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XBox (Games)

Kidnap Victim Visible Via Xbox Community Site 119

Posted by Zonk
from the people-are-strange dept.
Via Joystiq comes the confusing tale of Shawn Hornbeck. Shawn was kidnapped more than four years ago, and his absence has made his parents worry and left a hole in his friends' lives. He's been returned safely home, so there's a happy ending to this tale. Strangely, though, he has been publicly visible for over a year now - via Xbox Live. From the Joystiq post: "The GamerTagPics profile for Xbox Live user 'DevilDevlin' shows the kidnapped Hornbeck outside what appear to be [alleged kidnapper Michael] Devlin's apartment. The profile was created Sept. 4, 2005 but hasn't been accessed since early 2006. DevilDevlin's Gamertag reveals that someone played Saints Row on the account as recently as Friday. It seems likely that Hornbeck used the account -- a Washington Post story reveals Devlin's neighbors 'often spotted Shawn out and about, visiting friends on his bicycle or playing video games with the apartment door open.'"
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Kidnap Victim Visible Via Xbox Community Site

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  • by Durrok (912509) <calltechsucksNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:44PM (#17637328) Homepage Journal
    He was possibly playing Saint's Row and he is only 15! That game has an M rating! One can only imagine what this has done to that poor child's psyche.
  • Kidnap? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bob Gelumph (715872) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:45PM (#17637342)
    Doesn't sound like kidnapping to me. "Hey kid, you wanna come play video games for a few years." "Sure, thanks mister"
    • by Darkn3ss (812009)
      HAHAHAH! That's fabulous. Why don't they subpeona Xbox live to figure out where the account was created? I'm SURE that they keep the original IP address, and using the magic of databases, you have caught the kidnapper. Does that make sense to anyone but me?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mharms1 (884992)
      It will be interesting to find out what Shawn's been up to all this time. According to a report on Foxnews.com: [foxnews.com]
      "Neighbor Rick Butler, 43, said the FBI came to his door Thursday night and showed a picture of Ben, asking if he had seen him. He said he had not. But he had seen a boy he now believes was Hornbeck.
      He said he saw no evidence that the boy now believed to be Hornbeck was scared or trying to get away. He had seen Devlin and the teen pitch a tent in the courtyard.
      "I didn't see or hear anything
      • Re:Kidnap? (Score:4, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:27PM (#17638052)
        He had seen Devlin and the teen pitch a tent in the courtyard.

        Huh. Huh huh huh. Huh huh huh huh huh.
        </Beavis>
      • Re:Kidnap? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Fred Ferrigno (122319) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:49PM (#17638378)
        According to some reports [chron.com] he posted a couple messages on the website [shawnhornb...dation.com] for the foundation created by his parents in his name. He used his captor's last name (as Shawn Devlin) and asked "How long are you planing (sic) to look for your son?" It could have been Devlin himself, taunting the parents, but Devlin would have been unlikely to use Shawn's first name.

        Other details in the AP article confirm that he was mostly free and had plenty of access to the outside world. Apparently Devlin even taught him how to drive and he was seen driving the truck unsupervised at least once. Stockholm just seems too easy or too simple of an explanation.
        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by TheLink (130905)
          "Stockholm just seems too easy or too simple of an explanation."

          Why? It happens all the time.

          The whole US gets told tales of terror and get exploited by Bush, then they actually reelect him and continue their usual lives playing video games, watching TV etc.

          Most US people will tell you that they are mostly free and have plenty of access to the outside world.

          Sounds pretty similar to me ;).
          • Was is good. (Score:1, Offtopic)

            by MikeFM (12491)
            You mean the guy that actually has the balls to stick out an entire war without whining and giving up because we could be hurting the bad guys' feelings? Or the guy that listened to the American people screaming for vengence after 9/11 and actually did something about it?

            I'm not a Bush fan. His domestic policies tend to really suck. But at least he'll follow through with what he starts and not listen to all the wusses out there who have the retarded belief that the bad guys are just like us and can be reaso
            • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

              by TheLink (130905)
              "Or the guy that listened to the American people screaming for vengence after 9/11 and actually did something about it?"

              So if Neighbour A attacks your house, you scream for vengeance and attack Neighbour B instead?

              And you wonder why your neighbours are looking at you strangely or even saying bad things about you, when previously they supported you.

              stupid_american_count++;

              If you can justify attacking Iraq for 9/11, you can justify attacking England as well.
    • by gregtron (1009171)
      I wonder he'd accept someone a bit older for his next victim. He can kidnap my xbox, too. Hey, that coupled with the fact that I don't eat much would make this a bargain kidnapping.
    • This is not a funny post by any means.

      People, especially children (as they are much more impressionable than adults), that have been abducted, can develop what is called stockholm syndrome [wikipedia.org].

      They would feel loyal to their captors, and even believe that they are acting in their best interests.

      From the sound of the story, this could be what occurred.

      • Re:Kidnap? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Drachemorder (549870) <brandon AT christiangaming DOT org> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:08PM (#17637736) Homepage
        It's probably not just Stockholm. The boy got to play games all day and didn't have to go to school. To a kid, that's about a step down from paradise. It's quite possible he didn't really want to go home because of that.
        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          AKA Peter Pan and Neverland?
           
        • Two pre-teen males abducted by same kidnapper? I rather doubt he was aiming at starting his own gaming group. I won't speculate on why the kid didn't call home the first chance he got, but I rather doubt "paradise" is an accurate description of where he has been kept for the last couple of years.
          • You could very easily be right, but you know, sex isn't the only motivation for people to do bad things. Even so, I agree with you on one point --- anything that would motivate someone to commit a kidnapping like that can't be very good.
      • by Babillon (928171)
        I haven't read all the way through the comments but... Why hasn't anyone concidered the fact that maybe, just maybe, the kid's gay? Maybe he ran away from home to be with this guy (which is still wrong, just posing a theory). 'Cause hey... He might of been having the time of his life.
        • I haven't read all the way through the comments but... Why hasn't anyone concidered the fact that maybe, just maybe, the kid's gay? Maybe he ran away from home to be with this guy (which is still wrong, just posing a theory). 'Cause hey... He might of been having the time of his life.
          At age 11?
          • by Babillon (928171)
            Ever heard of NAMBLA?
      • by TheLink (130905)
        "They would feel loyal to their captors, and even believe that they are acting in their best interests."

        Heh. Do you mean Republicans or Democrats? Or both ;).

        Stay home and watch Fox News, MTV, play video games, don't go to school, get to drive big trucks etc.

        Once in a while a figure of authority terrorizes them.

        Meanwhile the door to the outside world is wide open but unused.

        Yeah I definitely believe it can happen... :p
    • by Myopic (18616)
      Yeah, that could be kinda funny, if it weren't for the probable ongoing sexual abuse.
  • by ganjadude (952775) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:54PM (#17637488) Homepage
    gonna start looking through Xbox live users. You know for all the terrorist suspects and pedofiles (well you might find some of these type but) I can see it now

    bush -------- "halo is being used as a training device for the terrorists, we need access to the user database. NukeDukeum1987 has been posting terrorist threats -
    You are so Ded you think your 1337? bring it im gonna blow up your whole city than kidnap your son and make him my bitch-
    If we cant monitor these people, they have already won."
  • Worry? (Score:5, Funny)

    by avalys (221114) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:55PM (#17637520)
    "Shawn was kidnapped more than four years ago, and his absence has made his parents worry..."

    It's only January, and we already have a solid nomination for understatement of the year!

    This sounds like something a third-grader would say while giving a book report.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by zcubed (916242)
      Father: Hey, didn't someone else used to live here?
      Mother: I recall someone that use to eat all the food and leave a pile of dirty clothes, but I am trying to remember who that was.
      Father: Was he our son?
      Mother: Oh, that's right! Our son, I wonder where he is? I guess I should be worried about him, but it is nice not having to do all that laundry and cooking.


      Understatement indeed calling the parents worried after what was surely the most horrifying four years of their lives.
  • common (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:04PM (#17637684)
    This is more common then you would think.

    It has to od with how a child determins whats safe and whats not. In the beginnibg, he was probably afraid and wishing to be rescued. After a while the attacker becomes the protector and it seems somewhat normal. also, the attacker does things to remind the victom they are the provider and protector, maybe slipping in some things about how his real parrent gave him away durring a poker game or something. After time this will lead to the kid/victom not thinking anything is wrong.

    Don't believe me, just look at all these teen mothers who get stuck with some looser who refuses to get a job and provide for the family, they often get abused in the process too. They know it sucks yet they refuse to leave. It is the same thing. It happens quit often! and it usualy isn't because of the guy having a big dick either.

    Of course i could be wrong and the kid wanted to stay for other reasons. Maybe a sexual relationship or something. I doubt it though. Even that would require some sort of conditioning simular to the previous to get the kid to stay. Especialy when another kid was introduced.
    • Well said. Too bad I don't have any points.
    • I've always been amazed in how abussive guys always have more women. A woman will admit that he is mean to her and possibly even violent towards her but she still comes back to him. If she can't be with him anymore she seeks out someone else like him. It's really incredible. It all comes down to the fact that assholes aren't afraid of being shot down so they're a lot bolder than most nice guys and that often assholes come across as being stronger which causes women to want them more. It's like putting out a
  • 2 + 2 != 5 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pla (258480) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:10PM (#17637792) Journal
    Devlin's neighbors 'often spotted Shawn out and about, visiting friends on his bicycle or playing video games with the apartment door open.

    Y'know, call me crazy, but... Does anyone else find this entire situation somewhat unbelievable as a "kidnapping"?

    In child kidnapping cases that don't involve a parent or close relative, they either:
    A) Recover the child within a few days, or
    B) Recover the body within a few months.

    Yet, in this case, we have a kid missing for four years, found in good health, who had the freedom to leave the apartment and hang out with friends?

    Not to take a "blame the victim" stance here, but did running into a friend's house and begging the friend's parents to call the police never cross this kid's mind? Hello?



    Personally, I suspect the kid ran away and eventually hooked up with some random guy that let him live there. As for the second kid, well, I can't explain that one so well, but the "kidnapping" angle just doesn't sit right with me.
    • Re:2 + 2 != 5 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by posterlogo (943853) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:15PM (#17637882)
      It's actually quite common for young kidnapping victims to (1) initially be too afraid to even attempt escape or indicate to other strangers that they are being held against their will, and (2) to eventually get accustomed to their kidnapper(s). Of course (2) can happen to anyone, e.g. the Stockholm syndrome. It doesn't necessarily imply that the kidnapped child was previously in a unhappy situation which he/she wanted to get away from. I'm not sure what you're implying by "hooked up", but it seems unreasonable for you to even be making these points now given that the man obviously kidnapped again, as you pointed out.
      • by StikyPad (445176)
        Exactly.. children are highly impressionable. In the face of conflict, they tend to believe the most recent thing they were told, or saw. They may believe that mommy loves them one minute, but if they get in trouble 5 minutes later, they may think that mommy hates them. Arguments such as "Your parents wouldn't punish you if they really loved you," and "Other kids' parents don't do that," are irrefutable for children, and readily believable. There are multitudes of examples of the coordinated exploitatio
    • by Anonymous Coward
      In some places, harboring an 11 or 13 year old runaway for that long is still kidnapping in the eyes of the law.

      Even with the most benign explanation there is no excuse to have a kid in your house for that long without informing the family or CPS. It's just wrong on so many levels.
    • by Wolfstar (131012)
      Obviously, you fail to comprehend Stockholm Syndrome. First they rule through physical threat, then offer treats and do their best to seem nice and friendly. Eventually the victim becomes so confused they they start believing the one constant in their world - the kidnapper - is the only anchor they can cling to and take anything said as stone truth.

      This doesn't even begin to cover the threat of force - "Try getting in touch with your parents or running away from me, and I'll kill you and them."

      Learn2psychol
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)


      Not to take a "blame the victim" stance here, but did running into a friend's house and begging the friend's parents to call the police never cross this kid's mind?

      How about the kidnapper told the victim that his parents hated him and gave him away? Proof was that they failed to come for him--if they wanted him back they would have asked for him back. If he was fed and taken care of, like one does a pet, one could put up with a lot--and I'd guess he put up with a lot, as he wasn't allowed to compare it
      • by camg188 (932324)

        How about the kidnapper told the victim that his parents hated him and gave him away?

        He may have posted messages on the website his parents created to try to find him. If he did, he was well aware they thought he was abducted and wanted him back.
    • by hutchy (31659)
      I take my cue
      about you
      by how you add
      2+2 ha 5 indeed

      I find you to be incredibly dense, and an insensitive clod.
    • Y'know, call me crazy, but... Does anyone else find this entire situation somewhat unbelievableas a "kidnapping"?

      In child kidnapping cases that don't involve a parent or close relative, they either:
      A) Recover the child within a few days, or
      B) Recover the body within a few months.

      Ok: You're crazy.

      You forgot the very usual C) The kid just vanished and is never heard from again.

      You also fail completely to take the Stockholm syndrome into account, not to mention the fact that the kid was found after someone tracked down the van that was seen speeding away from where another kid was abducted, along with that other kid.

    • Y'know, call me crazy, but... Does anyone else find this entire situation somewhat unbelievable as a "kidnapping"?

      The guy was probably molesting the kid. Why else would you keep some random pre-teen in your house for four years without ever sending him home or calling child services? He was only 11 at the time, so the guy probably bribed him with games and threatened him with force until the kid got used to it and thought it was "normal". I imagine the parents would much rather the world think that he s

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ElleyKitten (715519)

      Y'know, call me crazy, but... Does anyone else find this entire situation somewhat unbelievable as a "kidnapping"?

      The guy was probably molesting the kid. Why else would you keep some random pre-teen in your house for four years without ever sending him home or calling child services? He was only 11 at the time, so the guy probably bribed him with games and threatened him with force until the kid got used to it and thought it was "normal". I imagine the parents would much rather the world think that he s

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by sho222 (834270)

        Goddamit I hate it that you can't edit posts.

        There is a handy preview feature though... Maybe it's disabled in IE7 - contact your tech support.
    • Re:2 + 2 != 5 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Hogwash McFly (678207) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @08:05PM (#17638608)
      Read the story of Natascha Kampusch [wikipedia.org], and you'll find that the whole kidnapping game is not as straightforward as you might think. Natascha was taken out by her kidnapper to shops, even introduced to third parties as a friend, and could have run away many times during her kidnapping. Wolfgang Priklopil, the abductor, had threatened her with suicide if she escaped, as well as telling her that the house was booby trapped. It was an extremely unusual situation for all concerned, especially when Natascha expressed grief over her kidnapper's suicide.
    • It happens all the time with custody cases. One parent gets full custody of the child, and then the other parent abducts the child. The child isn't necessarily going to run away, but it's still kidnapping.
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      Well, you could check Wikipedia for details.

      Except that, as usual, a twelve-year-old aspie decided that anything he hasn't heard of doesn't belong in Wikipedia, and so the article—like so many others that could have provided information—is up for deletion. Because said twelve-year-old aspie is, like all other twelve-year-old aspies, a Wikipedia administrator. No wonder those fucktards are having problems raising $1.5M. How long was that fundraiser supposed to last again, three weeks?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Chemisor (97276) *
      > Personally, I suspect the kid ran away and eventually hooked up with some random guy that let him live there.

      Or may be he really was kidnapped, but wasn't too fond of his family.

      When I was a kid I had a sincere fantasy, hoping to be kidnapped by pirates and spend my teenage years robbing spanish galleons, courting lovely young ladies, and counting my piasters (yeah, I had been reading Captain Blood [amazon.com] :) Life as a regular nerd in a big city just couldn't compare to the glory of the high seas...
    • by Myopic (18616)
      sadly, you have forgotten an option, which seems likely in this case

      C) Child is sexually abused for years and years, then finally killed or gotten rid of, or in a lucky case found and reunited with his parents
  • I'm sorry, but there seems to be some thing missing from this. Sure the kid was there for four years, but how hard would it have been for him to pick up a phone call 911 and say that I've been kidnapped. In the article, they said neighbors said the kid wasn't physically contained. He was often see playing with other kids and playing video games with the door open. The more that I read; the more I wondered what was missing. O.k. the kid didn't go to school, but other than that he seems to have been o.k. This
    • by jesup (8690) *
      Hold the speculation - there have been cases before of kidnap victims (including adults) who were either brainwashed or threatened or both into not reporting it and not running away from the kidnapper when they could. ("I'll kill your parents...") In the right setting, they can end up believing it.

      Without the new kidnap case, the odds might tilt to runaway. With the new case and the circumstances (not similar to a runaway situation), the odds may tilt towards kidnapping/etc. Or maybe the guy 'befriended
      • by cephyn (461066)
        Still, something Just Doesn't Sit Right in this case. No one is asking questions it seems. What the hell went on for 4 years? Why was this kid so hard to find? How did this guy explain the sudden appearance of an adolescent son?

        Nothing about this one makes any sense. The parents are acting way too nonchalant about his return. They don't seem to want to know what happened. Maybe they're in shock. And this kid has a lip piercing - who did that? Was it a home piercing? If it was done professionally, they're re
        • I'm sure the parents are asking questions, they just don't want the answers all over the media.
        • by jamar0303 (896820)
          Probably the "kidnapper" (not so much really- at his age I wished that I could get 4 years off of school) pretended to be his parent. Maybe he really is a relative of some sort- why else would the parents not collapse into fits of hysterics after they finally found their kid after 4 years?
        • by whoop (194)
          The trouble with these cases is we (the general public) never find out what really happens in years-long kidnappings. I guess even you paranoid Slashdotters forget about this thing called "privacy." Just because the media doesn't know all the gritty details, doesn't mean the police, psychologists, etc aren't asking these kids the right questions.

          Inevitably, the guy will accept a plea to avoid the death penalty, so there won't be any trial or anything more public.
          • by Cheeko (165493)
            This guy would never get the death penalty. Kidnapping in and of itself isn't a capital crime. Its not even a life sentence.

            Now assuming nothing else happened (abuse, etc) I'd say the guy maybe serves the better part of a decade on the kidnapping and then a bunch of time on parol/probation.
            • by whoop (194)
              Yes, I was meaning to say once they weigh in all the crimes associated with the two kidnappings. News reports this afternoon say he is being looked at for an unsolved kidnapping of a similar age boy in 1991. And they are saying he allegedly used a gun to kidnap the kid four years ago, so that's gonna add on quite a few more years.

              He may not be up for the death penalty by the state, but you know how the other alleged criminals in prison take to violent crimes against children... He'll likely plea bargain
  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @08:44PM (#17639084) Journal
    No, really. Some kid who was apparently kidnapped has his picture online. The only possible reason I can imagine is that there is an 'online' aspect to this story. But seeing as everyone and their granny is online these days I don't see why this story is interesting. Look on youtube, you'll see plenty of more interesting pictures than a picture of a kid who wasn't kidnapped.
  • Talk to any victim of sexual abuse you know. Most of them don't report it, especially while it's happening.

    Fear and shame are very, very powerful forces.

    What is truly scary is the thought that he kidnapped Ownby as a "replacement" for Hornbeck. Hornbeck had grown older, and was starting to look like an adult. Ownby is a very young looking boy.

    Even more scary is the thought that Shawn may have been a replacement for someone else.
  • by LoverOfJoy (820058) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @09:59PM (#17640084) Homepage
    Larry Douglas said his younger brother, Tony, and Shawn were best friends and often went skateboarding and biking. He said Tony had no idea of Shawn's real identity. Larry Douglas said his family was not allowing his brother to speak to reporters.

    Before Tony Douglas' family made him unavailable to the media, he told Fox News that on three occasions, police stopped the two for being out beyond curfew. Officers gave the boys a lift home, unaware of Shawn's real identity, Tony said.

    The Post-Dispatch cited another encounter between Shawn and police that occurred Sept. 29 when an officer stopped the boy, who was riding his bike about 11:20 p.m., about a mile from the apartment.

    The police report stated that Shawn told the officer his name was Shawn Devlin and gave a birth date of July 7, 1991 - 10 days off his actual birthday. Shawn told the officer he was biking to the apartment after visiting a friend's home.

    ''He was wearing dark clothing and didn't have reflectors on his bike,'' Glendale Sgt. Bob Catlett told the newspaper. ''The officer stopped him to find out who he was.

    ''He said he was Shawn Devlin, and we had no reason to doubt him.''

    Tony sometimes spent the night at Shawn's apartment, but rarely spoke with Devlin. Larry Douglas said his brother saw no indication of abuse, or clues that Shawn was a captive.
    Source [knx1070.com]
  • by Gerocrack (979018) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @10:35PM (#17640506)
    His name is XXmastorCheefRoxorsXX (it's a family name, on my mother's side.) I hope I can find him on Live...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @01:46AM (#17642268)
    (from wikipedia)

    Elephant traps

    A method of confining elephants practiced in the Indian Subcontinent is far less physical and brutal, and more psychological, than earlier means. It is called the "elephant trap". The following is taken from a newsletter:

            From when an elephant is a baby they tie him for certain periods with a rope to a tree. The young elephant tries his hardest to escape, he pulls and wriggles and jumps and crawls yet the rope just tightens and to the tree it remains tied. Learning that, the elephant doesn't try to escape and accepts his confinement. A couple of years pass and the elephant is now an adult weighing several tons. Yet the trainer continues to tie the elephant to the tree with the same rope he's always used, for the simple reason that the elephant has the concept in his mind that the rope is stronger than him. Abiding to this conditioning the elephant is trapped for life. To break free all the elephant has to do is erase that limiting thought for in fact he is free to go.
  • Pizza manager is 'viable lead' in 1991 abduction

    Authorities are examining similarities between the disappearances of Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby and the 1991 disappearance of 11-year-old Arlin Henderson from rural Moscow Mills. Both Shawn and Arlin were last seen riding bicycles, and Arlin bears a physical resemblance to Ben. Police said the recovery of Hornbeck and Ownby has breathed new life into the Henderson investigation.

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/01/17/missing.boy.ap/in dex.html [cnn.com]

    Note: I guess short ha

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