An 11-year-old went missing in rural Missouri while riding his bike in 2002. Another child, 13, went missing five years later. Their discovery would become known as the “Missouri Miracle.” Some thought they would never be found alive and their abductor was hiding in plain sight.
On October 6, 2002, 11-year-old Shawn Hornbeck was riding his bike to a friend’s house near Richwood when he was knocked off his bike by a van. The van’s driver rushed out, seeming to want to help him at first – then grabbed him and brought him into the van.
That was the last many people would see of Shawn Hornbeck for more than four years.
A search went on for Shawn and his parents eventually started a foundation in his name to assist in searches of abducted children.
What nobody knew at the time was that Shawn was still alive and had been taken to an apartment in Kirkwood, where he’d live with his kidnapper for the next four years. He was even made to pose like his abductor’s son.
On Jan. 8, 2007, Ben Ownby was taken while waiting at a bus stop in Beaufort, located in Franklin County. The kidnapper put the 13-year-old in a white Nissan pickup truck and sped away, but not before Mitchell Hults, one of Ownby’s friends, got a good look at the vehicle and provided a detailed description to authorities.
The FBI followed a tip on a white pick-up truck that brought them to a pizzeria in Kirkwood. One of the store managers, a man named Michael Devlin, owned the truck.
An FBI agent was able to get a confession from Devlin. Devlin led the agents to his apartment where the two boys were sitting playing video games.
After the FBI caught Devlin and arrested him, Shawn and Ben tried to go back to leading normal lives. But the abuses they suffered were horrendous, and it has not been easy to recover.
According to AWM, during his time in Devlin’s possession, Devlin physically and sexually abused Shawn. Devlin used guns and threats of murder if Shawn would not do everything he asked.
During an interview, Shawn spoke about how he survived.
“I knew my family was out there and they would never give up. And I’m sure these girls felt the same way. I mean you just have to hold on to your life because if you don’t, you’re just going to be lost within yourself and you can’t have that,” said Shawn.
Watch the video report below for more details: