Minnesota family finds hope in discovery of missing Missouri boys
Joy replaced hope today in Missouri as the family of 15 year old Shawn Hornbeck welcomed him home. He had been missing for more than four years.
His stepfather, Craig Akers, spoke at a press conference saying, "Over the last four years, I've told everyone in this situation not to give up hope. There's always hope. Hope is what gets you through."
He called today the best day of his life.
Hornbeck was found in the suburban St. Louis apartment of 41 year old Michael Devlin, a funeral home employee, when police went looking for 13 year old Ben Ownby, another boy who had disappeared earlier this week after stepping off his school bus.
When police found Ben, Shawn was there too. Police say they were euphoric.
Devlin is now in custody facing kidnapping charges.
The case is renewing hope for families of other missing children.
The family of Maple Grove's Amy Sue Pagnac has never given up hope. Her mother, Susan, says, "You don't stop believing that you'll find them."
In 1989, when Amy was 13 years old, she disappeared from an Osseo gas station while waiting in the car for her dad.
Even after 17 years, her mother still looks for her daughter in the crowd. She says, "Sometimes I'll walk up to somebody that's the right age and I'll start chatting."
She says her family has kept the same phone number all these years hoping Amy will someday call home.
Pagnac urges everyone to pay close attention to the missing children cards they get in the mail because children are found.
The executive director of Missing Children Minnesota, Carol Watson, says parents should never be told to give up. "It really does let people know that this is not a hopeless thing. Just because a kid's been gone for more than 72 hours, more than 6 months, more than a year... it doesn't necessarily mean that it's over and done with."
Because Amy has been gone this long, Susan Pagnac says the rescue of the Missouri boys doesn't give her more hope but she is happy for them and their parents. "I'm very pleased that these boys got rescued and now they got the hard part of recovering from whatever happened to them."