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Why I Feel Horrified for Kyron Horman's Stepmom

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Attorney Robin Sax: Kyron Horman, age 7, is as adorable as can be. And he has completely disappeared with no leads after a school science fair. Kyron was last seen at Skyline Elementary School in Portland, Ore., last Friday, June 4, 2010. He had done a project on the red-eyed tree frog. Kyron seemed happy that morning at school.

Terri Moulton Horman

Sheriff's deputies, FBI patrols and the National Guard have all been searching for Kyron for eight days now. In addition to its Behavioral Analysis Unit, the FBI has dispatched its Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team -- although that doesn't necessarily mean the authorities have determined that an abduction has taken place. Classmates and teachers have been questioned, as well as Kyron's stepmom, Terri Moulton Horman.

As a stepmother myself, I feel horrified that his stepmom (who apparently was the last person to be with him) has been softly implicated in some media reports. I can only imagine her heartbreak and heartache at his disappearance. It also must be hard for her to be questioned. But despite my sympathy, I can't help but wonder why the family didn't come out and address the public sooner. Why didn't they immediately reach out (beg, gravel, cajole) for help finding their son? A Facebook friend of mine from college reached out to me last weekend; shouldn't we expect the parents of this missing kid to do the same?

Until their first public appearance Friday afternoon, all four of Kyron's parents (two biological, two step) had been noticeably absent from the media. That might have been because they were in shock. I have dealt with hundreds of abduction cases, and I can tell you that the range of the parents' responses are as diverse as their kids -- and the crimes themselves. So my words shouldn't be taken to mean that I think Kyron's stepmom (or any of his other parents/guardians) are guilty in any way. In this media-crazed day and age, though, parents of missing kids must connect with intelligent, media-savvy professionals who can give them guidance and help them use the media to their best advantage in the search for their missing child.

Kyron was last seen wearing a black "CSI" shirt and dark cargo pants. If you have any information on Kyron's disappearance, please call the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office tip line at 503-261-2847.


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51 comments so far | Post a comment now
Meg June 12, 2010, 9:11 AM

I think I understand why the parents didn’t appear during the first week. In addition to the fact that they were so shocked and horrified that they may have been incoherent, initially, their lack of communication kept the story on Kyron. The pictures in the media were all of him, every story was about the details of his last movements, not about the parents and their grief. I think eventually, they HAD to come and be seen because their NOT talking was becoming a big part of the story. So, rather than let that take over the pictures and details about Kyron, they came forward. Have you ever heard of a story where a child was abducted, and then returned because the parents got on TV and begged? People who steal kids enjoy the pain they cause. I would think it only fuels their satisfaction. I have NO judgment about the parents. I have NO idea what I would do in their circumstances. I would probably go on TV and beg and plead just on the off chance that my child might get to see me and know that I am crazy for their safety and to remind them that my love is always with them. Although, kidnapped children don’t often get to see TV News.

leigh June 12, 2010, 10:06 AM

How can anyone judge these poor parents for not coming forward into the media!? Doing this makes it real for them and they have probably been in shock and disbelief about all of this. Coming forward into the media spotlight..with all your pain and fear…would be horrifying. It would make it all too real. Perhaps it isn’t “smart” on their part…but how anyone can judge them for how they have reacted is beyond me. So what if someone on Facebook stepped out and pleaded for help on behalf of Kyron? That person, I doubt, is as devastated as the ones going through it directly (Kyron’s parents and step-parents.) Kyron’s family needs those of us who are more clear-headed to step out and help. Let’s help them…not judge them.

I just don’t get it.

Cari June 12, 2010, 11:30 AM

Thank you for writing this. All the speculation that has been floating around the internet has been terrible. Of course there is always a chance that the family was involved. It does happen more often than stranger abduction. But there has been no indication from the investigators that evidence points to the family. Considering where the search has been concentrated, it seems there are simply NO leads right now. There is a reason the law presumes innocence until proven guilty. And no one can imagine how they would act in such a situation until the worst happens.

As there is no evidence whatsoever in this case, people should be withholding judgment, not spreading rampant and cruel speculation.

nicola June 12, 2010, 11:31 AM

I have been discussing this case with my best friend since it began. We have brought up all of the possible causes of Kyron’s disappearance, each playing devil’s advocate when one of us latches on to a particular theory. It is in this way I have accepted that there is certainly more than one way in which this child could have vanished. And yes, a stranger could have lured him away. However, it is asking too much of the public to ignore the strangely callous behavior of this child’s stepmother. I have 3 children, I am not a very outgoing person, but I can guarantee you this: there is no way I could be silent if one of mine vanished. I would be the voice you heard begging for the return of my child. I would be the face you saw next to my child’s picture. It would be tear-stained and and grief-stricken. What is more compelling, a desperate mother’s plea or the calm, request of a member of law enforcement? I am human, I am a mother and the behavior of Terri Hormon is sadly apathetic. I just hope this is as obvious to law enforcement as it is to the many members of the public that want to see this case solved. I want to see Kyron Horman found, safe and sound, but I don’t want to see him sent back home to a mother with the cold heart of Terri Moulton Hormon.

Mathman54 June 12, 2010, 11:46 AM

I cannot fault the parents for not talking to the media. The media is not well respected or trusted by most people, and for many good reasons. If I were one of those parents, I would only talk to the media if the police or FBI asked me to.

taylor June 12, 2010, 12:01 PM

It is much better that the media remain focused on Kyron — photos, description, etc. Turning the parents’ grief into a media spectacle will accomplish nothing. Better that the authorities focus on the parents ( if they feel it is warranted ) and allow the media to continue showing Kyron’s photo.
God Bless little Kyron, I pray you will be home very soon.

V June 12, 2010, 12:54 PM

I can’t begin to comprehend what these folks are enduring. I was victimized when I was a teen and up until the moment it happened I was sure I would scream, battle, or at the very least run. I did none of them. I couldn’t make a sound and my entire body shut down. I will never judge anyone who is a victims. From all I know about this particular “disappearance” there are FAR MORE IMPORTANT MATTERS for all of us to concentrate on and correct! It is absolutely infuriating to me that we have yet to set up safety nets, especially for school zones. We already know children are not safe on our streets or even in their own beds! We have to do better. And we can. The technology is there. It is all a matter of priorities and what is more important than a child’s life?

There are folks who have battled with not knowing where there loved ones are for decades. A bill, HR3695 was passed in the HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES this year in FEB. Yet, the same verbatim Senate BILL 3019 has stalled in our Senate, specifically the Judiciary Committee. That bill should have been marked up and passed by now.

We need to be alert, lend our voice to get this bill passed and take the time to really pull together to do what is right! We can’t pretend our neighborhood is immune. We have to do the work. And we need right now to be calling the SENATE and Senator Leahy specifically and DEMAND he mark up that bill and get it passed!!!

V June 12, 2010, 12:57 PM

Sorry about the misspelled word- should have been THEIR not THERE.

V June 12, 2010, 1:24 PM

I have found several “gather” articles which use MOMLOGIC as source. What is amazing to me is I don’t see where MOMLOGIC is delving into the OBVIOUS security holes involved. Kryon’s school was small, only 300 students according to reports. BUT the size of school should not allow:

NO SECURITY CAMERAS on campus
LAX or NO CAMPUS VISITOR PROCEDURES
CALLING PARENTS ONLY ON THE SECOND DAY OF A CHILD MISSING FROM CLASS

I could go on and on. Instead, this site is attempting to put a parent, a mom, under some sort of microscope with preset generalized stops. Don’t any of you remember MARK LUNSFORD and HIS ELDERY FATHER, tiny little Jessica Lunsford and the MONSTER John Couey? Some folks decided they had the right to judge or speculate and two men’s integrities were dragged through the mire. When will folks learn that we are not all cut from the same cloth? And what happened to compassion?

It is so frustrating to read some of this! We can concentrate on the positive even in the heat of a battle or we can hone in on real or imaginery negatives and start throwing mud. I hope we have not become a society of whiners and armchair critics. I hope we still have the inward common sense to know what is appropriate and what will make our world better for ourselves and our children.

Sleuther June 12, 2010, 5:55 PM

What did the search and rescue dogs do when they were used last week? Where did they track to? Did they leave the school and go to the woods near the school (or wherever the searchers and dogs are concentrating their search efforts)? Or were the dogs not able to track where Kyron went?

There are other resources that can be used to help this little boy and his devistated family.


KJKR June 12, 2010, 9:13 PM

Since neither Kyron’s stepmom or his mom spoke at the press conference where his dad and stepdad made statements, it is difficult to form objective opinions concerning their behavior, demeanor or possible unusual reaction. Although some rumors/comments may seem to show some questions regarding the stepmom’s actions, the public does not know all the facts. And, some victims of crime go into a form of denial for a period of time, or have a traumatic stress reaction that renders them incapable of dealing adequately with, or reacting “normally” to the situation. Sometimes in traumatic stress conditions, a victim cannot talk about the trauma…really.

And, especially when a person knows they could be suspected and are being judged by people who do not even know them…under the public microscope…and even law enforcement has the logical, expected responsibility of attempting to rule out family members…how do we know how any of us would react? I think we should reserve judgement of the family at this time, and pray for Kyron, his family, and law enforcement in solving this little guy’s disappearance. Remember this was a public science fair that had been advertized and thus could also give opportunity to a school district employee, or other child’s relative…or other child predator to plan a child abduction.

Kyron’s older brother has not been mentioned much…maybe these parents have stayed out of the public eye for the sake of their other children… maybe they are dealing with difficulties with them, or they are trying to maintain some normalcy for them while trying to calm and help them to remain hopeful that Kyron will be found, and thus do not want these other kids to see them breaking down emotionally on TV. The public really doesn’t know enough facts to make judgements or assumptions of guilt at this time…law enforcement may have their suspicions of what happened to Kyron, but wisely are keeping details…reportedly even including the place and the person who reportedly last saw Kyron…to themselves.

I am wondering if maybe law enforcement should be checking the area(and even nearby secluded homes and rivers) of the remote Leaf Erickson roads back in Linnton/Forest Park area. That is a big area, but checking close to the roads where someone would have access in…could be done.







Ann June 13, 2010, 12:26 AM

I do not live in Portland but I’ve been following the story closely. I don’t believe that there is an issue with the parents coming forward - per se. I can only speak for myself when I say: I understand why the parents, biological and step, didn’t make a public plea right away. It is possible that the law enforcement didn’t encourage a public plea based on the current evidence on the table. However, I began to change my tune when the local news agency caught up with the step mom outside the gym after her workout (I believe Dad was there too, but I’m not certain), and this was days after Kyron went missing. This is where the soft implication of guilt on the step mother begins. I read some other nonsense about step mom on Facebook, a fact I do not consider worrisome, but the lack of sensitivity was very apparent when step mom went to go for a workout during Kyron’s missing hours. Some out there want to excuse the workout and say: “What’s wrong with working out and relieving stress?” or “Why can’t step mom go to the gym?” —PLEASE— Spare me the argument. No person who truly loves a child, biological or not, cannot possibly throw on workout close, get their ipod, drive to a gym, get on a treadmill and focus on a workout-all the while Kyron is out there-somewhere-outside his home, without his parents. So there is the big reason for the soft implication of guilt on the step mom’s part. Step mom may not be involved in Kyron’s disappearance but she is definitely guilty of selfish and insensitive behavior.

Ann Correction June 13, 2010, 12:31 AM

Sorry… I meant [workout clothes not close]

firstwife June 13, 2010, 9:26 AM

Once again the public is seeing what must be a terrifying ordeal for the parents of an abducted/missing child. I know you can’t rush to judgment, but I do feel that the step mother’s behavior draws suspicion. Her appearance and body language at the press conference speaks volumes to me. I read that she got the call about Kyron missing around 3:30, but at 4:45 she was making Facebook posts. In the same situation, I doubt that I could pick myself off the floor that soon…I was able to view step mom’s Facebook photos. The first photo I clicked on, of her toddler daughter, was tagged, “Ahhh, yes, my REAL daughter!” Another photo of Kyron in a funny hat was tagged “I just don’t even ask anymore…” Again, nothing you could indict with, but these clues are telling and I hope/pray the FBI is reviewing ALL of the information surrounding this woman. As statistics bear out, the person who took and possibly harmed this child is probably one who knew him. Something to think about. I get tired of hearing all the defenses for these criminals who behave oddly, such as Amanda Knox doing cartwheels at the police station, then her parents saying everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, or Scott Peterson dying his hair and going golfing or calling his girlfriend during the candlelight vigil for his missing wife. In a way, I would have to agree - a guilty party usually can’t convince others of their innocence with either their bizarre actions or their contrived grief. And the truth hopefully rises for this case as it has in the others.

KJKR June 13, 2010, 11:05 AM

Response to “First Wife”…
Law Enforcement, FBI, and Child Abduction response workers are ALL experts in investigating/searching and observing for clues in missing children cases. Don’t you think that if there is reason to suspect any family member, they will be investigating that angle? How is it helpful for public speculation, accusatory scrutiny of family actions, and partial or incomplete facts and rumors to circulate?…for anyone?…most importantly to the mission of finding Kyron? IF a family member was involved in this little boys disappearance, that will become apparent as credible facts from the investigation come out. I am sure other family members would share concerns with L.E. if they suspected something amiss. IF this disappearance has nothing to do with any family member’s involvement, all that this type of speculation and rumor is doing is adding to the pain of a suffering family, and taking the focus off of finding the child and supporting a family in need of compassion and assistance through a terrible tragedy.

If the step mom’s (or any other family member’s) focus is shifted to attempting to defend herself (or a family member) or somehow act/behave as expected by the public, it is not helpful in the investigation, and she/they may even forget or neglect to mention an important peice of information to share with L.E., in not focusing completely on the investigation of the disappearance of this little guy.

In other words, there is nothing to be gained by public scrutiny and rumor around the family members at this time, but there very well may be something to be gained by refraining from such speculation…even if only in not adding to the pain of a suffering family who may have nothing to do with the disappearance of this child.

Stacey June 13, 2010, 3:36 PM

This is such a departure for the site. I have always enjoyed your content prior to this article. The author comes off as a self-righteous moron. There are a LOT of reasons why parents don’t push themselves out in the media during a crime like this, not least of which is because they are told to do so by the government agencies involved. Agree with poster above that going on tv and begging sure doesn’t make a kidnapper say oh you’re right here let me return your kid. Going on facebook? Are you serious lady? I think this piece should be pulled. It is disgustingly disrespectful.

Cari June 13, 2010, 3:53 PM

I don’t know if the stepmom is involved. I damn well hope she isn’t because it would give good stepmoms a bad name, but yes, it is possible. However, consider these facts: Non-custodial biological parent abductions are far more common than stepparent abductions. StepFATHER figures, not stepMOTHERS, are the highest risk factor for abuse across all ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds.

I adore my stepson with everything I am, but I have met many, MANY, good-hearted, kind, and generous step moms who do not feel the same way about their stepkids. Many of them actively choose not to parent and or take responsibility for the children they will always be legal strangers to. I used to judge those women, too, but have come to realize how unfair it is. Emotionally, and often for the sake of the marriage, that is the safer choice. Sometimes it is best for their relationships with the children, too. (Look up and read Stepmonster, by Wednesday Martin if you would like the statistics about this.)

There is an awful double standard for us out there: Most of the commentators here suggest that the stepmom should “Love the child like her own”. Yet, stepmoms are told over and over again to always remember that we are not the “real” mom. We never get to take credit for our children’s achievements and are even expected to tell the kids NOT to love us “as much as” Mommy and Daddy. Stepmoms almost always enter into a situation strewn with conflict between our spouses and the bio-mom, and also often end up the scapegoat when new conflicts arrive. Yes, some of us are either lucky enough to be naturally altruistic or find ways to love our stepchildren, but many don’t. Don’t judge them until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

That the stepmom is the one being vilified online when counselors, teachers, and the law have reminded her over and over through the years that Kyron is not “really” her child is completely unfair. And perhaps, as so many have accused, she does not feel parental love towards him. But even if that is the case, such disconnect does NOT mean she isn’t extremely concerned about him. If evidence proves Terri Horman had something to do with this child’s disappearance, I will be among the many to express rage once it is made public. As of now, however, judgments against her are stemming purely from ignorance, prejudice, and fairy-tale stereotypes. I encourage the public to hold of judgment of ALL the family until we have been presented with more facts in this case.

sharon zirn June 13, 2010, 6:31 PM

Stepmother will be found guilty. Her story cannot be validated.

Gigohead  June 14, 2010, 9:00 AM

I saw on the Today Show that the search has been called off and that it is now a criminal investigation. I don’t know why the drastic change but I believe the truth will come out and I don’t think this boy was ever in school that day. I think he was met with foul play. This story may not end with a happy ending as most folks thought it would be. I was hoping he would turn up alive and that he looking for frogs for his project. Sadly, it may not be the case.


Ken June 14, 2010, 9:33 AM

Stepmom going to gym = VERY suspicious.

Seriously, if my child were missing, every waking second, and every ounce of my being would be devoted to getting my child back, period. I would not eat, sleep, or deal with Facebook messages, as this stepmother reportedly has done.

That Facebook photo being posted so fast….it seems more like an alibi.

As a parent who takes photos and uploads them to facebook every once in a while, the fact that she uploaded/posted a photo that quickly, and it’s the morning the child disappeared….too coincidental.

She made her facebook private…but I would bet $100 that she has not posted any photos of him previously on Facebook.


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