Blink On Crime Kyron Horman Investigation EXCLUSIVE: Terri Horman Friend DeDe Spicher Breaks Her Silence After Passing Polygraph- Requests DA Clear Her Publicly
A Blink On Crime Exclusive: DeDe Spicher speaks for the first time about her ordeal in the Kyron Horman investigation. ©
S. Christina Stoy, Editor In Chief- Blink On Crime
Lea Conner, Attorney- contributing editor, and, legal analyst
In the days following the disappearance of 7-year-old Kyron Horman from the Skyline School on June 4th, 2010, Terri Horman’s inner circle of friends, family and associates—casual acquaintances, shop clerks, and gym employees—were deluged by law enforcement.
Word spread quickly that law enforcement was after anyone who knew, might have known, or had any dealings with Terri Horman. The term used to describe law enforcement’s behavior toward potential witnesses was “bullying. ”
As the president of her former condominium owner’s association, DeDe Spicher was involved in helping the association with litigation against the condo’s builder. Spicher had a working relationship with the association’s legal team, and one afternoon, she casually mentioned the investigation into Kyron’s disappearance to the association’s legal team. Although DeDe had not been contacted by law enforcement, counsel for her condo association recommended to DeDe that, in light of what DeDe had heard about the investigation, if law enforcement were to contact her, she should agree to interview only with counsel present. She asked the attorney to sit in if that happened, to which he agreed. He quickly referred Spicher to attorney Chad Stavley.
With a search warrant in hand for electronic devices only, to which DeDe directed investigators, law enforcement proceeded to search her entire home. Multnomah County Detective Keith Krafve asked Spicher to answer some questions.
DeDe said she replied, “I would be happy to answer any and all questions you have but I would like to do so in the presence of counsel. ”
Law enforcement, in turn, began a prolonged and highly orchestrated effort to bully DeDe Spicher.
When I first introduced myself to Ms. Spicher, I offered my apologies for what she had been through and told her that in my personal opinion, she had been unfairly maligned, if not persecuted. I thanked her for her trust of me to tell her story. Ms. Spicher paid me some kind compliments on my coverage of Kyron’s case to date.
I found her extremely bright, animated and witty, with a charmingly confident , and self-deprecating sense of expression.
I also found Ms. Spicher to be very naive, even now, as to the standards, protocols and practices utilized by law enforcement.
I can’t say that I blame Ms. Spicher for trusting law enforcement so blindly. The fact is, she grew up around law enforcement but saw very little about the actual workings of an investigation. Ms. Spicher is the daughter of a well-respected—now retired—deputy with the Klamath Falls Sheriff’s Office.
At times, I found myself questioning if I would be able to exhibit the sort of resilience this woman has. Probably not.
I found DeDe Spicher to be unwavering as to her account of events on June 4th, 2010, and ensuing dates.
It was only a few weeks ago, during a meeting with MCSO detectives Mark Herron and Keith Krafve , investigators unofficially cleared DeDe Spicher of any involvement in Kyron’s disappearance or of having any knowledge of anyone elses. She is hopeful that Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill will issue a public statement from his office clearing her officially.
To date, neither the Multnomah County Sheriffs Office nor the DA’s office has publicly declared any persons cleared in the active investigation.
DeDe is adamant that she was not involved, nor did she ever see anything that led her to believe Terri Horman was involved.
DeDe spoke freely and without hesitation as to the relentless harassment she experienced at the hands of law enforcement.
However, DeDe is adamant that she does not want this piece to express any sort of “pity DeDe” perspective. She does not want anyone to feel sorry for her.
DeDe hopes that by speaking publicly, the public’s curiosity will be satisfied, and the focus of the investigation into Kyron’s disappearance can return to an actual investigation.
This is her story.
In Her Own Words
“. . . On a positive note, I have met some really nice people out of all this, so that’s how I choose to look at it. I can’t control other people’s actions or opinions about me…”
“I did not know anything’ I never knew anything ;and I could not get them (law enforcement) to believe me for over three years. ”
“. . . Since the investigation started, I believe they were able to narrow the time I was supposedly missing [never was, never left the property] but they never shared that with me and have not to this day. . ”
“. . . There was no communication between Terri and I since her birthday party in March , and we had only been in touch the December before that [in 2009]. Terri and I were not best buds. I think that was something investigators were really hung up on. They could not understand that I would rush to someone’s aid that on the surface was a more casual friend. They saw that as behavior of someone that had something to hide, or as a motive of some kind…”
What investigators believed that motive was, they certainly never shared with DeDe Spicher.
No Reid School Alum
Investigators pummeled DeDe from the very start: You were missing at the same time that we can’t pin down Terri Horman’s whereabouts. Why did Terri pick you up? Did someone else pick you up and bring you back? We know you left the property, we have proof.
These are questions demanded from DeDe Spicher over and over again, for three straight years. No matter what she did to try to accommodate law enforcement–and she and her attorney Chad Stavely went through extraordinary means by any standards to assist law enforcement–investigators refused to believe she had no knowledge of the circumstances of Kyron’s disappearance. Until now.
DeDe Spicher’s story has never wavered.
DeDe arrived at her job at Westwind Farm Studio–a sprawling and lush forty-plus acre property scheduled to be on the Garden Conservatory Tour the next day. She parked at the main house, left her cell phone which was turned on, and her lunch cooler in her Ford Explorer.
She went inside the main house to check in for her assignment, and for the first time since working there, she was invited to lunch with the others at the house. There was no time set. The invitation was open-ended and she believed based on the timing of her project completions at the opposite end of the property. This was Spicher’s customary daily routine. Her duties in preparation for the garden tour took her to the end of the grounds for the bulk of the morning, near the road. Where she was working, bent over in tall grasses and vegetation is not visible from the main house.
Spicher was not wearing a watch nor carrying her cell phone, and headed to the house for lunch after completing work on one section of the property. When she arrived, she was told that Ms. Hockensmith tried calling DeDe’s name outside when everyone was ready for lunch. When DeDe did not respond and could not be seen from the main house, Ms. Hockensmith also called DeDe’s cell phone. Spicher said she apologized and explained her project’s location and status, and then sat down to eat. DeDe resumed her work day to completion. Her cell phone records confirm this account.
On one occasion, at the request of law enforcement , Spicher agreed to walk the property and demonstrate her activities that day. During one reenactment,, a female investigator attempted to mimic Hockensmith’s “lunch call” while Spicher was out near the property line. Spicher heard the investigator’s call.
“I heard that person that day. They never told me where she was standing, I just know I could not see her which is easy to do if you saw the grounds. I don’t know why I never heard the property owner that day except to say I try to be very mindful when I am working, and gardening is a love of mine I tend to immerse in. It was the first time I was invited to lunch and was looking forward to sharing the meal on break. Had I heard her, I would have stopped immediately and headed in. It was a nice treat. ”
It sounded like an innocent explanation. I asked DeDe why investigators did not believe her.
She responded: I was repeatedly questioned, hounded,my home and belongings were taken and searched for some time. Law enforcement kept telling me in interviews I agreed to participate in, by the way, that the only way to clear myself was to take a polygraph, which my attorney advised me not to. Since I had been told by Terri that she was told she failed when she was adamant that she was being truthful, I had no desire to be set up like that. I do not know to this day if Terri actually failed any polygraphs or law enforcement just told her they did. I know that once she told me that [investigators claimed she failed her polygraph], my advice to her was that she should not speak to anyone without an attorney, but she continued to ignore it, I think for a few more days. As I recall, I don’t think I was the only person or friend telling her that.
Editors Note: blinkoncrime.com has been able to confirm through an independent source which does not wish to be identified publicly, that Terri Horman was referred to her criminal defense attorney Stephen Houze via a family friend and attorney located in Bend, Oregon. Subsequently, Kaine Horman requested a search of the Bend attorney’s property, and indicated that Kyron may have gone there.
It was either completely naive or bold for Spicher to submit to a polygraph under those conditions. She was, by her own account, telling the truth, and then being punished for it.
However, investigators were adamant at “proving” a theory that Spicher left the Westwind Farm. I asked, “Considering there is absolutely no communication between you and anyone else, and you are working on a 40-acre farm on this day, wouldn’t it be true that the theory had to be that. . . ? ”
Spicher interrupted: Yes, that Terri swung by and picked me up for some reason, or some other unknown person. ”
The problem with that theory is that it required another person who was not at the farm to know where Spicher was working that day come meet her, without being seen by anyone else, and without communication with anyone else.
Spicher: “On several occasions,I reminded investigators that there was a witness to where I was working on that property on June 4th 2010, which I surmise would complete whatever timeline holes they thought I had. This has never been released publicly, but there was also an artisan show/market sale on the property the next day. There were a few vendors in and out of the property that day, but I remembered one specifically while I was working near the road that morning. I was there when he dropped off his pots/pottery and whatever else he had to show or sell. ”
The artist/driver who delivered his pottery was in his late twenties to early thirties and drove a red pick up. .
Stoy: So law enforcement knew that there was a witness from day one, that could corroborate your logistics on the property and approximate timing, is that correct?
Spicher: YES!I did not know the man’s name or the name of his creations or anything, and when I asked law enforcement for the information to provide my attorney they refused to even say if they spoke to him, or if they had, if they were now satisfied I was where I said I was and at what time. They declined to provide it to my attorney as well, and by that time Ms. Hockensmith had an attorney as well so I was not permitted to just call and ask her. I even went to the Saturday market a few times to see if I could locate him myself.
Stoy: Why did Ms. Hockensmith need an attorney if you know?
Spicher: I assume it was because all kinds of people were showing up at her property and pounding on the gates, etc. She was hounded by the media for weeks, and all because she gave me a job. I was horrified for her. All because of me.
Stoy: Was there any connection between Hockensmith and the Hormans?
Spicher: Not that I am aware of, they were on completely different socio-economic levels and their kids went to a French American School, not Skyline. I would not even know where they would bump into each other.
Stoy: Has anyone ever mentioned to you whether Hockensmith hired Rudy Sanchez at any time?
Spicher: No. Did she?
Stoy: I am going to need to check my archives on that one, I thought so but I could be confusing her with a different property owner.
(Editors Note: Hockensmith’s friend and fellow farm-owner Jean Ann Von Krevelen did hire RS Landscaping Maintenence. DeDe Spicher was interning with Ms. Von Krevelen, and was referred to Maryellen Hockensmith to work on her property. It was not to be a paid position as Ms. Spicher was willing to ‘work for her sweat” to learn all she could at the time. Spicher said she has never met Rodolpho (Rudy) Sanchez nor has she observed him on either property. )
Frink or Fink- You Decide
So how does a casual friend such as Spicher become elevated to Terri Horman’s lifeline to the outside world, only to turn into the number two suspect in a de facto criminal investigation of Terri Horman?
Norman W. Frink, longtime chief deputy district attorney for Multnomah County, was former District Attorney Mike Schrunk’s right hand man. While no longer in office and the DA assignments to Kyron’s investigations are new,there are strong reverbations from the previous administration.
Stoy: You mentioned that law enforcement accused you of wasting their resources and distracting the investigation. In what way did they mean or how did they explain that to you?
Spicher: First it was Chief ADA Norm Frink who said I was wasting their time and resources by not “cooperating,” by which he meant “take their poly[graph]. ” That was just a couple of days before news first broke about my “involvement,” and was all part of his blackmailing me.
Stoy: How do you mean blackmailing you,the DA? Frink?
Spicher: Yes. We were in a meeting/interview and. .
Stoy: Was your attorney present?
Spicher: Yes. Sitting right there. Frink said that we do not think you had anything to do with this, but we do think you have information about Terri Horman’s involvement, and we do think she is involved. Either you take our polygraph, or provide the information we believe you have, or, I don’t care, we will tell the family that we do think you’re involved.
Stoy: What was your response?
Spicher: I said that I understood the need for them to do what they had to do, but that I was not going to tell them something that was not true. I did not really expect them to say something they knew to be false. They did. The next day, my name was released to the press by Desiree Young and Kaine Horman. It was a statement about me not cooperating and I think advising others not to or words to that effect.
Stoy: I am not sure I even know how to respond to that, or if I should during the interview. For me, that is tantamount to telling you that were looking at facing an indictment of your own. I think a reasonable conclusion by someone in your position would have been that you could expect to be arrested for something they knew you did not do, regardless of what it was, to further a case that they seemingly had no evidence in. Again, I find you courageous to have ever had another meeting with any law enforcement officer or DA in this case. I think it would have been very, very easy to say, “Eff this. They are not going to find Kyron with anything I have to offer because I do not know anything, and they are not going to find him by putting words in my mouth against anyone else. I need to protect myself. ” You never did that. Courageous.
Spicher: Thank you, but I really don’t feel courageous. To me courage is when one does something for which they have a great deal of fear. Mostly, I haven’t been afraid, which is what pissed law enforcement off from the very beginning. The one time I was afraid was after the ADA tried to blackmail me and I began to realize I might have to live in a world where the truth didn’t matter. I was not courageous at all in facing that fear.
Stoy: I am not an attorney but based on what you are telling me I don’t see how that is construed as anything but blackmail. He unilaterally gave you 2 choices. Both of which were in contradiction to your 5th amendment rights considering he was ready to make a public criminal allegation about you- does not matter to whom it was.
On the following day, July 22, 2010 Norm Frink made good on his threat to DeDe Spicher.
In a statement late tonight, Kaine Horman and Kyron’s mother, Desiree Young, and Desiree’s husband, Tony Young, said they had been briefed by law enforcement and believe Spicher is hampering the investigation. They implored her to cooperate.
“She has not only been in close communication with Terri but has been providing Terri with support and advice that is not in the best interests of our son,” the statement said. “Additional information provided shows that she is refusing to cooperate with law enforcement, she is also going as far as to suggest to others that may have information regarding Kyron’s disappearance, not to cooperate as well. ”
In one fell swoop DeDe Spicher was the Richard Jewell of Portland, courtesy of Norm Frink.
Nothing grand about the grand jury
Dede Spicher was called before the first grand jury in July 2010. She was never asked any questions. I asked her if she had any information on that grand juries status and whether or not a true bill was sought, sought and denied, suspended, or dismissed.
Spicher: I don’t know any of that, but I believe that it was an election year and it was all DA strategy. I think they called me to scare Terri Horman and maybe Rudy Sanchez.
Stoy: Why do you say Rudy Sanchez? He testified as well, so that has a layer of at least limited use immunity and for all we know he had a separate agreement for what is called transactional immunity. I have no information on that though, he has never responded to my requests for interview.
Spicher: I don’t know, I just know that he is who Terri felt was involved. His name never came up until Terri was asked who had been on the property that was not a friend or relative.
DeDe was again subpoenad to appear before the grand jury on July 10, 2013. She felt that it was her impression that law enforcement and the DA were running out of time due to the civil suit and divorce case, and she read that the grand jury was extended for 6 months previously and about to expire. At the time, the civil case Desiree Young filed against Terri Horman and has since withdrawn was about to resume. A stay had been granted in November 2012, a month before a scheduled hearing to compel further deposition of Spicher in that matter.
DeDe assumed that what she did not know might, potentially, help the investigation by potentially shifting focus away from red herrings as to her knowledge of events. The problem now for Spicher was that the prosecutor had already demonstrated to her that it was not above using almost any means or tactics, and at the time she had concerns that even her own lawyer believed she was telling the truth. Stavley advised her to tell the truth, tell everything she knew. She did, repeatedly.
Stoy: So, you get a subpoena once again to appear before the grand jury. Detectives are telling you to your face they do not believe you. The prosecutor [Frink] has demonstrated he does not believe you. According to what you have shared with me so far, you question if your own attorney believes you. How lonely of a place was that? I think most people would have been completely terrified. How did you cope with your fear?
Spicher: You know I was terrified. It seemed like every time law enforcement would ask me for something, I would provide it, and it was like a fresh new hell each time. It was not going away. I could not even read about the case or discuss it with anyone other than my parents because it was absolutely clear to me that the public now believed I was the obstacle to either solving the case or arresting Terri to solve the case and/or find Kyron and I knew that to be false. The truth did not matter to anyone. I was told this so often I began to even question myself. I won’t forget a conversation I had with a detective about whether or not I was unconsciously suppressing information I did not know I had. I mean, imagine my response to that. I said, well if I am suppressing something, then I think that means I have to wait for it to enter my conscious by way of my subconscious and if and when it does, I would certainly let you know.
Stoy: So what were they suggesting? Hypnosis?
Spicher: No. Although I am not sure I would not have preferred that. My attorney had advised against taking a polygraph. I believed Terri back in June 2010 when she said she was telling the truth and they told her that the lie detector test was saying she was lying and I also knew that even if I agreed to it, that law enforcement was under no obligation to tell me if I passed or failed and even if they did tell me, that I COULD trust that information to be correct. For me, it was not going to be an end to this because I knew that I had been telling the truth and that was not what anyone wanted to hear so what was verifying that going to get me? It was more like the potential beginning of a fresh new hell.
DeDe absolutely believed that her impending grand jury appearance was designed to result in her facing some sort of charge for something that investigators believed would lead her to ultimately implicate Terri Horman in Kyron’s disappearance. In fact, she was told that what was an honest tax mistake/error on her part after she ended up being paid a nominal amount by Mrs. Hockensmith but never received a 1099, could end up placing her in hot water. The Capone tactic for a woman that took the job with the understanding that it was not a paid endeavor and when Ms. Hockensmith told Spicher she wanted to compensate her she declined. Hockensmith insisted.
On this basis, DeDe was advised to and agreed to an immunity deal. The terms of which are under seal and Spicher nixed discussing citing a verbal agreement she made until such time as it is unsealed.
A source inside the investigation who does not wish to be identified as they are not authorized to speak publicly on the case- has confirmed that Spicher’s agreement includes provisions that she continue to cooperate with law enforcement as needed, be available to testify in any proceedings, and to take a polygraph.
Spicher declined to say to whom she committed to not discuss the agreement but that it also included neither party discussing that she had testified before the grand jury.
It would appear that Ms. Spicher is the only one keeping up her end of the bargain as Attorney Rosenthal announced publicly that DeDe Spicher had testified- a fact that to this day she has no idea how he came by that information.
Spicher appeared before the grand jury for five and a half hours on July 10, 2013.
Because grand jury proceedings are secret, and the DA, grand jurors, and state court personnel are barred from discussing the goings on, the only person who can speak to a witness’ testimony is the witness. In this case, the grand jury witness is DeDe Spicher.
Stoy: So before we get into the particulars, could you sum up those hours in the room at all- would you compare it to the civil deposition you endured by Desiree Young’s attorney Mr. Rosenthal?
Spicher: (laughs) No. It was far more comprehensive. I am referring to the civil deposition.
Stoy: When asked about your weight, you were far more reserved and eloquent than I would have been. . . . If someone asked me my weight at a deposition, I would have said I did not know but would be glad to sit on him and let him guess.
Spicher: I know, right? Not me, I am direct, I had nothing to hide, and I was not intimidated in the least.
Stoy: So without telling me what questions you were asked specifically, what would you characterize as your testimony ?
Spicher: They were obsessed with my sexuality. Was I a lesbian,what were my thoughts on homosexuals: Did I ever have a threesome with anyone, with Kaine and Terri, etc. I was thinking if I were a juror, I would be like, what does this have to do with anything? I answered every question respectfully and honestly but my takeaway is that some folks still have a hard time believing that I would rush to a friend’s aid if we had not been in contact, or particularly close in the first place. I responded that when your friend texts “I need you now,” I got in my car and headed over there. There was never a question in my mind. Even if I knew that everything that happened to me over the last 3 years would happen all over again, I would do the same thing today. That’s what friends do. I also testified when it was clear that sentiment was not shared by some, that I certainly was hopeful that they never needed a friend “immediately”.
Because of the travel time ,Spicher requested that since investigators wanted to give her the polygraph in Portland, that they schedule it for the day after the grand jury. It was easier for her to extend her time in Portland than to have to return again. They agreed.
Upon arrival, although Spicher was prepared for, and extended her visit to take the polygraph as committed, she was told that they had decided that because she was on the stand for such a grueling afternoon the day before that they never want to give anyone a polygraph after such an experience- as it might skew the results. She made a mental note that they had told her previously that one’s emotional state and exhaustion level are taken into consideration in a polygraph. In other words, while investigators were telling her Terri Horman previously failed her polygraphs, and she asked them if that could have been due to the fact that she went through hours and hours of interviews just prior to the exams, investigators now had a different story.
Herron Hamster Wheel
Mark Herron and Keith Krafve began the interview the same exact way they had for years.
“We still can’t seem to put together the right timeline from when you were at the property. ” And on again it went. Spicher continued the interview as she had agreed to, but informed them that if this was her time use that to perform the polygraph they would need to travel to Klamath Falls on their own dime.
They did just that. DeDe Spicher passed the polygraph administered by the same Gresham sheriff’s deputy who administered the polygraph exam to Terri Horman. Spicher says in particular, Mark Herron was jubilant. She said it was like a party atmosphere. Spicher was verklempt:
‘Well, I am happy that you are happy, I guess, but the thing is, I have been telling you the same thing for three years so I guess I am just happy you’re happy ”
Herron went on to blame Spicher for the thousands of hours, and dollars that her refusal to take a polygraph cost the investigation. Then, they asked to speak to Spicher’s attorney privately, outside of her presence. She agreed.
After a few minutes*, they called Spicher back in and asked for her permission to meet with her privately without her attorney. Spicher and her attorney agreed.
Krafve starts by telling her: We are so glad you are on the team finally. This is such a big step in this case and you are really one of us.
Then, the hook.
We asked to speak to you without (your attorney) because we would like you to participate in a sting against Terri. We can’t ask you in front of counsel, and you cannot tell him what we said because he will then be obligated to make some calls as a member of the bar and all that.
Spicher asks if she can at least discuss it with her dad, a retired deputy with the Klamath Falls Sheriff’s Office. Herron said she could, but that he could not discuss it with her attorney, either.
Spicher told them it was 10: 00 PM , and reminded them that she has not had any contact with Terri since July 2010. Spicher told investigators that she was not comfortable with the proposal and would definitely need to sleep on it. They told her they would follow up with her.
Stavley, presumably uncomfortable with law enforcement’s request to meet with this client without him, asked Spicher to tell him what the meeting was about. She told her attorney that it was something they told her she could not tell him and that she wanted to get out of there and discuss it later. Stavley said he was not at all comfortable with that arrangement, and within hours Spicher told him that law enforcement wanted her to participate in a sting operation.
It was not until last week that Detective Krafve contacted Spicher directly to follow up on their request for DeDe Spicher to participate in a surreptitiously recorded sting where she was to call Terri Horman, and at the direction of law enforcement, read from a prepared agenda to include coaching by them.
* Edit to reflect changing the word twenty to “a few” for accuracy. 9/11/13 4:43 PM EST