Friday, September 10, 2010
by Anne Bremner
Remember Diane Downs? In 1984, she was convicted in the state of Oregon for the murder, attempted murder, and criminal assault ... of her own children. This was 1984, before Court TV, Nancy Grace, the saturation of cable news and true crime shows. In Diane’s case, it took the police nine months to make an arrest. She claimed that her car had been hijacked and that a “strange man” had shot her and her three children.
As it turned out, she was the one who shot her own children and herself. Alas, her story never held water. She behaved oddly, was caught in several lies, and after nine months of investigation, detectives were able to acquire enough evidence for prosecutors to indict. Who is to say how a person whose child has disappeared or has been murdered should behave?
Twenty-six years ago, we didn’t have the access to potential suspects we have today. Diane Downs didn’t have a Facebook page, so we weren’t able to peer into her comings and goings around the time of her crime. We didn’t tune in to Nancy Grace to check the latest developments, nor were we able to get online to chat about our suspicions with a worldwide audience. Had we been able to, I suspect we would have come to the same conclusions. That woman is lying! This is the same conclusion many have come to regarding Terri Horman. However, this time, we have had access to myriad websites, local news shows, social networking sites, and almost daily briefings from the father and biological mom of missing Kyron Horman.
Those of us who have followed Kyron's case from the beginning remember the odd behavior Terri Horman exhibited on the day her stepson disappeared; The Facebook posting about "hittin' the gym," the bizarre vacant look in Ms. Horman's eyes at the family news conference, and, most troubling, her refusal to engage the public at all. Her soon-to-be ex-husband, and his former wife (Kyron’s biological mother), have done countless press conferences and have made themselves accessible to the police for repeated questioning. But Ms. Horman has remained silent and uncooperative. The public therefore has been left to weed out information about this woman -- the last person to see Kyron -- on our own.
The similarities between Diane Downs and Terri Horman are striking indeed. Both women have children from numerous relationships, and both women appear to use sex as a tool to manipulate. In Terri’s case, it appears that she attempted to seduce a gardener in her employ in the hopes he would agree to murder her husband, Kaine.
As if that wasn’t enough, Ms. Horman was found to have sent lurid text messages and images of herself in various stages of undress to a man who was helping with the search for her stepson just weeks after the boy had gone missing. From the beginning, her story didn’t hold water. She claimed to have gone to school early for a science show but did not stay for the whole thing. Her husband claims she took his truck that day so she could bring home Kyron’s science project, which she never did. She claims to have been certain places during the several hours after leaving the school, yet her cell phone pings tell a different story.
As with Ms. Downs, people have a feeling they know she is not telling the truth but must wait for the wheels of justice to grind slowly and methodically. I wonder what would have been Diane Downs' Facebook status update on the day she did her deadly deed. “Hittin’ the salon and then off to the mall for a little retail therapy!” If it walks like a duck... .
Photos courtesy of Alate News and The OregonianTweet