Missouri Miracle Times Two
When the tornado siren sounded on Monday, a much unseasonably warm January evening, my heart sank, knowing the likely reason was an Amber Alert - a very local Amber Alert. Sure enough, the ten o'clock news reported that Ben Ownby, age 13, had been snatched between the school bus and home in the small town of Union, Missouri, only 45 miles away.
Soon, the TV, the paper, the whole city, was awash with worry, wondering how a child could vanish, wanting to find him, NOW. Fox News Cable arrived, so did FBI profilers. Our collective heart quaked, fearing an unhappy end.
Four heart-breaking days later, the news turned good: Ben had been found, alive.
A moment later came the shocking news that Shawn Hornbeck, who disappeared FOUR YEARS AGO, was also rescued, alive.
And then came the further shock that both boys had been rescued from an apartment right here in my hometown of Kirkwood, Missouri and that Michael Devlin, the manager of Kirkwood's Imo's Pizza hangout and as these things go in a small town, the son of a friend's neighbor, had been arrested.
A miracle happened. We have reason to celebrate. Two kidnapped boys, Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby, have been found alive and are home. This is nothing less than miraculous!
A Missouri blog, Spoken For, Valerie writes
All I can say is WOW. Amazing. Benâ€™s family has already reunited with him and the Hornbeck family is on their way to meet him. I mean, I know how I felt when I saw the news the first time, I felt the blood just drain from my face and my heart stop for a second, and I donâ€™t even know these boysâ€¦ I can only imagine how the families feel. Wow.
In Jessica's Blog, Jessica empathizes with Shawn's parents.
They never gave up. They put their daily lives and money into finding him for 5 years. They just knew he had to be alive and somewhere. I can't imagine what they must be feeling. Losing a pre-pudescent son and getting back a full blown (foot taller, darker hair, deeper voice) teenager who has been through God knows what in the last years. I wish them strength in the coming months.
Fellow St. Louisan Mamalogues published a screen print of a "Shawn Devlin" asking "How long are you planing [sic] to look for your son?" and then queries ...
Did Shawn try to use his own rescue website as a cry for help?
Along with relief, Missourians and Kirkwood residents are wondering, How did we miss this? Kirkwood is home to only 26,000. Many are second- and third- and even fourth-generation residents. We watch out for each other. We rescue our neighbors' dogs when they stray. We deliver cookies when someone moves in next door. We pay attention.
How DID we miss this?
And as I prepare to finish this, to publish, the radio sounds at 1:07pm on Saturday ... it's another Amber Alert.