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XBox (Games)

Kidnap Victim Visible Via Xbox Community Site 119

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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  • Re:Kidnap? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mharms1 ( 884992 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:56PM (#17637534)
    It will be interesting to find out what Shawn's been up to all this time. According to a report on []
    "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 odd or unusual from the apartment," Butler said. "I just figured them for father and son."

    I have also heard that Hornbeck had access to a cell phone. I wonder why he didn't just call home?
  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:15PM (#17637886)
    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.
  • Re:2 + 2 != 5 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Johnny Mnemonic ( 176043 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `eromsnidm'> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:29PM (#17638076) Homepage Journal

    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 with normalcy to see how his situation differed.

    You may forget how impressionable an eleven-year old is, and what they can be led to believe.

  • Re:Kidnap? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fred Ferrigno ( 122319 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:49PM (#17638378)
    According to some reports [] he posted a couple messages on the website [] 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:2 + 2 != 5 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:54PM (#17638450) Journal
    I guess you were out hunting crocodiles and working as a mercenary in the Civil War of Congo when you were eleven?

    No, just fish, rabbits, and game birds, and only within a few miles (ie hiking distance) of my parents' house. From your question, I suppose Nintendo's "Duck Hunt", from the living-room floor, about did it for you, then?

    Every response to me so far has take the stance that 11YO kids count as completely helpless idiots. They don't. They have the presense of mind to get help when they direly need it. They don't consider "bad men" omnipotent evil deities that can kill them and their parents. They understand the difference between "Wierd uncle Joe" and "Some guy that dragged me into his car at the mall one afternoon".

    Hell, I don't think most of the responses so far would have applied to me at six. By eleven, I truly believe that if I couldn't have outright escaped, I would have killed the guy in his sleep.

    So yeah, if it makes me an "asshole", I have trouble believing this as a simple kidnapping.

    For one, how about a motive???
  • 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 [], 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.
  • Re:2 + 2 != 5 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Chemisor ( 97276 ) * on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @10:54AM (#17646190)
    > 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 [] :) Life as a regular nerd in a big city just couldn't compare to the glory of the high seas...

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