Former detective: Parents’ silence not unheard of but not the norm

Former detective: Parents’ silence not unheard of but not the norm »Play Video
CW Jensen.

PORTLAND, Ore. - A retired Portland police detective said Wednesday the silence the parents of 7-year-old Kyron Horman have maintained after his disappearance isn’t unheard of but it’s not the norm either.

Several KATU viewers have asked the station why Horman’s parents have been so silent. Nikki wrote on the station’s Facebook page: “I find it odd that the family has kept so quiet. If I had one of my children missing, I would be out there looking for him and asking for him and asking for his return.”

CW Jensen was with the Portland Police Bureau for 20 years and said statements from families don’t really help investigators, but they help the community that’s emotionally invested in a child’s disappearance.

“They want to somehow understand them and feel closer to them,” Jensen said.

Jensen has dealt with a lot of parents on cases just like the disappearance of Horman.

“Generally, parents in cases like this are incredibly distraught,” he said. “They’re almost just dysfunctional.”

He said it was that way in 1989 before Jensen and his team arrested Westley Allan Dodd after Dodd kidnapped and murdered three preteen boys.

“When you are in a case like this it’s personal because most of the cops have kids,” Jensen said.

He said normally families are more local. Take, for example, the disappearance of college student Brooke Wilberger. Wilberger’s mother, Cammy, was very public even after Wilberger’s killer was caught.

“We just really feel gratitude even to Mr. (Joel) Courtney that he could see fit to tell us where he left Brooke,” she said in September 2009.

KATU News extended an invitation to Horman’s parents to speak to the media after a reporter found them at a local gym Wednesday after their workout.

But the Horman’s drove off without responding to a question how the media could help.

Terri Horman, Kyron’s stepmother, hasn’t been completely silent. She has spent some time on Facebook since Friday responding to posts from friends and talking about her workouts, which is more that Jensen said he finds unusual.

“What I know from being an investigator and dealing with parents in tragic situations like this - homicides, kidnappings, stuff like that - they just really couldn’t much function other than to sit and wait for us to call,” he said.

Jensen said investigators could be asking the Horman’s to be silent and to carry on with their lives as normal, but he said in his experience it is extremely difficult for families to be quiet and stay away from a search scene when a loved one, especially a child, is missing.