Thursday, January 12, 2012

5th Anniversary of Shawn Hornbeck's Rescue

Hard to believe that five years have gone by since then-15 year old Shawn Hornbeck was rescued from the clutches of a madman. Shawn had been missing for over four years, abducted while riding his bike. It made national news, and a couple VERY well known soothsayers even made bold predictions about Shawn's "death" - even giving clues as to where to find his body.

Sylvia Browne and James Van Praagh are jackasses, and both should be beaten with the bags of money morons give them to give fake predictions.

Despite that, what made this day in history even more incredible was that along with Shawn, they also found another boy more recently abducted just four days prior!

Below is my blog post from January 12, 2007:

* * * *
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 had made national news years prior 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, who 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.

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.

But now it's over. Now, Ben Ownby and Shawn Hornbeck are safe. Believe in miracles, my friends.



sonia said...

I don't pay attention to news very much but I'm surprised that I don't remember these cases. In any case, those "psychics" should be jailed. I can't even believe that they can sleep at night knowing the hardship they put desperate people through.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I do remember those cases. And it was a miracle both boys were still alive. You're right, the psychics were worse than useless.

Super Happy Jen said...

I remember this case. Must give hope to the families of missing children everywhere.

Kelley said...

I remember this case. Those poor boys. But good they were still alive.

Dafeenah said...

Ugh I never believed in those people and it always amazed me at how many actually DO believe. I had not heard of this story but it reminds of a movie I saw in the 90's I believe, the movie was "I Know My First Name is Stephen". It's good to hear this story had a happier ending than most. Thanks for sharing this!

Jay Noel said...

sonia: both of these so called psychics are still raking in the dough. Incredible!

Alex: It was big news here since it all happened in the St. Louis area. In fact, I work really close to where they found the boys in Devlin's apartment.

Jen: I know that Shawn Hornbeck's foundation has been very active in the cause.

Kelley: Luckily, Ben was found just days after his abduction. It's amazing that Shawn had been found too. After 4 years, most people thought he was dead.

Dafeenah: I personally know a psychic that has worked with the FBI and law enforcement. She is the real deal. Did not want fame or fortune, just wanted to help. And help she did - until she couldn't withstand the trauma of those kinds of cases anymore.

David P. King said...

Wow! I was just thinking about this the other day. Didn't realize today was the anniversary.

Dafeenah said...

sorry what I meant by "those people" were the two you specifically mentioned not in general sometimes things are much clearer in my head but not so much once they exit my mouth lol

Jay Noel said...

David: On that day, St. Louis literally stopped and celebrated. Just an incredible event.

Dafeenah: That's exactly what I thought you meant! I just wanted to contrast those that are in it for the money and are fakes vs some that are not. Although, I am a healthy skeptic!

The Desert Rocks said...


Rusty Webb said...

I'm a firm believer that anyone making claims of the supernatural had best not make any disprovable claims. Of course, people who believe those claims will ignore evidence to the contrary anyway, so it really doesn't matter. I know cults that make doomsday predictions almost always gain more adherents after their doomsday predictions fail than they ever did before, and most believers only find their faith affirmed during those scenarios. People are really good at fooling themselves.

Cults and psychics aren't exactly the same thing, but the psychological profiles of true believers when confronted with clear proof that the people they put their faith in are spewing bullshit is similar: They go into denial.

Which of course is why Sylvia Browne is more popular than ever. True believers will tell you all day long that every prediction she's ever made is wrong, but still defend her as being genuine until they're blue in the face.

I'm glad those kids were found. I hope they ended up being well adjusted, trauma like that can scar someone for life.

Peggy Eddleman said...

This was such an incredible story! I didn't know it was the anniversary. It was good to think of it again!

Jay Noel said...

Eve: Thanks!

Rusty: I'm right there you. These charlatans just play the odds. They take calculated guesses. And the "hits" aren't really hits. It's coincidence. Those who want to believe only remember the "hits" and not the two-hundred and twenty misses it took to get one.

Peggy: So much bad news out there when it comes to these kinds of crimes. There's always hope for the parents of missing children. said...

My heart would love for me to believe that my mother, who passed away 5 years ago, could actually contact me from beyond the dead. Truth is, she gone and it isnt happening, not now, not ever.

Anonymous said...

I know Shawn personally, he is wonderful. He's doing very well, very respectful an a nice addition to our family. Sylvia Browne is fake as hell maybe someone should realize it. He loves his Mom and stepfather more than anyone and he wants more than anything to be left in peace from reporters. He's such a great person even after everything he had to endure

Anonymous said...

Just a quick note: Imos Pizza, where the abductor worked, is near Amtrak.

God bless Shawn and his family. Happy to hear he is doing well.

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B E C K Y said...

I'm from the area that Sean is from. I still find myself thinking about him a lot, even today - obviously. I'm glad he is home, but I wonder how he is now. Has he been able to move on with his life? This story broke my heart and many hearts in our community.

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Amanda B said...

It was very nice and heartwarming to see this article. I'm very happy that two families are now reunited! Having a child go missing or pass is the worst nightmare imaginable for a parent. I hope both of the young men adjust to being back home and can put this horrible past behind them.

As far as Psychics go, I do believe that some people have psychic abilities to see things or receive feelings towards situations. However, I am one to take the disproving side versus the "believe everything they say" side. If you have been disproved more than twice, your credibility has failed.

To the woman who knows a pyschic that works with the FBI. I believe there are several people out there that have the ability to help but do not come forward because of the criticism that they endure because of their talent. I am very thankful for those that do and those in law enforcement, military, and other positions that keep us safe as a whole.


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