From KMOX-St. Louis
Sauerwein, a former reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the L.A. Times, delves into a puzzling kidnapping case with penetrating true crime reporting. She describes 11-year-old Shawn Hornbeck's disappearance from his rural Missouri hometown, while riding his bike in 2002. He was abducted by Michael Devlin, an innocuous-seeming pizza-shop manager who repeatedly sexually abused and tortured Shawn for four years. In a strange twist, Devlin also assumed a fatherly role and Hornbeck became his "son"; even given freedom to go out alone, Hornbeck never tried to escape. Shawn was joined by another kidnapped boy, Ben Ownby, four days before the police nabbed Devlin in January 2007. The unusual psychological aspects of Hornbeck's captivity and his failure to attempt to escape are explained, according to Sauerwein, by the Stockholm syndrome, which leads a captive to bond with his captor. An impeccable, on-target true crime narration, this book of loss, perversity and redemption illuminates not only the desperate pangs of a predator's sexual hunger but the steadfast love of two families for their missing children. (May)
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Reviewed May 9, 2008
"The chilling true crime story and the author’s astute
psychological analysis of Hornbeck’s ordeal make this
one not to miss."
By: Caroline Leavitt
DAME Magazine, May 2008
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Corey Mitchell, Best-selling True Crime Author
Another online view: click here
"Kristina Sauerwein not only expertly dissects the Michael Devlin case but also provides textbook scrutiny of the deviant behavior of child abductors in general, and does so through a fascinating narrative. This book will be recommended reading for law enforcement officers, social workers, journalists and parents everywhere.”
….James E. Shelledy, Fred Jones Greer Chair, Manship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University.
"Kristina Sauerwein takes a deep psychological look at child predator Michael Devlin and brings home the story of hope that found the two innocent boys he kidnapped and sexually assaulted. An interesting read."
….Caitlin Rother, author of Poisoned Love and Twisted Triangle.
“With a reporter’s skill and a narrative precision, Kristina Sauerwein takes the reader through a labyrinth of haunting social murkiness—the kind that terrifies any family. What emerges is a riveting, even-handed account of a repulsive character.”
….Samuel Autman, former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter and professor of English at DePauw University.
“Kristina Sauerwein recounts nimbly the bizarre and sad case of two missing boys in an insular country town in the far-outskirts of St. Louis. She recreates the places, people and mysterious and disturbing circumstances with intimate exactness, propelling us into this twisted tale. Her book helps us understand how profoundly the kidnappings destroyed two families and moved a community.”
….Mei-Ling Hopgood, award-winning investigative journalist
"As a law enforcement official, I believe Kristina has given this case a thorough investigation. She's looked at so many angles and talked to so many experts that no stone has been unturned. This is a must read."
….Jerald Barnes, a lieutenant with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and one of the nation’s most respected hostage negotiators who teaches techniques worldwide.
"Survivors of abduction and other terrors like torture, domestic violence and child abuse adapt to these horrors in many ways. Stockholm syndrome is one way that normal individuals cope with these kinds of overwhelming experiences. Invisible Chains describes the experiences
of two boys who were kidnapped by a sexual predator and held captive, one
for four days and the other for over four years. Interviews with world renowned experts, clearly articulate the adaptations that enable survival under these types of conditions. Invisible Chains is a tribute to the courage, persistence and resilience of these boys and their families. I found it both moving and inspirational."
….David L. Corwin, MD, Medical Director of Primary Children’s Center for Safe and Healthy Families and Professor and Chief of the Pediatrics Division of Child Protection and Family Health at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
In January 2007, two boys were found in the Kirkwood, Mo., home of Michael Devlin, a 41-year-old pizza parlor manager who was described by those around him as a “nice enough” guy. One of the boys, Ben Ownby, had been kidnapped just four days earlier; the other was Shawn Hornbeck. At the age of eleven, Shawn Hornbeck abruptly vanished from his rural home in Richwoods, Mo., while riding his bike. For the next four years the young boy lived with his abductor in plain view of others and only an hour’s drive from where he went missing. Shawn assumed his abductor’s last name, made several friends, played video games, and used the Internet freely-yet he didn’t attempt to escape. Invisible Chains explores the psychological factors involved in the kidnapping that startled a nation-from Michael Devlin’s criminal profile to the reality behind Stockholm syndrome-and recounts the riveting story of the abduction and miraculous rescue of Ben Ownby, who was captive by Michael Devlin for four days, and Shawn Hornbeck, who was held captive for four years.
To purchase the book, click on the book cover above or Invisible Chains.
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