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