I Know My First Name is Shawn

If not for understandably mitigating circumstances, I probably would have spent the entire holiday weekend clicking refresh at Steve Huff’s True Crime Blog to find out the latest on what’s turning out to be a truly bizarre and sadly familiar story – at least to me.

That’s because the recovery of 15 year old Shawn Hornbeck – missing since 2002 – along with 13 year old Ben Ownby (missing since Monday) bears striking resemblances to the resolution of the Steven Stayner case. So for those (and as of now, there are many) wondering why on earth Hornbeck never escaped, even though he had mutiple chances to do so, perhaps Stayner’s words offer the best reason around:

“Don’t expect abducted children to come up and ask for help.

They’re totally dependent on their abductors. And if they’re being

sexually abused, which is usually the case, the last thing they want is

to draw attention to it.

I trusted no one. My greatest fear was

that someone would find out the truth and confront my ‘father’. I

didn’t know what he’d do. As bad as things were, I knew it could get


Obviously, this story has a wealth of unanswered questions, especially about what kind of life Hornbeck led while under the captive influence of his abductor, Michael Devlin. But suffice to say that saying he was “unharmed” is a gigantic understatement.