Ben Ownby and Shawn Hornbeck found alive

Friday, January 12, 2007

BEAUFORT, Mo. (AP) -- A 13-year-old boy missing since the beginning of the week was found alive in a suburban St. Louis home, along with a 15-year-old boy missing since 2002, authorities said Friday.

Sheriff Gary Toelke said Ben Ownby and Shawn Hornbeck were found in a Kirkwood home belonging to Michael Devlin, 41. Devlin has been charged with one count of first-degree kidnapping, and Franklin County prosecutor Robert Parks said more charges are likely.

Ownby was last seen Monday, when he stepped off his school bus. The straight-A student and Boy Scout was last seen running the few hundred feet down a gravel road to his home.

Hornbeck disappeared from his home in rural Washington County in October 2002, when he was 11. He had gone for a bike ride and never returned.

Toelke said both boys appeared unharmed. Ownby has been reunited with his family, and Hornbeck's parents were coming to meet their son in Union, the Franklin County seat, Toelke said.

Toelke said the break in the case came Thursday night. Kirkwood city police officers were serving a warrant on an apartment complex when they noticed a white truck matching the description of a vehicle authorities had been searching for in the Ownby investigation.

Kirkwood officers contacted the Franklin County Sheriff's Department and determined where the owner of the truck was. Authorities then searched Devlin's house and found both boys.

Toelke said authorities were surprised to find Hornbeck, who identified himself when officers arrived.

Toelke said authorities were still investigating the motive behind the abductions.

"There are a lot of things we don't know right now," he said.

Around 5 p.m. Friday, police escorted Ownby into the sheriff's department. The slight boy was wearing a red shirt and jeans and appeared somewhat dazed as he walked inside. A moment later, a car door opened and Hornbeck stepped out. He had a think head of dark hair and was dressed in a leather jacket and jeans.

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