Fact Check

Shawn Hornbeck

Is a teenage boy named Shawn Hornbeck missing from his Missouri home?

Published Oct 15, 2002


Claim:   A teenage boy named Shawn Hornbeck is missing from his Missouri home.

Status:   Was true, but has since been recovered.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2002]

Please forward this to everyone that you know. My husband's cousin is missing. He disappeared 6 days ago on his way to a friend's house. Shawn Hornbeck is 11 years old, please go to

Shawn has been missing for a week today. He could be anywhere by now so please pass this along to everyone that you know.

Annie Hornbeck

Origins:   Shawn

Damian Hornbeck, then an 11-year-old boy, went missing from his Richwoods, Missouri, home on 6 October 2002.

He left home that day on his green 21-inch mountain bike to visit a nearby friend.

In January 2007, more than four years later, the now 15-year-old Shawn Hornbeck was recovered along with another boy from the apartment of his abductor in Kirkwood, Missouri. He, along with 13-year-old William Ben Ownby (who had disappeared a few days earlier), appear to be unharmed.

Police had been serving a warrant on an apartment complex when they noticed a white truck matching the description of a vehicle authorities had been searching for in the Ownby investigation. Further investigation led to the discovery of the boys.

Michael J. Devlin, 41, has been arrested and charged with one count of first-degree kidnapping. He is being held on $1 million bail, he said, and more charges are likely.

Additional information:

    Missing Person: Shawn Damian Hornbeck
Missing Person: Shawn Damian Hornbeck (FBI)

Last updated:   12 January 2007

  Sources Sources:

    Leonard, Christopher.   "Two Missing Boys Found Alive in Mo. Home."

    Associated Press.   12 January 2007.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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