Michelle McNamara Solved the Shawn Hornbeck Kidnapping Case Long Before I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

Michelle McNamara Solved the Shawn Hornbeck Kidnapping Case Long Before I'll Be Gone in the Dark

Michelle McNamara Solved the Shawn Hornbeck Kidnapping Case Long Before I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, printed in 2018, serves because the inspiration for HBO’s engrossing docuseries of the identical identify. The true crime author spent years diving into the psyche, motive, and intensive sufferer listing of the Golden State Killer, making headlines of her personal with probably the most private and detailed journalistic investigations of the homicide, initially printed in Los Angeles Journal.

However McNamara, a pioneer in true crime web sleuthing, did not get her begin with a sudden curiosity in the murders that plagued California by means of the ’70s and ’80s. Before she dove into the terrors of the Golden State Killer, she additionally beat the police to fixing one other chilly case. In 2007, the then-blogger accurately related two lacking individual circumstances collectively simply at some point Before police arrested Michael Devlin for a latest kidnapping and one other dated 4 years Before. McNamara’s work on the Golden State Killer is her most prolific, however the journalist proved her unimaginable expertise with investigative journalism manner Before I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.

What Happened?

On October 6, 2002, Shawn Hornbeck was kidnapped whereas driving his bike in Richwoods, Missouri. He was 11 years outdated. Police went on a seek for Hornbeck, however had been unable to find the boy’s whereabouts. Quickly after, Hornbeck’s dad and mom went on the The Montel Williams Present the place a psychic instructed the household that their son was lifeless, after which described the kidnapping, failing to get any of the eventual particulars accurately. In his honor, his household began the Shawn Hornbeck Basis and Search and Rescue Crew.

Years later, in 2007, Ben Ownby went lacking. 4 days later, officers had been capable of find Ownby inside 4 days of going lacking. However when Ownby was discovered, kidnapped by Michael Devlin, one other boy was onsite. Shawn Hornbeck was alive and had been residing with Devlin as a hostage for over 4 years.

How Did McNamara Identify the Case?

As I’ll Be Gone in the Dark says, McNamara precisely famous a significant tip that steered that the circumstances of Ownby (which dominated the information cycle on the time) and Hornbeck (which had all however fallen off the radar) had been probably related. On her then-largely unknown weblog, McNamara posted:

Persevering with on her sleuthing mission, she additionally included a map of the realm, which detailed the boys’ abduction websites. McNamara’s observations had been at all times notable due to her intense consideration to element, and regardless that her submit landed on True Crime Day by day a day Before the arrest, officer and media consideration largely failed to acknowledge McNamara’s accomplishments. Nonetheless, followers and true crime aficionados took discover.

What Happened After?

Even after the arrest, McNamara continued to be aware of additional particulars that pointed to extra layers in the abduction. In a write up for Notre Dame Journal, Jamie Reidy outlines the small particulars McNamara picked up from the case. Listening to an interview, she heard a sufferer’s brother speak about household holidays on Lake Michigan. “McNamara did an internet property search and realized {that a} man with the identical identify as Devlin’s father owns a house in western Michigan, proper close to the lake,” Reidy writes. “She subsequent searched ‘Lacking boys SW Michigan,’ and located a case in Benton Harbor during which the sufferer carefully resembled Ben Ownby and Shawn Hornbeck.”

The search has finally gone unsolved, however as of 2019, Devlin continues to be a suspect in the case of 5 different lacking boys.

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