ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Shawn Hornbeck knows better than most what exactly the women in Cleveland endured.
>> Watch the full interview with Shawn Hornbeck at the bottom of this page.
Shawn was kidnapped and abused. He was missing for more than four years before he was reunited with his family.
“My emotions and the thoughts that I had was obviously joy. It’s showing that there is still miracle and hope out there and people just don’t need to give up because there’s always hope. You can’t go through life without it,” explained the 21-year-old Hornbeck as he reacted to the rescue of the three women in Cleveland.
The women were found after spending nearly a decade in captivity.
Hornbeck knows the hell that the women went through. He was kidnapped by Michael Devlin back in October 2002 when he was just 11 years old and wasn’t found until January 2007.
That’s when police discovered Hornbeck and another Devlin kidnap victim, Ben Ownby, inside Devlin’s Kirkwood apartment.
Hornbeck talked with us about how he survived.
“I knew my family was out there and they would never give up. And I’m sure these girls felt the same way. I mean you just have to hold on to your life because if you don’t, you’re just going to be lost within yourself and you can’t have that,” said Hornbeck.
Hornbeck says miracles like what happened in Cleveland make him reflect on his own happy ending, “When I hear about people coming home I instantly think about when I came home and seeing my parents for the first time because you will never feel another moment like that and I’m sure the girls felt the same thing I did when they were reunited with their family.”
Shawn says personally he’s doing great. He’s working at a metal fabrication plant and in his words is doing what any normal 21 year old would do.
Hornbeck tells us he’s been able to put what happened behind him, “It’s a part of my life that I’ve had to accept and I have. With my family there, they’ve just made me strong and I’ve been able to move on with my life because they’ve been there to help me move on with my life.”
Shawn has tattoos on his arm that read ‘faith’ and ‘respect.’ They are two words that he says mean a lot to him and have helped him move on.
He has a message other missing kids and their families, “You can’t give up. You have to stay strong the whole time and you have to just have that strength and just know one day you will be reunited with your family.”
Hornbeck says he is willing to meet with the Cleveland victims if they want to.
He says the women should turn to their families for support in their recoveries.
Shawn and his parents urge all of us to be aware of our surroundings and speak up if you see something out of the ordinary.