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PORTLAND, Ore. - The reward in the case of missing 7-year-old Kyron Horman has been increased from $25,000 to $50,000, thanks to an anonymous donor.
The announcement about the reward was made during a news conference Tuesday afternoon where the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, the lead police agency in the Kyron Horman investigation, briefed the media and the public on the latest details.
According to the sheriff's office, significant process is being made in their investigation and they are following up on 3,500 tips, making sure they focus on high priority ones first.
"It continues to be important to emphasize to both our local citizens and citizens throughout the state of Oregon and all over the country that are following this case that we remain steadfast, determined and focused on our work to bring Kyron home to his family," Capt. Monte Reiser said at the news conference.
The sheriff's department also wanted to take a moment to recognize all of those involved in the massive search effort.
"We want to again express our appreciation for the help we've received and to say that we simply could not have completed such an exhaustive search using only local resources," Capt. Reiser said.
The news conference concluded with a statement from Desiree Young, Kyron's mother. Media questions were not allowed.
"We feel the investigation continues to be on track and is progressing toward finding Kyron," she said. "We remain confident in the actions and constant commitment of law enforcement in the mission to find our son. Our goals are to expedite the search for Kyron to bring him home as quickly as possible and to bring justice to any person responsible for his disappearance. We believe their goals remain the same as ours and are confident that they will bring him home soon. We are still very hopeful that with additional tips each day and their diligent actions, that is what will lead them to Kyron."
Desiree then reached out to her son, fighting back tears.
"We love you Kyron," she said. "Never give up hope. We are all coming to get you to bring you home."
Kyron disappeared June 4 after he was dropped off at school by his stepmother Terri Horman. No trace of the boy has been found despite extensive searches and thousands of tips. Kyron was marked absent from the first class of the day despite attending a science fair before school began.
Since Kyron's disappearance, Terri has come under severe scrutiny both in the public eye and from Kyron's biological mother, Desiree Young, who has gone on camera pleading with Terri to "do the right thing" and who has publicly said that she believes Terri is lying. Kaine has come forward as well, saying he believes Terri knows something.
However, police have not named Terri a suspect in Kyron's disappearance, nor has she been arrested in connection with any crime.
Meanwhile, two police and law experts said the thing they found the most disturbing from Tuesday’s news conference was that “there was simply no reference at all to a living Kyron, and that’s troubling,” said Bruce McCain, an attorney and former sheriff’s captain.
McCain noted that bringing Kyron home alive was always the focus in previous public releases by law enforcement and the family.
He said, however, that he is encouraged by the public support and the announcement the reward leading to Kyron is being doubled.
“That assumes that someone is sitting on information that they wouldn’t give up for $25,000 but now that they have hit 50 (thousand) they will be willing to come forward. Let’s hope that works,” he said.
But former Portland police detective C.W. Jensen said he does not hold out hope someone will claim the reward. He says he has never seen that happen in murder or kidnapping cases.
“The suspects in those cases just don’t talk about it, so unfortunately, a reward in this case is worthless,” he said.
And like McCain, he said the chance Kyron is still alive fades every day.
“After two months and no word, what are the chances that someone is holding this child?” Jensen said. “I mean, what benefit would they get? I just don’t see it.”
Both experts say detectives are building a case and not showing their cards until they can arrest someone for the most serious charges.
“I wouldn’t want to be messing around with a kidnapping case,” Jensen said. “When the time is right, when they have the evidence there will be an arrest, and it will be a homicide case.”
But Desiree Young and Kaine Horman told People magazine Tuesday night they're still convinced their son is alive.
So why hold a news conference even though authorities released little information? Jensen and McCain said there’s a lot of public pressure on authorities in this case and even nationwide people want to know what happened to Kyron.
KATU News reporter Thom Jensen contributed to this report.