'Pathetic' scam sought funds to aid search for missing boy

Medford financial crimes investigators are looking into what they describe as a "pathetic" scam in which a fake charity is soliciting funds, allegedly to help with the Kyron Horman search effort.

"There are a lot of scammers out there trying to make a buck, but this one is particularly disgusting," Medford police Sgt. Brent Mak said.

According to Mak, the suspects have contacted various people in Medford, asking if they would contribute money to a fund to help in the search for Kyron.

The boy, who was 7 when he disappeared on June 4, 2010, was last seen at his Portland-area school. His stepmother, Terri Horman, reportedly dropped the child off at his elementary school that morning.

The child's disappearance sparked a massive search effort across the Portland area.

Kyron's disappearance made news in Southern Oregon because his biological mother, Desiree Young, lives in Medford with her husband, Tony Young, a detective with the Medford Police Department.

Desiree Young has filed a lawsuit against Terri Horman, claiming she was responsible for Kyron's disappearance.

The Youngs have made emotional pleas over the past three years, seeking new information that could lead to Kyron's whereabouts.

Kyron spent a lot of time in the Medford area, often playing at Fichtner-Mainwaring Park as well as camping with his mother and stepfather.

Three official charities have been established in Kyron's name, but they don't reach out to the public in soliciting funds, Mak said.

The legitimate Kyron charities are "Justice for Kyron," "Bring Kyron Home" and a fund directly through the Multnomah County Sheriff's Department.

"If you want to contribute to the Kyron Horman search fund, then these are the only places to give money," Mak said. "And they never solicit funds over the phone or email. Any fund that does is not legit."

Mak said the scam is possibly based out of Salem, as one potential victim reported that a phone number associated with the fraudulent calls matched a number in Marion County.

"We don't know if anyone has actually given money to the scammers," Mak said. "The people who were contacted knew something was up and immediately contacted the family."

A task force created to search for Kyron has disbanded after logging more than 26,000 hours investigating the case and conducting 3,500 interviews. The case remains open and county and federal law enforcement in the Portland area continue to work on the case.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.

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