Friday, January 12, 2007

Do You Believe In Miracles? How About a Double Miracle?

13 year-old Ben Ownby, missing since this Monday, has been found Alive!

It's a miracle...but just one of two miracles to happen on this dreary, rainy late afternoon in St. Louis.

Along with Ben, Shawn Hornbeck, missing since October of 2002 was found in the same apartment alive and well.

Now do you believe in miracles?

(Famous psychics Sylvia Browne and James Van Praagh were absoultely wrong about Shawn Hornbeck, as they assured his family that he was dead. More about that below).

Ben Ownby was seen walking home from his bus stop on January 8th when a white Nissan truck drove up next to him and abducted him a mere 500 feet from his home. The abduction activated the Amber Alert system, and hundreds of people searched and scoured all of Franklin County looking for him.

Federal agents descended on the town of Union, Missouri in an effort to find Ben as quickly as possible. Vigils were held at Union Middle School, where Ben was known to be a model student, and his friends and fellow students prayed for his safe return.

Two Kirkwood police officers went to an apartment complex in Kirkwood, Missouri (a St. Louis suburb) Thursday evening to serve a warrant, and neighbor Geoff Hadler, who had noticed a white Nissan pick-up truck in the apartment complex, pointed out the vehicle to the cops. Police followed up late this afternoon, where authorities found Ben Ownby inside of the apartment of Michael J. Devlin - a man with only traffic violations on his record.

Inside, police found a 15 year-old boy who identified himself as Shawn Hornbeck of Richwoods, Missouri of Washington County....missing since October of 2002. Shawn was only 11 years old at the time, and was last seen riding his bike towards a friend's house. He never made it there.

Shawn's abduction made national news when his story was featured on America's Most Wanted. His family also taped episodes on the Montell William's Show when Syliva Browne was on, and they also were on a segment for the TV show "Beyond" with another well-known psychic, James Van Praagh. Both "acclaimed" psychics said Shawn was dead. No doubt about it.

Yeah right, you b-yotches. Fuck you both. Goddamn charlatans.

In the first "Beyond" show, Van Praagh, whm also claims he talks to the dead, said he was getting the impression Shawn was in a rural area along I-55 where there are three silos. When the Akers Family returned, authorities searched along I-55 in Missouri and Illinois, but didn't find a thing.

Van Praagh then came to Missouri to film the second segment for his show. This time, he said he believed Shawn's body was in a railroad freight car or near some sort of railroad car facility. Then Van Praagh said he believed a guy that worked at this railcar facility was involved in Shawn's disappearance. (By the way, Michael Devlin worked at Imo's Pizza).

Authorities took that information and matched it to a railroad yard at De Soto, Missouri - only about 10 miles from Richwoods - where the old Missouri Pacific Railroad shops were located.

They found nothing.

Craig Akers, Shawn's father said, "We have put in many miles and hours since then with nothing to back up any of the information provided."

On the Montell Williams show, hoarse-voiced Sylvia Browne said that Shawn was "not with us" anymore and said his body was 20 miles Southwest of Richwoods, Missouri. Her visions indicated that Shawn was abuducted by a "dark-skinned man, he wasn't black, more like Hispanic." Sylvia Browne said the abductor had long, black hair that he wore in dreadlocks and was "really tall."

That's the only hit Sylvia Browne had - that he was tall. Michael Devlin is very very white with short brown hair (pictured right).

Despite all of these famous and very wealthy psychics using their mighty powers to do nothing but put the family through wild goose chases and also lead them to believe that their son was dead, it took good police work to bring Shawn home.

It's been 5 Christmases the Akers Family has had to endure without their beloved Shawn. They even started the Shawn Hornbeck Foundation, promoting children safety. They helped hundreds of kids get digitally fingerprinted and photographed among many other things to promote child safety. Craig Akers quit his job as a software developer in order to work for the foundation. They depleted their entire life savings, and he and his wife had to return to work to pay the bills. All of this week, they of course lent the Ownby Family their support during their son's ordeal.

I can't even begin to imagine the joy and elation Pam and Craig Akers are feeling now...their 11 year-old boy is now 15, and I'm sure time has stood still for them during this whole ordeal. But now it's over.

Now, Ben Ownby and Shawn Hornbeck are safe.

Believe in miracles, my friends.


siren said...

What an unbelievable end to this find the missing boy and then another boy missing for four years.

It was great work by the various law enforcement agencies. A lot of credit should also go to the boy that gave the description of the truck and the tip that led to the arrest.

It is truly amazing.

The Phoenix said...

Thanks siren,

The friend of Ben Ownby that witnessed the actual abduction is Mitch Hults. Mitch's description of the abductor's white truck was also the key - and fit Michael Devlin's truck "to a T."

nena said...

a miracle is right!

my heart goes to the family in the years to come. poor shawn has been gone four years and like elizabth smart you have to wonder if stockholm syndrome exists because he never ran from Delvin. the fear and hurt.

as for the clairvoyants, looks like good old fashioned police work and community awareness saw this one through! so much for the "other" side.

delmer said...

Good post.

It's nice to see a happy ending to something like this.

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine the joy and relief the families are feeling... especially to have your son missing for YEARS... This post brought tears to my eyes.

Thanks for restoring hope in miracles.

Anonymous said...

5 years? That is truly amazing. I can only hope the next miracle will be not having to go through major therapy sessions to get back to normal. The family's faith and endurance with that whole ordeal is astounding. I don't know how they did it.

As for the psychics - I don't understand how frauds can do such a thing and sleep good at night. They may be piling up money in their accounts, but they're also piling up tons of bad karma for themselves. They are the ones who need therapy.

Anonymous said...

"who", not "whom"

hriver said...

Listening to a psychic's dreams or predictions can be fun and harmless because we can easily suspend disbelief - we're a Hollywood generation - but when these circus acts like Sylvia Brown present their messages as truth, the the challenge is on folks like us, whether you give them the time of day. In our stormy world, why do people turn to a phantom port? I truly hope that the Shawn Hornbeck family did not.

No one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God

1 Corinthians 2:11-12 - NKJV

tink said...

Excellent article. I agree wholeheartedly that the psychics are real selfish jerks for leading these families on and trying to make people believe that they are "special" and have "special powers".
What an egotistical and shameful way to prey on families.
Thank you for bringing this point out so well.

Anonymous said...

I get the feeling the grammar lesson was directed toward me. And I also get the feeling my remark must have offended the anonymous person. Oh, wait - does that mean I am a psychic, too? :)

Anonymous said...

on my watch...Correct or incorrect, who or whom, your message was inspirational and honest. For those who, whom, ;) don't have anything to contribute, one can only expect that kind of response. You are psychic! Better than psycho!
This happy ending is that God is still alive and well and working thru the hands of capable law enforcement and volunteers. Amen to who, whomever you are! :)))

Anonymous said...

This is not the anonymous that wrote the grammar note. I chose not to sign in so 'anonymous' was my only option. Certainly wanted to clear that up... :)))

Anonymous said...

kudos to the man who gave his time & caring thoughts to the police! The real tip! He didn't have to, I feel like he is a hero! I feel like the police did a good job, but this man that lived at the apartment really deserves a reward or something! Thank you! Thank you!
I am so Happy for both families!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. Down the drain with those charlatans, and you can take all of "astrology" with it.
As far as the second abduction--though we may never know because of privacy issues and possibly a guilty plea(s) and no trial--does anyone think that Ben's abduction was purely random? Does anyone suspect that he may have been lured into a confidence game over the internet and gave out too much information? After all, Shawn was 11 and maybe he was getting "too old." Ben IS 11 and this criminal (who, if he doesn't kill himself with insulin will probably not survive one day in prison) just happened to locate another 11 year old boy in a rural area right after he got off his school bus? The computers will be invaluable in eliciting the pattern. Heaven only knows what therapy will be required--and Shawn will never get those 4 years of his life back, but what a MIRACLE! And yes, a big FUCK YOU to the charlatan psychics!

Anonymous said...

What a great story. While praying for Ben the other night I had a moment of doubt that even god could bring him home safely after 4 days.
The Lord showed me he delivered ben and Shawn. I loved the info on the
psychics how dare they dash the hopes of the families. Praise God for people like the young man who saw the truck what a hero.

missouri said...

What a blessing and a wonderful miracle to get Ben home safely and to find Shawn in this is truly the work of God. To the previous message, I live by ben and no it wasnt random, he had to have been stalking this child, myself knowing the area very well, its a very small town, and the location isnt a location that someone would just be driving down.

Liz said...

thanks, phoenix for your post on this amazing story.

while I do believe there are, very rarely, people with clairvoyant ability, I agree they certainly aren't the ones like Sylvia Browne touting themselves on national TV and cruelly offering false hope (or not, as the case may be, since they said he was dead)to parents like the Akers'.

It's so tempting in cases like these where the child is never found to turn to anything ie psychics for help.

I think what really turned this case in favor of the police were the regular people who had key ingormation and helped e.g. Devlin's neighbor & Ben's schoolmate. Too often we hear about the horrible things people are capable of so it's so nice to hear about the ordinary heroes that saved these 2 boys. Gives you some hope for the human race.

*small note to 'on my watch'. I believe the anonymous poster was correcting Phoenix's grammar, not yours. He used 'whom' a few times where 'who' would have been correct. :)

Anonymous said...

Today is a good day. Everyone should embrace these boys and bring them back to a world where good does happen. And as for the community that helped find them and especially Mitch the friend that described the truck and broke this case, they should all be deemed heros as they are and real anels on earth. have hope and faith because today is a good day.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said "Does anyone suspect that he may have been lured into a confidence game over the internet and gave out too much information? After all, Shawn was 11 and maybe he was getting "too old." Ben IS 11 and this criminal (who, if he doesn't kill himself with insulin will probably not survive one day in prison) just happened to locate another 11 year old boy in a rural area right after he got off his school bus?"

I agree with you that it Devlin had to have been stalking Ben but Ben was actually 13, not 11. My speculation is that devlin was looking for a 'younger brother' for Shawn. Do you remember how the neighbor said he saw Devlin and Shawn pitching a tent and such so he thought that they were father and son?

Jennifer said...

So glad to see two big psychics go down. I do beleive that some people are more in-tune with other-worldly things, but when they pass themselves off as the be-all-end all fount of knowledge, then I see them as entertainers, not psychics.

Its amazing that the boys were found. It's sad to say, but the 15 year old may have been getting too old? His days may have been numbered, so I am SOO happy they found them both.

angel, jr. said...

Thank God for miracles!!

Anonymous said...

These psychic detectives should stick to finding lost pets.

Anonymous said...

These psychic detectives should stick to finding lost pets.

Carmel said...

Wow that is just wonderful! I do believe in miracles but I don't believe in psychic abilities.
I'm so glad the end of this story was so wonderful.

The Phoenix said...

Thanks for your comments - especially those that have found my blog for the first time today.

I did misuse "whom," and I'll fix that right now.

Van Praagh and Browne are probably the two most well-known and wealthy psychics out there today. They were so dead-wrong, and I can't imagine how the parents felt when they were told that Shawn was dead.

The parents did turn to psychics, but they never put their faith in them, thank God.

Anonymous said...

i cant belive that you people are arguing over grammar on a site that you are supposed to be just commenting on the miracle of finding the boys

Loveandlight said...

While there is a spiritual universe to which we are all accountable, the fact remains that "psychic" abilities are something that can be readily if not easily faked. From what I've heard about Sylvia Browne, she's not even all that good at her fakery.

Some psychic scammers are so brazen that they take their more credulous marks for tens of thousands of dollars. Take a gander at this website:

WRT Shawn "getting to old" for his abductor: That would appear to assume that Shawn was being sexually abused. We shouldn't necessarily assume that (though I may be saying that because I'm hoping to God that poor kid didn't have to endure such a thing).

Loveandlight said...

Whoops, sorry. I forgot that Blogger doesn't automatically convert URLs into hyperlinks.

Click here to read about fake psychics who defraud people of huge sums of money.

Amanda from Michigan said...

My family & I would like to say we are so very happy for both families. Hopefully the media will give thses families the privacy they need to catch up.

Anonymous said...

Liz, thanks for pointing that out. I suppose I need a lesson in reading comprehension. haha.

Wasn't trying to argue with the anon person, just saying sometimes content out weighs proper grammar. :)

the weirdgirl said...

Thank god for miracles like these! These disappearances always turn my blood cold.

Michelle said...

This was on our news today. Fantastic stuff, i am so happy for the boy & his family. Lets hope they all recieve some much need counselling to get through the next few years.

bigfanx said...

A MISSOURI MIRACLE --- for sure! January 12, 2007.... a great day for Missouri children!

My thoughts are with the families of both boys.... the safe return of both has been incredible. The joy of having their sons returned to them defies description.

Many thank yous go to the Kirkwood Police, the apartment complex's resident that reported the truck, the quick follow-up by all law enforcement to investigate the sighting, the rescue of both Ben and Shawn, then the apprehension of Devlin.

I'd hope the Akers and the Ownbys allow their sons to talk to psychololgists and investigators at the boys' own pace... and if they want to talk. To force them into interviews and counseling could be damaging... even more damaging than the abductions and captive situations. Sure, informaton about Devlin is very necessary to achieve a successful prosection and imprisonment. Let's hope a great deal of finesse is used to gain useable information.

My emotions came to the surface as the Akers and Ownbys spoke during the press conferences on Saturday morning. The crowds of concerned citizens that attended those news conferences were simply amazing.... the support both families had, and will continue to have, is phenomenal!

I was particularly surprised when I heard during a newscast on Fox last night that a neighbor boy at the apartment complex had become very good friends with Shawn. Pictures were taken of both boys... the likeness in those pictures really didn't resemble Shawn (when compared to the news release photos after his abduction). Shawn had grown... taller than his step-dad... taller than his mom! Darker longer hair and facial hair too. I guess we've all been more-than-surprised how Shawn matured from a pre-teen to mid-teen boy.

There's so much to learn about what happened to Shawn and why he remained a captive for so long. We can only hope that he voluntarily discloses information.

Like everyone else at this time.... it's a relief to know that both boys are home... and safe. And, that ALL children are safe from Devlin.

leftfootdrag ( said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

leftfootdrag said...

Phoneix, What a wonderfu; article, blog or whatever they are calling it these days. Please post more.

I am amazed of the knowledge you possess of this case. It appears you have really done your homework.Give yourself many hi-fives!!


Keshi said...

Thats great that he was found alive, thank God!


oceallaigh said...

The answer to the "psychic" charlatans is, stop listening to them, above all stop paying them. I think they're predators on our gullibility. There is absolutely no evidence to support the existence of psychic abilities, and we desperately need to educate ourselves out of grasping at straws with our pocketbooks.

The return of the two boys is indeed a miracle. But I fear that their safety, that is their safe return to their families and neighborhoods, is going to take a lot of work ... and that task has only just begun.

Anonymous said...

that really is a miracle.
I only wonder what the heck has gone on in the last 5 years for that boy and hopefully he's not damaged for life.

Mimi said...

It is an amazing story that will give hope to lots of people.

I am a Sylvia fan. She has been right on about lots of things. She has told the exact locations of bodies and that was where they were found. I know she can not be 100% on all the time. But that was just way off. Way, way, off.

Anonymous said...

What a miracle indeed. Good job reporting, Phoenix. God bless those boys and their families!

stephanie said...

I hope both those kids get some counseling. :)

Anonymous said...

I got chills watching this on the news. I got chills reading this post.

Truly a double miracle that those boys made it home.

Anonymous said...

An absolutely amazing miracle!

Anonymous said...

Well if you had to guess if he was alive or dead, what would you have said? I sure would have guessed dead!

See, I'm as psychic as they are!

Nice to hear he's alive, even if he will be fucked up for the rest of his life. Poor kid!

Jamie Dawn said...

Those psychics are worthless!! They make money off others' grief.

I am still on a high from this fantastic news!!

Shawn will have a lot to deal with emotionally, but it is obvious he has a very loving family that will support him and give him all he needs to recover from this awful ordeal.

Anonymous said...

Phoenix, I thought you might be interested in this related article:,72482-0.html?tw=wn_index_14

Anonymous said...

Shawn Hornbeck and his family are supposed to be on Oprah Thursday.

They have been through hell these past few years (with all the rumors and false leads) and they have tirelessly done everything they can to help other famiilies in the same situation.

Oprah supposedly gave the Shawn Hornbeck foundation $1 million, but it's nothing compared to having their son returned.

LBseahag said...

I think Stockholm Syndrome is sexy...

Anonymous said...

First matters=(time), i saw Thourself via danish tv of Jütland from dk, Vejle town. i acept Thourself Perfecly Amage Intuitive Feminine Intelligence - which why Thouself Néver give Thour own Soul etc. heart away for another one.

Kindly regards Thours Presant adult Hounesty - Ms S.V. birth of 30th nov.,1964.
mail adresh is =, or, or after shortly tone via phon
measage only = (45)

Jennifer said...

I heard about this story. So glad the boys are OK. As far as the psychics...I believe in psychic gifts, but it ticks me off when I see lazy mediums just following their own conjecture. You have to be totally sure that your information is coming from the other side. If you're getting nothing but a blank screen, you just say so, end of story.

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