Shawn Hornbeck Foundation

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The Shawn Hornbeck Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization based in Richwoods, Missouri, devoted to the search for and rescue of abducted children. It runs the Shawn Hornbeck Search and Rescue Team.

The rescue team was founded by Pam and Craig Akers following the disappearance of their son Shawn Hornbeck. Hornbeck was eleven years old on October 6, 2002, when he was kidnapped while riding his bicycle near his home in Richwoods, Missouri. Shawn Hornbeck was missing for over four years before being discovered on January 12, 2007. He had been kidnapped by Michael J. Devlin.

The Shawn Hornbeck Search and Rescue Team is a member of NASAR (National Association for Search and Rescue) and a member of SARCOM (Search and Rescue Council of Missouri). It is also involved with the National Search Dog Association.

History[edit]

The Akers founded the Shawn Hornbeck Search and Rescue Team following the disappearance of their son Shawn Hornbeck. Hornbeck was eleven years old when he was kidnapped while riding his bicycle near his Richwoods, Missouri, home on October 6, 2002.

Shortly after Hornbeck's disappearance, his parents appeared on The Montel Williams Show, where self-described psychic Sylvia Browne told the Akers that Hornbeck was dead. Browne also described the abduction, telling them several things about the abductor that later proved to be incorrect.[1][2]

Hornbeck was missing for over four years before being discovered on January 12, 2007. Police were searching for a 13-year-old, recently missing boy, Ben Ownby of Union, Missouri. Aided by a descriptive tip from teenager Mitchell Hults of Union, Missouri,[3] police searched Michael J. Devlin's apartment in Kirkwood, Missouri. Hornbeck and Ownby were both found there.[4]

Prosecution[edit]

In June 2007, Devlin was charged with 78 counts in the abductions and molestations of Hornbeck and Ownby. On October 8, 2007, Devlin pleaded guilty to all charges filed against him and was sentenced to life imprisonment.[5]

Akers' involvement[edit]

Shortly after the rescue of Shawn Hornbeck, his parents announced their withdrawal from active involvement with the foundation. Its operation would be headed by family friend and co-founder Chris Diamond. The Akers have since returned to participation. Hornbeck is attending community college and has shown an interest in studying fields where he could work with children, such as psychology or social work. He gave advice to the family of kidnapping victim Jaycee Lee Dugard, saying she needed time alone and that the impact of such events was life-changing and not easily comprehended by those who have not been directly affected by such occurrences. He continues to make appearances on behalf of the foundation and for other events, years after his ordeal.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lancaster, Robert (May 26, 2007), Follow-up to "Montel: Shawn Hornbeck Reading", Stop Sylvia Browne, retrieved July 13, 2010 
  2. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWlscV3mvL4 SYLVIA BROWN WRONG: Shawn Hornbeck
  3. ^ Leonard, Christopher (January 17, 2007), Teen Called Hero for Missing-Boy Tip, The Washington Post, retrieved July 13, 2010 
  4. ^ Associated Press, "Missing boy in the open: Child had encounter with police just 10 months after disappearance, January 21, 2007, as found in the Albany Times-Union, January 21, 2007, p. A7.
  5. ^ "Devlin Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges for Photographing, Taping Kidnapped Boy", FOXNews.com, 10 October 2007

External links[edit]