Three years later, investigators still working Kyron Horman case

It should not be a surprise that investigators looking into the disappearance of Kyron Horman three years ago from Skyline Elementary School in Northwest Portland have a pretty strong idea of what happened to the child.

More than a dozen law enforcement agencies - with the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office at the lead - including every single police department in the metro region as well as numerous federal departments including the FBI and the DEA have been involved.

Three years to the day since Kyron was reported missing, the case is now under the supervision of its third lead investigator. Part of that has been because of normal promotions but part of the rotation has been to keep bringing in fresh perspectives.

People involved in the search know that it's easy to hear the name "Kyron" and assume the case will never be solved; to think that the case is on the back burner.

It's not.

They want to talk publicly about the case, about what they are doing, about their frustrations, their emotions. But they can't talk in detail to reporters for the record. There's too much at stake.

Yet, still they talk amongst each other and with others. This reporting is based on the conversations they have and have been related to KATU.

They want to talk about how they feel they are getting closer; about how every week they are able to eliminate theories, which brings them closer to what will be resolution.

In the three years since June 4, 2010, they have conducted far more than 1,000 interviews - some 900 alone were conducted with the staff of the school, as well as the children who went there and their parents.

Thousands of tips have been pursued from all 50 states and more than a dozen countries around the world. They still get anywhere from 15-75 a week.

There is not a notion too fantastical for them to pursue.

From murder victim to being sold into sexual slavery to being kidnapped by gypsies, one would think that there is not a possible fate of Kyron that they haven't explored. But every week new ones come over the transom and the search continues.

They don't trumpet what they are doing for several reasons, including the fact it's an active investigation. Furthermore, beyond the criminal probe there is also pending civil litigation.

Investigators won't talk publicly about the tens of thousands of cell phone records that have been sifted through - and the thousands more still to go. They won't talk about the surveillance they have done and the wiretaps they have listened to.

Recently - for the fourth time since the investigation began - there was a meeting with not just those directly involved in the day to day probe but people from outside agencies as well.

The purpose was to get some fresh eyes on the case, see what's been done and see if anything jumps out. It was a chance to take the long view, the view from on high. People who had not been living the investigation examined the roads taken and made some suggestions about the roads that hadn't.

While those involved in the investigation will tell you that they have a strong idea of what happened, they will also concede that they are a long way from being able to prove it.

It's one thing to get an indictment; it's another thing to get a conviction.

They could obtain an indictment but they are still not where they need to be - which is to be able to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. It's a different standard and they don't want to get an indictment until they can clear that second, higher bar.

You won't hear any of those involved in the case talk the case. You won't hear them talk about how they won't rest until they have eliminated every single possibility except for the one that points to who did it.

Colin Miner, assignment editor at KATU, has been covering the case since the day Kyron was reported missing on June 4, 2010.