they changed the scope to a criminal investigation.
Investigators know some of what happened on the day Kyron disappeared. Terri drove him to school with his 18-month-old step-sister in the car. According to Terri, Kyron showed her his project and then went back to his classroom.
But Kyron’s mother, Desiree Young, said witnesses saw Terri and Kyron leaving the school together that morning.
“They were seen out in front of the school by one of Kyron’s friends, his grandma and sister, as well as his bus driver,” Young said. “They were walking out to the main road, which was where the truck was parked.”
Kyron’s teacher had been told he had a doctor’s appointment that day, so nobody questioned his absence when he was missing from class.
Terri said she drove around town that day, stopping at two grocery stores to get medicine for her infant daughter, who wasn’t feeling well. She said after that she spent time driving around to settle her down.
Police investigating the case found Terri’s phone pinged around Highway 30, an area known in Oregon as a road less traveled.
Rebecca Morris — who wrote the book Boy Missing: The Search for Kyron Horman about Kyron’s case — noted there was a significant amount of time between when Kyron reportedly went missing and when his disappearance was reported to the police.
“He was missing for six hours before they knew he was missing. Six hours is a long time when a seven-year-old child is missing,” Morris said.
After 13 years, no suspects or persons of interest in the case have been named or charged. But there have been many twists and turns in the investigation from the beginning.
While investigating Kyron’s disappearance, police discovered Terri allegedly tried to hire a landscaper to kill her husband, Kyron’s father, several months before Kyron vanished.
When police told Kaine about the story, he left his home with their infant daughter and filed for divorce.
Later, Terri told People Magazine and ABC News she was always an outsider in the case even though she was caring for Kyron daily.
“When the police started questioning us, they took into account more what Kaine and Desiree were saying as opposed to what I was saying, and I spent my days with him,” Terri said.
When Terri spoke privately with police, they told her she failed two polygraph tests. Although a judge and a lawyer for Terri have called her a suspect in court papers, she has never officially been named a suspect or person of interest by police.
“I was willing to talk about anything. I want him home,” Terri said.
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office did not agree to an interview with NewsNation, but ahead of the 13-year anniversary of Kyron’s disappearance, they issued a statement.
“Kyron’s disappearance continues to have a profound impact on our community. The case remains open and active. Investigators are using advances in software, digital forensics, and geospatial technology to support and advance their work,” the statement read.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also released a new photo last year, showing what Kyron might look like today.
Meanwhile, Kyron’s mother is still searching for answers, especially from Terri, who was the last person to see Kyron before he disappeared.
Young filed a civil suit against Terri 10 years ago, accusing her of kidnapping Kyron. Young dropped the lawsuit, but she has been fundraising in hopes of getting a task force and private investigator in place to file a new case again.
“If we’re not going to get it ready for court, we’re just sitting here waiting for a magic moment that may or may not be in our future,” Young said.
In an interview with NewsNation, Young recounted a moment she had just days after Kyron vanished. She said she felt both the presence of God and her son in a quiet moment outdoors when she felt the wind kick up and the warmth of Kyron’s touch on her hand.
“He told me ‘Mama, I’m okay. There is a God and I’m with him and I’m happy and okay. And you need to be okay, too.’ And I said I can’t be okay, because I need answers,” Young said. “I don’t want you to be with God, I want you to be with me.”