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Kidnapped boy recounts 4 years of captivity

A Missouri teenager who was kidnapped and held for four years said he figured his days were numbered when his abductor decided to take another boy.
Boys Missing Interview
Shawn Hornbeck smiles after receiving a new backboard and hoop at a birthday celebration following a charity golf tournament to benefit the Shawn Hornbeck Foundation in Madison, Ill., in this July file photo.Tom Gannam / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A Missouri teenager who was kidnapped and held for four years said he figured his days were numbered when his abductor decided to take another boy, according to transcripts from a television interview released Wednesday to The Associated Press.

Shawn Hornbeck, now 17, and his parents recounted their story during an interview with CBS News' "48 Hours Mystery," in which he discusses details of his captivity for the first time.

"The days got slimmer," he said. "'Cause it's a replacement. When you get a new car, what do you do with the old one? You usually get rid of it, right?"

Shawn was 11 when he was kidnapped by Michael Devlin in 2002 near his home in Washington County, Mo. He and Ben Ownby, another kidnapped boy, were found in the suburban St. Louis apartment of Michael Devlin, who is now serving life sentences in prison for kidnapping and abusing the boys.

Didn't fear death
But Shawn said death didn't scared him. His greatest fear over the more than four years of captivity was that he would never see his family again, he said.

The show also includes an interview with Ben Ownby, who was 13 when Devlin abducted him in January 2007. Both boys were found four days after Ben's abduction.

Shawn was taken while riding a bike to a friend's house in October 2002.

"From day one, he had the gun. He had the power," Shawn said. "The thing that sticks out the most is, he said, 'You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.'"

Not a day went by that he didn't think Devlin would kill him, he said.

Investigators have said Devlin subjected Shawn to a particularly intense month of abuse at the start of his captivity, tying the boy to a futon and duct-taping his mouth.

"I'm not gonna lie; there was times when it seemed like I was better off dead than living through" the captivity, Shawn said.

Devlin had said he would kill Shawn if he ever tried to run, a threat Shawn's family has called a "deal with the devil."

Given more freedoms
Over time, Shawn was given more freedoms, including time outside and being allowed to make friends.

During the interviews, CBS' Troy Roberts said Shawn's parents, Craig and Pam Akers, had requested that he not ask Shawn why he did not seek rescue by telling someone about his abduction.

His mother said she doesn't think Shawn is ready to talk about it. And his stepfather, Craig Akers, said it's not worth putting Shawn through any more guilt to satisfy people's curiosity.

Shawn said that he still hasn't told his parents everything about what happened, and that he also worries about being misunderstood.

"Is that to protect them?" Roberts asked.

"In some ways, yeah," Shawn said. "Then, in other ways, I'm just not ready."

Ben Ownby, now 14, was kidnapped while getting off his school bus in Franklin County. His 15-year-old neighbor was able to describe Devlin's white pickup truck, the key detail that led to the former pizzeria manager's arrest.

Ben said he is adjusting to life in high school, where he is a freshman.

Phone messages left for the Akers family were not immediately returned Wednesday.

The interview is to air on CBS on Saturday evening.