PORTLAND, Ore. — More than a week after 7-year-old Kyron Horman of Portland went missing, sobbing family members emerged on Friday to plead for his return.
Appearing before cameras and reporters, the family hugged each other before the boy’s father and stepfather spoke. It was the family’s first public appearance since Kyron went missing June 4 after attending a science fair at his Portland elementary school.
“People from around the nation have seen his picture,” said the boy’s father, Kaine Horman. “Please help us bring Kyron home.”
Authorities have said little about their work but have characterized it both as a search and investigation.
The search consists of more than 200 people, some on horseback. Dogs and a National Guard helicopter also have been deployed.
Efforts have been held back at times because of constant rain and cloudy conditions in the area. The school is near the top of a hill surrounded by deep woods and several ravines.
Also at the podium were Kyron’s biological mother, Desiree Young; her husband, Tony Young; and Kyron’s stepmother, Terri Moulton Horman.
“We miss you, we love you and we need you home right now,” Tony Young said. “Until you come home, this family’s not complete.”
Tony Young thanked searchers and the community. Nearly every local business features a flier with Kyron’s picture, and the family appeared Friday in T-shirts bearing his face and information.
The searchers were checking an area within a two-mile radius of the school, and Sgt. Diana Olsen of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said they were expanding that search area on Friday. She declined to elaborate.
Also on Friday, a small northern California police department investigated two tips that Kyron had been spotted with an elderly couple.
Det. Steve Fahrney of the Yreka, Calif., police department, said he spoke to the couple, both in their 60s, and found the tips to be false. On Thursday, Fahrney sent the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office copies of still photographs taken from a Wal-Mart surveillance video that purported to show the couple with a boy between 7 and 10 years of age.
“I spoke to them, they’re both locals, and we disproved that entirely,” Fahrney said. “The boy was not the one missing in Oregon.”
Yreka is on the eastern edge of the Klamath National Forest and about 15 miles south of the Oregon border.
Capt. Monte Reiser of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said community members can make donations into a fund at the Bank of America in Kyron’s name. Some of the money will be used to offset the cost of the search. Reiser said search teams from Washington and California have also been dispatched to help in the search.
“Morale is high,” Reiser said of the search teams, which are largely comprised of state-certified volunteers who took vacation days from work to participate. “I think we are closer (to finding him).”
Capt. Mike Shults, the sheriff’s office liaison to the family, said the last eight days have been difficult.
“This has been a very difficult time for the family,” Shults said. “Keep your prayers and thoughts on our little boy.”