Day 13, US research trip, Believe No One
Believe No One takes Fennimore & Simms to the United States Mid West.
These blogs document the places we visited and people we met during the research trip.
Sunday, 13th May 2012
Project ALERT representatives are trained by the National Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and participate in a variety of ways on missing child cases. The average Project ALERT Representative (PAR) has retired after working more than 20 years within a federal, state, or local, law-enforcement agency.
They specialize in the long term missing children cases, NCMEC performing a wide range of functions including case review, organization and analysis, recommending investigative strategies, assistance with case interviews and technical meetings with law enforcement personnel to discuss additional resources.
Project ALERT members also represent NCMEC at law enforcement conferences, provide law enforcement training, and address community awareness initiatives. They can integrate NCMEC resources such as age progression, facial reconstruction, poster distribution, DNA protocol, search experts, and database searches into the investigation.
Joe Burgoon, Team Adam Consultant, and St Louis County PD Cold Case Unit Investigator, tells me the story of Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby, kidnapped by paedophile Michael J Devlin. Shawn vanished after going for a ride on his bike in Richwoods, Missouri in 2002. Ben Ownby disappeared in 2007. Amber Alerts were put out for both Shawn and Ben when they disappeared.
Devlin had worked at the same pizza parlour for over 20 years. The place was popular with local police, nobody suspected him, and he had no criminal record. But when police went to his apartment building to serve an unrelated warrant, they noticed that his pickup was similar to one seen by a friend of Ben’s on the day he disappeared. They spoke to Devlin, and made uneasy by his response, they called in the FBI. The boys were later discovered in Devlin’s apartment. Shawn had been held for 4 years, and Ben for 4 days. See ‘The Miracle of Missouri.’ Devlin was later jailed for life.
Shawn Hornbeck still makes appearances on behalf of the foundation set up by his parents when he disappeared.