Movers clearing out the tiny apartment where police found two missing boys worked briskly through a drizzle Monday, hauling a beat-up skateboard, video game consoles and play sets for plastic soldiers.
The toys, board games and fantasy card games fit the lifestyle that prosecutors say 41-year-old Michael Devlin lived for more than four years after kidnapping one of the boys — alternately playing with the teen, who was allowed to leave the apartment on his own, and abusing him mentally and physically.
Devlin, a 300-pound pizzeria manager, has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping charges in the counties where police say the boys were abducted. He has yet to enter a plea to kidnapping charges and 69 counts of forcible sodomy in the county where he lived.
Devlin’s landlord said investigators had already removed belongings they considered evidence by the time Devlin’s lawyer and brother arrived Monday with three other men at the one-room apartment in a working-class section of Kirkwood, a St. Louis suburb.
Beyond the toys and expensive video game and computer equipment, the apartment’s contents ranged from modest to dingy. Much of the wood furniture was old and covered in dust. There was the gear of an outdoorsman — an empty case for a rifle, a waterproof rubber bag used to carry equipment on canoeing trips. The walls were covered with paintings and photos of nature scenes.
The carpet was covered in stains from cats that lived there until Devlin was arrested. Fast-food condiment packets littered the floor, and dried food coated the stovetop.
Devlin’s belongings were loaded into a midsize moving truck. His attorney, Ethan Corlija, said some will be stored, some discarded. Devlin’s brother, Patrick, helped pack up items in the apartment but declined to be interviewed.
Police found Shawn Hornbeck, 15, and Ben Ownby, 13, at the apartment Jan. 12, four days after Ownby was abducted.
While it is The Associated Press’ policy not to identify alleged victims of sexual abuse in most cases, the story of Shawn and Ben has been widely publicized and their names are well known. Also, their families have gone public, conducting several media interviews.
Devlin remains in jail in lieu of $1 million bail.