Thursday, October 02, 2014
We are four days into our WCS Homecoming Week. It's a fun time for our school when so much of the news in the world is bad and depressing. Sometimes, though, terrible stories manage to have happy ending. This entry, from January 14, 2007, chronicles one of those stories.
Friday had one of those stories that make the news worth watching. Last Monday, a thirteen year old boy went missing in rural Missouri, seeming to vanish instantly. The only clue was an eyewitness account of a white pickup truck in the vicinity as Ben Ownby stepped off the school bus and headed the several hundred yards to his house in Beaufort. On Thursday, police in Kirkwood, a suburb of St. Louis, were serving a warrant in an apartment complex when they observed a truck matching the description of the vehicle in the Monday abduction. Ascertaining the truck belonged to a Michael Devlin, the authorities raided his apartment on Friday. As hoped, they found Ben Ownby safe and apparently unharmed. But to the authorities' great shock, they also unexpectedly found Shawn Hornbeck, another kidnap victim who had been missing for more than four years! Apparently, Devlin had also abducted Shawn, who was eleven when taken as he rode his bike in Richwoods on October 6, 2002. Devlin is being held on one million dollars bond as he faces one count of kidnapping. Officials say more charges are pending.
As I watched the video clips of the story unfolding, I was mesmerized by what I saw. Rarely have I seen both law enforcement and media so emotionally involved in a case. Elation and relief were painted on the faces of both those who worked to solve the cases and those who reported on them. Press conferences with the two families were gut-wrenching; Hollywood could never script real life dramas like this where the characters are common folks unwillingly thrust into the spotlight. Shawn's parents have become advocates for missing children in his absence, even setting up a foundation in his name. There are many lessons in this story, which for once, was actually ripped from the headlines! Shawn's father spoke of receiving a call when Elizabeth Smart was located after a year in the most high profile kidnapping case of recent times. He said the news of her rescue gave him hope to keep going and I am sure Shawn's almost miraculous recovery will spark a revival in others whose children have disappeared. Both Ben's and Shawn's families in the weekend press conferences could not keep their hands off their sons; who could blame them? They had received their sons back from the precipice of death.
There was something else that stood out as I watched and read everything I could about this case. (Actually, it would be more accurate to say cases but Ben and Shawn will be forever linked in the mind of the public.) The suffering of one led to the freedom of the other. If Ben Ownby had not been kidnapped, Shawn Hornbeck would not have been recovered. Was the pain and suffering of the Ownby family worth the unspeakable joy of Shawn's family? Only Ben's family could answer but I would guess the answer would be yes. Does this story sound familiar? It played out centuries ago. The suffering of one led to freedom for mankind. My spiritual rescue was predicated on Jesus suffering for my lostness. I know from the Scriptures that it was worth it to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They just dispensed with the press conference when I came home: too many other lost souls to rescue!
Applicable quote of the day:
"My wife and I still strongly feel she is out there, that she is alive........ I would make a plea again to this abductor to please let Elizabeth go. We really want her home."
Ed Smart, Elizabeth's father, before her rescue
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Posted by Steve Hawley at 5:36 PM