Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sometimes the Pressure to Cave-In to Oslo is Too Great

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If the child/prisoner is subjected to enough stress, you can get a Shawn situation.


Devlin, jailed on $1 million bail, is charged in the kidnapping of 13-year-old Ben, but authorities also expect to charge him with abducting Shawn Hornbeck, a 15-year-old who went missing four years ago.

Ben thanked Mitchell Hults, 15, a friend who helped authorities find him by identifying a small white pickup seen speeding away after Ben's abduction. The boys were found at Devlin's apartment in Kirkland, a St. Louis suburb.

"Thank you for being such a great big help in this entire thing," Ben said, addressing Mitchell.

"If it wasn't for what Mitchell (saw) I don't know if we'd be sitting here talking to you right now," said Ben's father, William Ownby.

He said he didn't know when Ben would return to school.

"I'm ready. I just need my backpack," the boy said.

The Ownbys said authorities had asked the families of both boys not to speak about their time in captivity. That left open the mystery of how their captor kept them from escaping.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Tuesday cited anonymous investigators as saying that Devlin kept Shawn from fleeing by threatening to kill the boy and his entire family, perhaps explaining why Shawn passed on ample opportunities to get away. Devlin's attorney, Michael Kielty, did not immediately return a phone call Tuesday seeking comment on that allegation. (Watch how kidnap victims sometimes deal with their abduction Video)

Kielty said earlier he has not seen any evidence and will enter a not guilty plea at an arraignment Thursday morning at the Franklin County Courthouse.

Shawn apparently had the freedom to go outside, and perhaps even to use phones and the Internet.

While his alleged kidnapper was at work, Shawn or someone pretending to be him put photos of him online and posted a message on a site created by his desperate parents: "How long are you planning to look for your son?"

{a real parent will look forever, regardless}

Since Shawn's rescue, Web users have discovered a profile at mindviz.com, and online comments have flooded in.

"Welcome home Shawn," wrote one of the nearly 40,000 visitors to Shawn's site on Monday. "I have prayed for you and I know many others have as well. Glad you are safe and healthy."

Investigators would not comment on the postings, and it was not immediately known if they were, in fact, created by Shawn or by someone else. Either way, they add to the long list of clues that no one seemed to pick up on while the boy was missing.

Shawn, now 15, was 11 when he was kidnapped in 2002 while riding his bike near his rural home.

Investigators have given no motive for the crimes and no details on what the boys went through. Officials said Devlin did not appear to have a criminal record.

Devlin's two jobs often took him away from the modest two-bedroom apartment they shared, which had a landline phone and a cell phone, as well as a computer.

A series of Web postings, some under the name "Shawn Devlin," have raised questions about whether he was trying to send clues about his real identity.

At 1:59 a.m. on December 1, 2005, a "Shawn Devlin" asked in a forum on the Shawn Hornbeck Foundation Web site: "How long are you planing (sic) to look for your son?" Shawn's parents, Craig and Pam Akers, started the foundation to help find their son and other missing youngsters.

Later that same day, at 2:56 p.m., Shawn Devlin wrote to ask if he could compose a poem for the family. The poem never appeared in future postings.

Other Web profiles also appeared to be of Shawn, including the profile on mindviz.com, which described "Shawn" as a single atheist with a pet cat living in Kirkwood.

Dr. Juliet Francis, a clinical psychologist and consultant for the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children, said it is not unusual for a bond to develop between an abductor and the child.

"It developed when someone feels that their life is being threatened, but they aren't killed," she said.

Some neighbors said they never saw Shawn with books or a backpack. Neighbor Krista Jones, a stay-at-home mom, noticed Shawn wearing black clothes and piercings in his ear and lip. She said she figured he was either a dropout or attended an alternative school.

Larry Douglas said his younger brother, Tony, and Shawn were best friends and often went skateboarding and biking. He said Tony had no idea of Shawn's real identity. Larry Douglas said his family was not allowing his brother to speak to reporters.

Before Tony Douglas' family made him unavailable to the media, he told Fox News that on three occasions, police stopped the two for being out beyond curfew. Officers gave the boys a lift home, unaware of Shawn's real identity, Tony said.

The Post-Dispatch cited another encounter between Shawn and police that occurred September 29 when an officer stopped the boy, who was riding his bike about 11:20 p.m., about a mile from the apartment.

The police report stated that Shawn told the officer his name was Shawn Devlin and gave a birth date of July 7, 1991 -- 10 days off his actual birthday. Shawn told the officer he was biking to the apartment after visiting a friend's home.

"He was wearing dark clothing and didn't have reflectors on his bike," Glendale Sgt. Bob Catlett told the newspaper. "The officer stopped him to find out who he was.

"He said he was Shawn Devlin, and we had no reason to doubt him."

Tony sometimes spent the night at Shawn's apartment, but rarely spoke with Devlin. Larry Douglas said his brother saw no indication of abuse, or clues that Shawn was a captive.

"He just hopes to see his friend again," Douglas said. "He's happy for Shawn."

from a current news story...

Eventually the truth will come out, no matter what you say to them, and then you'll have a wee bit of explaining to do..........good luck and love through the whole messy process, --- dad

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