Abducted boys, one gone 4 years, found
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published January 13, 2007
BEAUFORT, Mo. - A 13-year-old boy who vanished from the gravel road near his home five days ago was found alive Friday about 60 miles away in a suburban St. Louis home, along with a 15-year-old boy missing since 2002, authorities said.
The boys were found in a Kirkwood home belonging to Michael Devlin, 41, who has been charged with one count of first-degree kidnapping, Sheriff Gary Toelke said.
The sheriff said both boys appeared unharmed. William Ownby, who goes by Ben, appeared dazed as he walked inside the Sheriff's Department, where he was reunited with his family Friday night.
"His eyes lit up like silver dollars," said Loyd Bailie, who was escorted to the Franklin County Sherrif's Department with Ben's parents.
Everyone broke into tears, and Ben's parents embraced him, Bailie said.
The straight-A student and Boy Scout was last seen after he stepped off his school bus and ran toward his Beaufort home down a gravel road on Monday.
A friend who left the bus with the boy told authorities that after the two parted, he saw a small white pickup with a camper shell speeding away from where Ben had been walking.
Searchers on foot, horseback and all-terrain vehicles looked for Ben in the hilly area about 60 miles southwest of St. Louis.
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.
Toelke said authorities were surprised to find another boy, who identified himself as Shawn Hornbeck.
Shawn disappeared from Richwoods in October 2002, when he was 11. He went for a bike ride and never returned.
His parents, Pam and Craig Akers, were reunited with their son, Toelke said.
[Last modified January 13, 2007, 00:35:03]
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