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Two boys found alive; one missing since 2002

Story Highlights

• Two boys found in Missouri home during search for boy who vanished Monday
• William found; Shawn, 15, missing since he was 11, tells police who he is
• 41-year-old man arrested, charged with first-degree kidnapping
• Boys appear to be healthy and are back with families, sheriff says
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ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CNN) -- Two missing Missouri boys, one of them missing since 2002, were found alive in a Kirkwood, Missouri, apartment, and a suspect was arrested, Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke said Friday.

Shawn Hornbeck, 15, of Richwoods, Missouri, was last seen riding his bike to a friend's house in October 2002. Richwoods is about 60 miles south of St. Louis.

William Ben Ownby, 13, had been missing since Monday. He was last seen after getting off his school bus in Franklin County, near St. Louis.

Both boys appear to be healthy and have been reunited with their families, Toelke said.

"Obviously there's some very happy people that were here," he said.

Thursday night, two police officers in suburban Kirkwood went to a residence at the apartment complex to serve an unrelated warrant, Toelke told reporters. While there, they noticed a rusty white Nissan pickup truck that matched the description of that sought in the Ownby case and took photos of it. (Watch how police found the boys Video)

"That resulted in the recovery," Toelke said.

Michael J. Devlin, 41, was arrested and has been charged with one count of first-degree kidnapping, said Franklin County Prosecutor Robert Parks. Devlin was being held on $1 million bail, he said, and more charges are likely.

Shawn identified himself to officers, Toelke said. He said Shawn's appearance had changed so much that he didn't recognize the boy.

"He looked like he'd probably grown quite a bit. He was a little taller and his hair was darker," he said.

"I'm sure the parents would have recognized him, but if he'd have walked into the office I don't know that I would have."

Video footage taken at the Franklin County Sheriff's Office showed both boys getting out of a vehicle. William's relatives met him at the sheriff's office, and police were notifying Shawn's family, Toelke said. (Watch the boys being escorted into the building Video)

He said officers brought the boys Twinkies and doughnuts after they arrived at the sheriff's office.

Investigators rejoiced at the break in the case.

"All of us have been on cloud nine," Toelke said at an outdoor news conference in heavy rain. "The last four days, and the things we've gone through ... You know, you have to face the family every day and tell them, 'Well, we haven't had any luck yet,' and that wears on you.

"And then you have something like this happen -- there's nothing to describe it, really."

Authorities divulged few details regarding the recovery, the investigation or the suspect.

"There's a lot of things that we don't know right now," Toelke said.

But he called the recoveries a "complete surprise. ... To have two endings like this is just unbelievable."

Chris Diamond, who shortly after the disappearance in 2002 co-founded the Shawn Hornbeck Foundation for families of missing children, told CNN's Larry King that the foundation's volunteers were ecstatic.

"Hundreds and hundreds of volunteers have helped search. We have scoured so many acres and acres of areas. We have tips from all over the country. We have just searched for him and we've never given up."

"There's kind of a gut feeling," Diamond added. "I had a feeling that hopefully one day we would have the kind of reunion that we're having tonight."

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Shawn Hornbeck, 15, is escorted into the Franklin County, Missouri, sheriff's office after being found Thursday night.



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