- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UNION, Mo. (AP) - A veteran eastern Missouri sheriff who has led several high-profile investigations is retiring at the end of his current term.

Gary Toelke has been sheriff of Franklin County, near St. Louis, since 1988. He will step down when his term expires at the end of 2016.

Toelke was a leading figure in the investigation of Michael Devlin, who abducted 13-year-old Ben Ownby from a school bus stop in rural Franklin County in 2007. Four days later, authorities made the startling discovery: Not only was Ownby being held captive at Devlin’s St. Louis County apartment, but so was Shawn Hornbeck, who had been missing since he was kidnapped at the age of 11 nearly five years earlier.

Devlin was convicted and is serving multiple life sentences.


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