ST. LOUIS • Five years have passed since police nabbed a Kirkwood man who abducted two boys and kept them as sex slaves inside his tiny apartment.
Four days after a teen from Beaufort, Mo., disappeared, police closed in on Michael Devlin's 450-square-foot apartment in the 400 block of South Holmes Avenue.
Once there, police were stunned to not only find the missing teen, William "Ben" Ownby, but also Shawn Hornbeck, then 15, who had been missing for more than four years.
Devlin, a quiet loner who worked at an Imo's pizzeria in Kirkwood since he was a teenager, was sentenced to 74 life sentences in 2007 after admitting to kidnapping and sexually assaulting the two boys. Now 45, Devlin is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Devlin picked up Ben Ownby, then 13, in his white Nissan pickup near Beaufort, Mo., in Franklin County. Devlin targeted Ownby because he felt Hornbeck had grown too old. Devlin might have gotten away with it if not for a friend of Ownby's who spotted Devlin's truck and gave police a description.
A massive search for Ownby led police to Devlin's Kirkwood apartment where they found the boys. Hornbeck, now 20, was kidnapped by Devlin on Oct. 6, 2002, as he rode his bicycle near his home in Richwoods, Mo.
EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect location for the pizzeria where Devlin worked. This version has been corrected.