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Covering the Kyron Horman case

You’ve all seen him by now. Kyron Horman. He is the cute little guy in glasses, standing in front of his science fair project on the red-eyed tree frog. He’s clearly so proud of himself. That picture was taken on the last day anyone saw Kyron. It was June 4th—seven weeks ago.

When I first met Kyron’s biological parents—Kaine Horman and Desiree Young— a couple of weeks ago, I was struck by how composed they were.

They had been through so much already. They seemed drained and deeply worried but also determined.

They told me they had turned a corner.

“I think I’ve moved past the sad, depressed all the time, crying nonstop-- to anger and frustration and dedication,” Desiree told me.

"It’s hard. I think we’re pretty much in the same place. It is—just that relentless focus to find him that, you know, drives us every day,” Kaine said.

I’m new to the Dateline NBC family so if you’re a die-hard NBC fan, you may not be familiar with my work. Over the years, I’ve been proud to cover a wide-range of stories that hopefully had an impact.

But the stories that stick with me forever are the stories that touch me as a parent.

I am the mother of two beautiful kids. I have a seven-year-old son. So when my new bosses asked me to travel to Portland, Oregon and meet with the parents of seven-year-old Kyron Horman I knew it would be a tough assignment. As parents, we all know intellectually that these are rare cases, but we can so easily imagine ourselves in the same position. The panic we would feel. The desperation.

Kyron’s elementary school was gracious enough to allow us inside to see his classroom. It is a beautiful old school, a throwback to a simpler time. There are little gardens planted by the children outside. The other day a few mothers were outside clearing away the weeds as summer vacation rolls on.

Kyron’s entire graduating class is just 26 kids. It’s the kind of rural community where everyone knows everyone.

I was struck by what a pretty area it is. There are rolling hills and old red barns next to vineyards and big swaths of tall pines.

Kyron’s parents are convinced that someone in that community knows where Kyron is. They want us to air an hour on "Dateline" because they hope it might help jar a memory, or convince someone to speak up. They’re convinced that Kyron is still alive. And with all my heart, I hope they’re right.

The report on the Kyron Horman case airs July 26, Dateline NBC Monday, 10 p.m./9 C. Watch a preview here. Learn more about Kate Snow and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.