With all of Portland, Oregon looking for missing boy Kyron Horman, inclduing 21 billboards around town featuring his face, there are bound to be reported sightings of look-a-likes. And that is the problem facing several area families.
The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office has had four reports of children who resemble Kyron, including one last week involving a woman and a boy spotted boarding a train bound for Portland International Airport.
Portland police and airport authorities caught up with the woman and determined the child wasn't Kyron, said Lt. Mary Lindstrand, a sheriff's office spokeswoman.
"That wasn't the first time she'd been stopped," Lindstrand said.
Don Nys was so alarmed by his son's resemblance to Kyron that he started carrying his son's school identification card in his wallet, just in case. Strangers have approached him, saying his son looked like Kyron.
"When you go into public, you get paranoid," Nys said. "What are people thinking? Are they thinking I have a missing child with me?"
This phenomenon is not restricted to Portland, or even the United States. Tarin Elliot, 9, lives in Vancouver, Canada, and he looks so much like Kyron, he's being stopped there. A couple of women spotted Tarin in a grocery store, and started whispering to each other about whether it was Kyron.
"It's not Kyron," Tarin's mother told the women, who apologized for any trouble they'd caused.
Tarin's father has had similar problems. A security guard at a Wal-Mart followed them into the men's room.
"Is that your boy?" the guard asked Tarin's father.
"Yes," said Marcus Elliott. "That's my boy. It's not (Kyron)."
Lindstrand said she hopes the families of Kyron look-alikes understand if they're approached by police. "It's safer to ask than not to ask," she said. "Better safe than sorry."