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Feds might charge suspect in boys' kidnappings

Story Highlights

• Two boys found in 41-year-old Michael Devlin's suburban St. Louis apartment
• Shawn Hornbeck, 15, William Ben Ownby, 13, doing well, back with families
• Shawn, 15, disappeared in October 2002; Ben vanished Monday
• Devlin in custody on $1 million bail
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ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CNN) -- Authorities might file federal charges against Michael J. Devlin, the man suspected of kidnapping two Missouri boys who were found in his suburban St. Louis apartment Friday.

Although he wouldn't specify the charges, Roland J. Corvington, special agent in charge of the FBI's St. Louis division, said he was exploring the option after a search of Devlin's apartment.

Shawn Hornbeck, 15, who disappeared four years ago, was found in the apartment along with William Ben Ownby, 13, who had been missing since Monday.

Devlin, 41, is in custody and has been charged with one count of first-degree kidnapping, Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Parks said. (Watch as Devlin is escorted by police Video)

He is being held on $1 million bail and is to be arraigned on the charge next week, Parks said.

"The fortunate thing is that we have him. He's behind bars. He's not going any place, and now we have a little bit of a luxury of time to pull this case together," Parks said.

"What we're looking for is a successful prosecution of Mr. Devlin," he said.

Parks spoke at a news conference in suburban St. Louis, attended by William Ben Ownby and his ecstatic family. (Full story)

Devlin worked at a pizza parlor and a funeral home. The funeral home, Bopp Chapel in Kirkwood, issued a statement about Devlin.

"Mr. Devlin worked at Bopp Chapel part time for less than a year," it read. "His job title was overnight telephone attendant and he worked Sunday and Tuesday nights from 10 p.m. till 7 a.m. and he was very prompt, well-mannered and efficient in receiving calls.

"Bopp Chapel joins everyone in their relief and joy in the safe return of Shawn and Ben."

Ben disappeared Monday and was last seen getting off his school bus in Franklin County, west of St. Louis.

Shawn was last seen riding his bike in 2002, when he was 11.

The break in the case came thanks to two police officers who spotted a white pickup at Devlin's apartment complex while serving an unrelated warrant there. The truck matched the description of the one sought in Ben's disappearance.

When lawmen went into Devlin's apartment, Corvington said, Ben looked up and asked, "Are you going to take me home?"

The other boy said he was Shawn Hornbeck when asked to identify himself.

More research is needed into Devlin's background, said Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke on Saturday. "The case as far as we're concerned is a successful conclusion, but there's still a lot of ground work that needs to be done, a lot of legwork."


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