It was a great day in St. Louis yesterday for two families that have been reunited. Shawn Hornbeck, 15, was kidnapped 4 1/2 years ago and 13-year-old Ben Ownby, taken after getting off his school bus Monday afternoon, were returned to their parents after a routine search warrant led police to investigate the Kirkwood, Mo., apartment of Michael Devlin.
“I still feel like I’m in a dream, only this time it’s a good dream, not the nightmare I’ve had four-and-a-half years,” Hornbeck’s mother, Pam Akers, said Saturday at an elementary school adorned with balloons and welcome-home signs.
Hornbeck’s stepfather, Craig Akers, said he and his wife were in disbelief when they were reunited with the boy.
“There was that split second of shock,” he said. “Once I saw the face, I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s my son.'”
Hornbeck smiled often, his mother’s arm draped around him, and seemed at ease. He was much bigger than pictures of the missing 11-year-old, his hair darker and longer.
Authorities have declined to provide further details on the investigation they did state that, the key to finding the boys was a beat-up white pickup truck spotted by a schoolmate of Ownby’s who got off the bus at the same time. The friend saw the pickup speeding away about the time Ownby vanished from the gravel road near his home.
On Thursday night, Kirkwood city police officers saw a white truck matching the description. They traced the owner, contacted the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, then searched Devlin’s home Friday and found the boys.
Missing Children Statistics:
In 2005 there were 66,548 children reported missing in Canada.
|Breakdown for 2005|