- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 18, 2007

POTOSI, Mo. (AP) — A man arrested after two missing boys were found in his apartment terrorized one of them with a handgun to get him to cooperate, prosecutors said in new charges filed yesterday.

Pizzeria worker Michael Devlin was charged with kidnapping Shawn Hornbeck, 15, who had been missing more than four years when he was found Friday. Mr. Devlin already had been charged with kidnapping Ben Ownby, a 13-year-old who had been missing four days when he was found with Shawn.

Mr. Devlin also is under investigation in the 1991 disappearance of another Missouri boy, the Associated Press has learned. He is the “most viable lead” in the case of Charles Arlin Henderson, who was 11 when he disappeared and has never been found, Lincoln County sheriff’s deputies said.

Washington County, Mo., prosecutor John Rupp said Mr. Devlin, 41, was charged with kidnapping and armed criminal action. Mr. Rupp’s statement did not name Shawn, but used the initials SDH.

A probable cause statement released by Mr. Rupp said Mr. Devlin “abducted SDH utilizing force for the purpose of terrorizing the victim. After securing SDH, Michael Devlin flourished a handgun in order to gain compliance of the minor child. Michael Devlin then transported him out of the county and concealed his whereabouts for four years and three months.”

Mr. Rupp and Sheriff Kevin Schroeder would not discuss evidence in the case beyond the probable cause statement, but Mr. Rupp said he wanted to quash speculation that Shawn ran away on his own.

“Shawn was abducted against his will,” the prosecutor said. “Period. End of story.”

Sheriff Schroeder called Shawn “very strong” and “very articulate,” but said investigators are taking care not to push him too hard because of his age.

“Give Shawn some time and proceed through this thing slowly,” Sheriff Schroeder said. “He has been away from his family 4 years. We’ve got to give him some time to rejoin that family unit. This is something so bizarre that the normal individual cannot grasp what this then-11-year-old boy went through.”

Sheriff Schroeder would not say whether Shawn had been held captive at the Kirkwood apartment for the entire time.

Devlin, who is being held on $1 million bail, faces arraignment today in the Jan. 8 kidnapping of Ben, of Beaufort, Mo. Shawn, of Richwoods, was abducted Oct. 6, 2002. Both boys were found Friday at Mr. Devlin’s apartment in the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood.

Charles Arlin Henderson, known as Arlin, was, like Ben and Shawn, about 100 pounds and from a rural town about an hour from St. Louis. Both Shawn and Arlin vanished at age 11 while riding their bikes.

“If you were to take a photo of Arlin Henderson and you place it next to Shawn’s picture, there is a striking resemblance,” Lincoln County sheriff’s Lt. Rick Harrell said.

Investigators began re-examining the 1991 case after Mr. Devlin’s arrest. Detective Chris Bartlett said a witness saw a man snapping photos of Arlin before the Moscow Mills boy vanished.

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