PORTLAND, Ore. – The mother of an Oregon boy who vanished nearly two years ago has filed a lawsuit against his stepmother, the last person known to have seen him.
The suit filed Friday afternoon in Multnomah County Circuit Court by Desiree Young asks a judge to order Terri Horman to return Kyron Horman or, if he's dead, to say where his remains are.
June 4 "marks two years of this nightmare, two years since my son went missing," Young said. "I believe that Terri Horman knows where my son is. I believe that Terri Horman is responsible for where my son is."
Attempts by The Associated Press to contact Terri Horman were unsuccessful on Friday afternoon. Stephen Houze, the lawyer representing her in her divorce from Kyron's father Kaine Horman, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Investigators have long focused on Terri Horman, although they have not named her as a suspect or filed criminal charges. The suit accuses Terri Horman of kidnapping Kyron, by herself or with help from others.
Young is seeking $10 million. She says she will give away any money she's awarded.
The boy was 7 when he disappeared June 4, 2010, after attending a science fair at his school. Young's attorney, Elden Rosenthal, said the civil suit will work on a "parallel track" with the criminal investigation, but declined to say what kind of reaction the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office gave when he informed them of Young's decision to sue.
Lt. Jason Gates of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office declined to say whether the civil suit could affect the criminal investigation. He said the investigation continues.
"We just need a break in the case," Gates said.
Young said she's not frustrated with the progress of the criminal investigation. The suit was filed Friday, Rosenthal said, to conform with the two-year civil statute of limitations for plaintiffs seeking monetary damages.
Civil allegations require a lower standard of proof — a preponderance of evidence — than criminal charges, which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
"Ms. Young is seeking damages in order to prevent Terri Horman from moving beyond what she has done to Kyron," Rosenthal said. "There are some cases that require victims of wrongs to use the civil justice system. This is one of them."