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‘Missouri Miracle’ Was 5 Years Ago

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Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby

Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby

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Radio feature from Michael Calhoun

 

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – If you can believe it, today marks five years since the “Missouri Miracle,” the remarkable rescue of kidnapped boys Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby.

It still brings a shiver to your spine to hear that, from January 12th, 2007. But the Missouri Miracle began October 6th, 2002 on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Eleven year-old Shawn Hornbeck, left for a ride on his brand-new bike and wouldn’t come home for 1,558 days leaving only theories and hope for Shawn’s mother Pam Akers. “I can still, to this day picture his smile,” cried Akers unwilling to give up.

For more than four years candlelight vigils became the new routine for Shawn Hornbeck’s family. Then news came in of another missing boy, thirteen year-old Ben Ownby. “What is this world coming to,” said Akers. “I don’t understand how these things can keep happening.”

But it wasn’t until 24 hours later that an Amber Alert sounded for Ben, and it was 24 hours before a miracle. Investigators searched the woods where Ben was last seen along with a lead from one of Ben’s classmates or a white pick-up truck leaving the scene January 10th, 2007.

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Michael Devlin

Their captor, pizza-parlor manager Michael Devlin eventually pled guilty to a long list of unspeakable crimes, and is serving three life sentences at Crossroads Correctional Center in northeastern Missouri. He was stabbed by another inmate in April, 2011. His is a name not welcome in the Hornbeck household.

Shawn graduated high school a semester early, went to college, wants to carry on the mission of the foundation which bears his name.

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