An Amber Alert was issued for Ben Ownby, 13, after he was last seen getting off his school bus in Beaufort, MO on Monday, January 8th. The police received a tip from Michael Hults, one of Ben’s friends, to look for a white pickup, possibly an S-10 or a Nissan with a camper shell and no hubcaps.
Thanks to this information, the FBI and local Police followed the lead. Then, luckily it became useful when they received tips from a couple of concerned citizens in the Kirkwood area.
FBI and local Police received a search warrant Friday Night, and went into Michael Devlin’s apartment. Immediately, they were greeted by two boys, Ben Ownby, the 13-year old that had been kidnapped about a week ago, and to their surprise, they were greeted by another boy who said his name was Shawn Hornbeck. The Officers looked at him and said, “We’ve been looking for you for 4 years”.
Shawn Hornbeck, 15, was last seen on October 6, 2002, riding his bicycle in the St. Louis suburb of Richwoods.
NOW, They had BOTH been found!
The parents of the two rescued boys expressed great joy and gratitude on Saturday, with one encouraging other parents of lost children to not give up hope.
“We immersed ourselves in searching for Shawn. We never stopped. We had never given up hope,” Craig Ackers, Hornbeck’s stepfather, said during the television interview.
“Everyone else out there that has children that are missing, all they really have left is hope and that is one thing that we can still offer them is hope,” he stated. “It is obviously possible that miracles can happen and can happen again.”
This case has gained national attention, and law enforcement officials said the rescue stirred up memories of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart, the girl who was kidnapped from her Utah home in June 2002 and found safe nine months later.
Both boys and their families emerged at a news conference, though neither boy spoke.
“We are just ecstatic and don’t want to let him out of our sight,” said Doris Ownby, mother of Ben Ownby.
41-year old male, Michael Devlin, Sex Offender, is being held on the charges of kidnapping the two boys, as well as possible other charges. His bail is set at $1 million. “He is expected to be arraigned next week”, said Robert Parks, Franklin County, Missouri, Prosecuting Attorney.
This case just goes to show that miracles can happen…AND…hopefully…as well as prayerfully, This man will be brought to justice.