Parents of Missing Boy Say His Life Was Threatened - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

1/13/07-St Louis, MO

Parents of Missing Boy Say His Life Was Threatened

ABC News-Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby disappeared more than four years and 40 miles apart. On Friday, police were stunned to find both boys alive and well in 41-year-old Michael Devlin's suburban St. Louis apartment.

Both boys appeared without speaking at media events today as their families told reporters how overjoyed they were to have them back.

"Shawn is a miracle here," said Pam Akers, mother of Hornbeck, now 15. "We're glad to have him home. I still feel like I'm in a dream - only this time it's a good dream, not the nightmare I've had four-and-a-half years."

"We're just ecstatic," said Doris Ownby, mother of Ben, 13, who disappeared Monday. "Don't want to let him go or out of our sight."

Hornbeck was 11 years old when he disappeared on Oct. 6, 2002.

On Saturday's "Good Morning America Weekend Edition," Hornbeck's mother, stepfather and sister told ABC's Kate Snow that Hornbeck's life was threatened and Devlin must pay for his crime.

"He's been held against his will, and since that time he was threatened with his life," said Craig Akers, Hornbeck's stepfather. "He thought that ... it would be the end of his life if he tried to tell anyone or do anything."

While Akers is elated that Hornbeck is alive and well, he wants Devlin to pay for robbing him of four years with son.

"He has to pay the price for what he's done, and I intend to see that happen. He's robbed us of those four years," Akers said. "You can never get those years back, those are years of his innocence, years of his youth that we can't recapture."

At a press conference later in the day, Doris Ownby told the media she was giving an interview when a police officer said her son had been found after disappearing Monday while getting off a school bus. She added that she was speechless when she first saw her son.

"I just was ecstatic," she said. "I didn't say anything. I just grabbed him and held him. That was it."

A search warrant led police to investigate Devlin's Kirkwood, Mo., apartment. He has been charged with first-degree kidnapping and is being in the Franklin County Jail on $1 million bond.

FBI Special Agent Roland Corvington said that officials first recognized Ownby in Devlin's apartment.

"Young Ben ... looked up at one of the agents and said, 'Are you going to take me home?'" Covington said, adding that Ownby then asked Hornbeck to identify himself as another missing child.

Covington added that based upon the search of Devlin's apartment, officials checking the feasibility of filing federal charges against Devlin. He would not specify which charges were being considered or why.

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