17 Years Later: The Missouri Miracle of Missing Boys Found Safe in Kirkwood Apartment

KIRKWOOD, Mo. – It has been 17 years since the shocking discovery of two kidnapped boys in a Kirkwood, Missouri apartment, a story that captivated St. Louis and the world. The incident, later known as the ‘Missouri Miracle,’ involved Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby, who were found in the apartment of Michael Devlin.

At the time, Hornbeck had been missing for four years, while Ownby had been missing for four days. The FBI received a tip about a white pickup truck, which led them to the Kirkwood Imo’s, where Devlin was a manager. It was there that the boys were found in his apartment.

Devlin was subsequently convicted and sentenced to life in prison for their kidnapping and other crimes.

This case serves as a reminder of the lasting impact of child abductions and the importance of ongoing efforts to keep children safe. The discovery of Hornbeck and Ownby brought relief and closure to their families, but also highlighted the need for continued vigilance and public awareness.

Child abduction cases like this one often receive widespread attention, generating both anxiety and renewed focus on child safety measures. Communities come together, law enforcement agencies intensify efforts, and parents become even more vigilant. However, it is crucial to maintain the same level of awareness even when the headlines fade.

The ‘Missouri Miracle’ was a turning point for many, inspiring conversations about preventing child abductions and raising awareness about the importance of reporting any suspicious activity. It serves as a reminder that everyone has a role to play in keeping children safe, from law enforcement to community members.

While this case had a fortunate outcome, it also underscores the importance of ongoing efforts to combat child exploitation and ensure the safety of children. Organizations continue to work diligently to educate communities, provide resources, and implement preventive measures to protect children from abduction and various forms of abuse.

The ‘Missouri Miracle’ stands as a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the unwavering determination to protect and safeguard children. It is a story that serves as a beacon of hope and a call to action, urging everyone to remain vigilant and proactive in the fight against child exploitation.