Boys Tell of Captivity in Mo. Man's Apartment

Associated Press
Thursday, September 25, 2008

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 24 -- A Missouri teenager who was kidnapped and held for four years figured his days were numbered when his abductor decided to take another boy, the boy says in transcripts from a television interview released Wednesday.

Shawn Hornbeck, now 17, and his parents recounted their story during an interview with CBS News's "48 Hours Mystery," in which he discusses details of his captivity for the first time. The interview is to air Saturday on CBS.

"The days got slimmer," he said. " 'Cause it's a replacement. When you get a new car, what do you do with the old one? You usually get rid of it, right?"

Shawn was 11 when he was kidnapped by Michael Devlin in 2002 near his home in Washington County, Mo. He and another kidnapped boy were found in Devlin's apartment. Devlin is now serving life sentences in prison for kidnapping and abusing the boys.

But Shawn said death didn't scare him. His greatest fear was that he would never see his family again, he said.

The show also includes an interview with the other boy, Ben Ownby, who was 13 when Devlin abducted him in January 2007. Both boys were found four days after Ben's abduction.

Shawn was taken while riding a bike to a friend's house in October 2002. "From Day One, he had the gun. He had the power," he said of Devlin. "The thing that sticks out the most is, he said, 'You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.' "

Investigators have said Devlin subjected Shawn to a particularly intense month of abuse at the start of his captivity, tying the boy to a futon and duct-taping his mouth.

"I'm not going to lie; there was times when it seemed like I was better off dead than living through" the captivity, Shawn said.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company