Why Does the Kryon Horman Disappearance Consume Media?


Why is there so much news media interest in Kryon Horman, who disappeared from a Portland, Or., school on June 4? The Oregonian says more than a dozen journalists turned up even for a routine closed-door meeting outside a judge’s chambers. A People magazine reporter has camped out in Portland for weeks. Websites devoted to the case have popped up all over the Internet. And reader comments to online stories have soared into the thousands.

Part of it is the heart-tugging image of the innocent, bespectacled face with a gap-toothed grin. The fractured family dynamics and sensational twists in this story have captivated the nation. Perhaps the biggest factor feeding interest in the Kyron story has to do with the nature of his disappearance. Although hundreds of thousands of children are reported missing every year, about 115 are cases in which a child is abducted by a stranger and killed, held for ransom, or taken for another reason. Kyron’s case, though still unsolved, falls in this category, said Ernie Allen of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. One third of those 115 kids are taken off the street or from a vehicle. The rest are mostly snatched from their home, yard, park or wooded area or from a store. Only two — fewer than 2 percent — vanish from a school or day care.

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