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Inside the Missouri Miracle

Aired January 15, 2007 - 21:00   ET


CRAIG AKERS, STEPFATHER OF SHAWN HORNBECK: It was a split second of shock but then, you know, once I saw the face, I was like oh my god, that's my son.


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, an exclusive look inside the Missouri miracle -- two boys found together, alive. One missing four days, the other more than four years.

Now, meet the two hero cops who blew this huge case wide open while realizing the suspect was someone they knew.

And then, the first interview with the attorneys for the man accused of abducting the boys. They met with him today and can tell us what he has to say.

Also, the suspect's boss for 25 years at a local pizza parlor -- did he have any clue at all to his employee's dark secret?

Plus, John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted," Elizabeth Smart's father, Ed Smart. He knows what it's like to have a horrifying wait rewarded when your missing child is rescued.




KING: And more, all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

Last Friday's news was dramatic. Thirteen-year-old William Ben Ownby found safe four days after he vanished. But dramatic became downright stunning when it was also announced that Shawn Hornbeck, missing more than four years, was also found safe in the same apartment. John Walsh, of "America's Most Wanted," will be with us throughout the hour. And we'll have the exclusive first interview with the kidnapping suspect's attorneys.

But first, we begin with the two hero cops who helped break this case open -- Kirkwood, Missouri police officers Gary Wagster and Chris Nelson. What brought you, Gary, to the suspect's house in the first place?

OFCR. GARY WAGSTER, KIRKWOOD, MISSOURI, POLICE: Larry, we were executing a search warrant that was unrelated to the incident at hand. Upon attempting to contact the man, we were unable to. And at this time, we were leaving the premises, walking down the stairs toward the parking lot and we noticed the white vehicle.

Both myself and Officer Nelson realized that this could possibly be a suspect vehicle and put together the information given out by the 15-year-old young man as well as some other information that was delivered to us.

KING: So, Chris, did you then go up to the apartment?

OFCR. CHRIS NELSON, KIRKWOOD, MISSOURI POLICE: No, sir, we didn't. We -- first we walked up to the car. And Gary and I went over the information that we did have, based on the report from the 15-year-old that it was a White Nissan truck. The camper shell was the same color as the actual body of the truck. There was some rust they were looking for, some dirt.

We did a computer check of the vehicle to make sure it wasn't wanted and to find out if the register -- who the registered owner was and if he had a local address.

KING: Was it all, Gary, Ben Ownby on your mind?

WAGSTER: Well, it was. We, apart from putting together the pieces, I mean it was definitely something that we wanted to further investigate. And upon, you know, after our neighborhood canvass, we then made contact with an individual taking out his trash, which, in turn, was Mr. Devlin. He identified himself as being the owner of the vehicle and at which time we began to have a conversation.

KING: And when did you enter the apartment, Chris?

NELSON: Well, actually, we never entered the apartment. We had the conversation with Mr. Devlin. We ran into an impasse. We didn't have enough information after a little while and after his attitude totally changed. So after we ran out of information then we could on -- we no longer could talk to Mr. Devlin. We went ahead and called our supervisors and they agreed that we needed to call the FBI and the command post.

KING: And they came and did the arresting?

WAGSTER: At that time, the FBI, they arrived with personnel from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. They further questioned Mr. Devlin. And at this time, we basically took a step back and turned the investigation over to the FBI.

KING: Did you wind up seeing the kids, Chris?

NELSON: We stayed there until about 2:00. That's when our shift was over. We had another officer, Officer Hargate (ph), that stayed the rest of the night that kept surveillance on the house. We actually -- Gary and myself actually didn't find out until tomorrow -- Friday afternoon. Gary got the information from the -- from the -- someone at the department. Then he called me. I was at home.

KING: What did you make of it, Gary, when you heard who it was and what happened?

WAGSTER: Well, it's a person that we had seen, you know, obviously, when we would go to Imo's and pick up food and whatnot. A very quiet, laid back individual. It was just kind of, you know, just basically kind of threw us for a loop a little bit. You just never know.

KING: No, you never know.

Have you seen the boys, Chris, around?

NELSON: No, sir, not me personally. We did see Shawn inside the house that night while we were waiting for the FBI to get there. But based on the information that we obtained in the canvass, we were aware that there was a teenaged male living in the house. And Shawn...

KING: But you didn't gather, Gary, that someone was after him, that he was missing for four years?

WAGSTER: No, sir. At the time, we were looking for Ben, a totally different statute, size, and that's basically what we were going for. I mean that was the information we were given as far as the abduction of Ben. So we were looking for him. And it didn't -- it didn't set with us, including the information given to us through the canvass.

The neighbors stated that Mr. Devlin lived there with a teenage son or a relative.

KING: We know, fellows, you know, no one loves cops more than John Walsh. He will be with us throughout the show. He is in Florida. He's the host of "America's Most Wanted."

John, you're on with Officers Wagster and Nelson.

What do you make of this whole story, John?

JOHN WALSH, HOST, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": Well, I'll tell you, you're talking to two heroes here, two local cops whose gut feeling and their -- their good street smarts said something is wrong here, we need to contact somebody else -- state, federal authorities.

This is the way it should be done. This is the way that state, local, federal authorities work together to save lives. And you're interviewing two heroes here who went by their gut and saved these two boys' lives. We don't hear many happy endings and this is one to cheer about.

KING: And, John, you'll be joining us throughout the program.

We're going to have a major panel discussion later in which we look into all of this.

Gary, was there something about the suspect that gave you pause?

WAGSTER: As I began having a conversation with Mr. Devlin, it was like I'm talking to you right now, it was just a normal conversation. But as my questions became more specific, his demeanor changed drastically. And it was a side of him that we had never seen before.

It threw up red flags for both me and Officer Nelson, as he -- like I said, as our questions became more specific, he just -- his posture, the way he addressed us, numerous things just changed in his demeanor.

KING: Chris, how would you describe it?

NELSON: It was -- it was talking to one person and then two seconds later it was talking to somebody else.

KING: Wow!

NELSON: And Gary and I have been working together long enough and we've worked on the street long enough that immediately we knew something was wrong without even saying anything to each other.

KING: In other words, he went from being, what, nice to not nice? Calm to aggravated?

NELSON: Right. I mean he was aggravated, clenching his fists, wouldn't make eye contact with us anymore and was trying to basically just end the -- end the conversation, end the contact that we had with him.

KING: Thank you, guys.

We salute you.

The story is amazing.

Officers Gary Wagster and Officer Chris Nelson

John Walsh remains.

When we come back, the attorneys for Michael Devlin in their first TV interview ever. We'll hear their client's side of the story. Now, Don't go away.


BOB PARKS, FRANKLIN COUNTY PROSECUTOR: The Franklin County prosecutor's office has charged one Michael J. Devlin at this time with one count of kidnapping in the first degree. And we have asked for and received a million dollars bond. C. AKERS: It just boggles my mind that someone thinks that they can get away with it. And obviously they do. I mean this -- this has been going on for four years and he's -- he's been right here under our nose the whole time.




PAM AKERS, MOTHER OF SHAWN HORNBECK: This is totally out of the, you know, ordinary for him. He's never been late. He's scared of the dark. When he didn't come home last night. I knew it wasn't right.

C. AKERS: We think we've found Shawn. We're 95 percent sure that we've found Shawn and that he's alive.

GARY TOELKE, FRANKLIN COUNTY SHERIFF: And we've also located Shawn Hornbeck. He was at the same residence with him when he was located. Both boys appear at this point to be OK.

C. AKERS: We're just so thankful for everyone, for everything that's been done.


KING: John Walsh will be back with us in a little while.

Right now, we're going to spend this segment with the two attorneys for the subject -- the suspect, Michael Devlin.

They are Michael Kielty and Ethan Corlija. They are both in St. Charles, Missouri.

Michael, I understand you met with Mr. Devlin today.

How is he doing?


He's doing pretty well. He's scared. But we are anticipating a long week of battle to protect his rights and preserve the integrity of the system.

KING: Ethan, he has been formally charged?

ETHAN CORLIJA, MICHAEL DEVLIN'S ATTORNEY: He's been -- Larry, he's been charged by the Franklin County prosecuting attorney. There has not been a formal finding by a court of probable cause relating to the one count of child abduction, kidnapping, a Class A felony in the state of Missouri.

But he has been charged in order to obtain the $1 million bond that is currently in place.

KING: How were you guys retained, Michael?

KIELTY: Oh, I think Ethan can answer that question for us, Larry.

KING: Ethan?

CORLIJA: Well, Larry, I was referred to the family by a family friend of theirs who is -- whom is also an attorney, who does not practice criminal law. He had established communication with them and advised them that they needed to seek the expertise of a criminal defense lawyer, at which time they made contact with me.

And that occurred on Friday, January 12th. Once they made contact with me, I had spoken to them at great length about the case and then went to go visit Michael at the Franklin County Detention Facility.

KING: I see.

And you brought in Michael?

CORLIJA: That's correct. He's co-counsel on the case and a member of my law firm.

KING: Has Michael Devlin -- has Michael Devlin expressed, Michael, any interest in the boys?

KIELTY: Larry, I don't think we're going to discuss that. It's privileged information. What we're, again, here to stick to is legal strategy, to try to get a fair and balanced approach, to make sure that the integrity of the system is upheld and that Mr. Devlin is not rushed to justice.


And what will that strategy be, Ethan?

CORLIJA: Well, Larry, I think, you know, it's a little bit premature to discuss legal strategy at this point. Mike and I have discussed various options and avenues that we may proceed with, but there's been no definitive set strategy put forth. We still have not received any of the evidence nor are we privileged to receive that evidence under state law at this time.

And I think that's, you know, once we get that evidence and go through the reports and the statements, it'll help develop a strategy that will be, you know, befitting to the case.

KING: Are you in danger, Michael, here, of a presumption of guilt?

KIELTY: I think we are, Larry. And one of the issues we're going to have is finding a fair venue. I don't know what, if any, venue in this state, or, for that matter, with the attention that this case has gotten nationwide in the country, would really give this guy a fair shake. I think the media has convicted him. The public is looking to convict him. And we're going to do everything that we can to ensure that if we go that route, he does, in fact, get a fair trial.

KING: Here's what we know about him.

He's a 41-year-old manager of a pizzeria in suburban St. Louis. We'll meet the owner of that pizzeria in a minute. He's had the same boss for 25 years, working in two of his restaurants, the second place a popular hangout for off duty police officers.

He's moonlighted twice a week answering phones at a funeral home. No apparent criminal past. A pair of traffic fines. Has diabetes. Has a short temper. Called police to report a neighbor who had parked in his parking space. His friends call him by the nickname "Devo." He has five siblings and at least two of his brothers were adopted.

Are you concerned, Ethan, whenever we have people charged or possibly charged with dealings with children, about his health, about his well being?

CORLIJA: Yes, I am, Larry, and I think as his defense lawyers, that's one of the primary things we look at. Obviously, Mr. Devlin had some pre-existing health conditions before he was ever charged with any criminal case.

He has a -- he is a Type 2 diabetic. He also has a rare circulatory -- blood circulatory disease. He has had surgery before on his foot due to the complications from the diabetic condition.

So that is on the forefront of our mind, also. We want to make sure that he received the medication, the proper medical care and attention that he needs at this time, while he's confined.

KIELTY: If I could, Larry...

KING: One of the dan...


KING: One of the dan -- yes, go ahead Michael. I'm sorry.

KIELTY: Yes, if I could, I think something else that we know is that there's a presumption of innocence here. And that's not my saying it and it's not Mr. Corlija saying it. It's our United States and state constitutions saying that. And I think everybody needs to remember that and not rush to judgment.

The facts haven't come out yet and, you know, we're waiting for them to come out. But we're going to do everything we can to protect this gentleman and his rights.

KING: So are you troubled by the fact that there have been reports of child porn found in his apartment?

CORLIJA: Well, Larry, I think that -- yes, it's certainly troubling, especially if those reports have no basis in fact. I'm not going to say that they do or they don't. We just don't have that information currently and we're not privy to it. Once we receive that information and review it, we'll be able to make a decision as to which way we'll proceed on a defense of any type of charge, whether it's kidnapping, child pornography or any other type of sexual offense.

KING: Yes.

And we'll be calling on you guys again.

We appreciate it.

One other thing, Michael. Since this may be a kidnapping, is this federal or state?

KIELTY: It's currently state, Larry. I think the federal prosecutors could get -- the U.S. attorney could get jurisdiction either under a federal kidnapping charge or possibly a child pornography charge, if they do, in fact, have that evidence.

KING: Michael Kielty and Ethan Corlija, the attorneys for the suspect, Michael Devlin.

We'll be calling on them again.

When we come back, someone who has known the accused kidnapper longer than just about anybody -- the man who has been his boss for almost 25 years.

Did he have any idea of Mr. Devlin's apparently odd personal life?

Stick around and we'll find out right after the break.


MIKE PROSPERI, MICHAEL DEVLIN'S BOSS: Up until the -- until the time they showed him being arrested and taken away in their (UNINTELLIGIBLE), I was convinced they had the wrong guy. I said there's just no way.




DORIS OWNBY, MOTHER OF BEN OWNBY: We want people to know that -- that we just want Ben back.

TOELKE: We have some good news for you this evening and probably some unbelievable news. We did locate Ben this afternoon in the city of Kirkwood.

D. OWNBY: We're just excited and happy to have him at home. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: John Walsh remains with us in Florida.

Joining us in St. Louis is Mike Prosperi, Michael Devlin's boss for nearly 25 years, the owner of Imo's Pizza.

Business must be good, Mike.

You're getting a lot of -- you're getting a lot of press.

What do you make of all of this?


PROSPERI: ... unbelievable.

KING: The Michael Devlin you know, this is not the suspect?

PROSPERI: Well, I didn't believe anything until I actually saw them taking him away in the jumpsuit. He had led none of us to believe that anything like this could have ever -- ever been going on.

KING: Did he ever talk about the boy that was living with him?

PROSPERI: Never. Never. We -- as far as anybody at the restaurant knew, he lived completely alone.

KING: So he never brought the boy to the pizzeria?

PROSPERI: No. No. And if Shawn had been at the restaurant, he surely made no contact with Mike Devlin.

KING: Did he ever talk about family?

PROSPERI: Insofar as going over to help his mom paint or wallpaper or help her do some chores around the house. That's about it.

KING: Was he a good employee?

PROSPERI: An excellent employee. That's why he was made manager. He worked for me a long time as a pizza maker and then I put him into the management position and he was very trustworthy. That's why he was manager.

KING: Did you ever have any -- did you ever wonder about him about anything?

PROSPERI: No, not at all. He would come to work in the morning on time, leave, always very cordial; very, very friendly with all the customers.

The customers that came in today were just in absolute shock. You know, they -- I had one fellow that comes in and picks up an order and has a cane. He came up to me and embraced me and had tears in his eyes because Mike would always help him carry out the food. He was just a conscientious guy. He was a nice guy.

KING: What about when Ben Ownby disappeared? Did you -- were you a little worried about the description of a white truck and the like and that Mike took the day off?

PROSPERI: Well, yes, exactly. The -- when he took -- when Mike took the day off -- actually, he came to work that day and he didn't look very good. So I said, "Mike, get your day set up and just take the day off.

So later that evening, I had heard the report of the truck and the description. And I believe the initial description said that it had black Nissan lettering. And so just, you know, just for the heck of it, plus being the fact that he was not at work on Tuesday, I drove by his apartment on Tuesday.

And I noticed his vehicle and it had gray lettering. And I said well, good. That's a good thing. It doesn't have the black lettering. But I did notice on his fenders there was road dust. And there shouldn't have been road dust if he was -- if he was ill for two days.

So I mulled it over. I said I don't know if I want to go to the police. If I'm wrong, I'll create a big stir for nothing.

But Thursday morning, I was -- I get in there early Thursday and I decided, you know, what is it going to hurt, I'll go over and talk to the police.

I got over to the Kirkwood police station about 9:00 a.m. I talked to Captain Folio (ph), told him my concern. And I think -- I believe at that time he checked his record, found that Michael had no previous record at all, other than a couple of traffic violations.

The detective said that -- or, excuse me -- Captain Folio said that he would contact the FBI task force and that's -- that -- from that's the rest of what we have right now.

KING: John Walsh, do you think that Mr. Devlin can get a fair trial?

WALSH: Oh, I absolutely know he'll get a fair trial. This is America and in light of the facts coming out in the Duke rape case, sometimes people are falsely charged or something like that. But I know he's going to get a fair trial.

And I would say one thing to the two defense attorneys that are representing him. And they're so concerned with his health. They're so concerned with his diabetes. You know, when Shawn Hornbeck was kidnapped, he was 4'7" and weighed 90 pounds. Michael Devlin weighs 300 pounds.

These boys are going to be fighting the rest of their lives to get -- to deal with what happened to them, especially Shawn Hornbeck for four years.

KING: But if a potential juror just saw what you said, you've affected his fairness of judging that trial.

WALSH: Larry, Larry, I've been doing "America's Most Wanted" for 20 years. We've caught 900 fugitives. The most cunning fugitives are the pedophiles, you know, Mark Foley type of guy, priest you see on television in these stings.

KING: Yes.

WALSH: But you'll see rabbis, special ed teachers. I don't think anybody should be surprised.

But I'll tell you one thing, they'll find 12 honest men and women who weren't prejudiced by this case, who didn't watch this segment of LARRY KING LIVE and this man will get a fair trial.

I hope they treat these boys with the same, same kid gloves that he's going to get treated with, because they've got a real long row ahead of them to ever become functioning young men.

KING: Mike, if you were asked to get character, testify for him, would you?

PROSPERI: Yes. Yes, I would. It's just -- it's just completely baffling. For 25 years I've known him and it's just baffling. I think one reporter asked me what would I say to Mike if I saw him right now. I'd say, "Why?" you know, "Why?"

It's just -- it's just absolutely incredible.

KING: Thanks, Mike.

Mike Prosperi, the owner of Imo's Pizza.

When we come back, we'll try to answer that question.

Just ahead, we'll be joined by someone who knows exactly what Ben Ownby and Shawn Hornbeck's parents have been going through, kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart's dad. And a well known TV host and a psychiatrist will give us a look inside the minds of the two young victims and their suspected kidnapper.

Don't go away.


C. AKERS: It just boggles my mind that someone thinks that they can get away with it. And obviously they do. I mean this -- this has been going on for four years and he's been right here under our nose the whole time.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm asking and I'm pleading with whoever has her that I would do anything to have her back in my arms.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The family distributed a sketch, and on a March day, he was recognized on a suburban Salt Lake street. With him, Elizabeth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's real. It's real.

ELIZABETH SMART, ABDUCTION SURVIVOR: I just hope that no child or anybody would ever have to go through what I went through because nobody deserves to go through that. It's just so -- it's horrible for people.


KING: Remaining with us is John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted," fantastic guy and amazing guest who has been with us many times. Joining us in Salt Lake City, Utah is Ed Smart, the father of Elizabeth Smart. Elizabeth was abducted, as you have seen.

In San Francisco is Candice DeLong, the former FBI profiler, also a member of the bureau's child abduction task force. And a little while in New York, Dr. Keith Ablow will join us.

John Walsh has given us his initial thoughts. Ed, what's your read on this story?

ED SMART, FATHER OF ELIZABETH SMART: You know, it is so great to hear that two more were found. And I just hope that justice is served quickly. You know, we were always talking about rights and we are not talking about victims' rights. And I think that they deserve to have a lot. You know, Elizabeth said to me one time, she said, you know, dad, Brian took nine months from me and I'm not going to let him take anymore. And these two kids deserve to not have any more of their life taken from them.

KING: In your case, Ed, there will be no trial of that suspect, right?

SMART: Who knows? Who knows? It's ongoing now. They are going to the Supreme Court To fight, force medication. Who knows how long it's going to take? I don't know.

KING: Candice, are you surprised at this recovery?

CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Yes. Missing child cases rarely have a happy ending like this, let alone two happy endings in one incident. So it's really great. The cops really someone proud of themselves.

KING: Someone said today, if your child is taken and not found dead within a week or two and presumed to be still alive, you have a good shot.

DELONG: Well, I don't know that that we have real good statistics on that. We know a lot of children that are taken, unfortunately, are murdered within the first 24 to 48 hours. KING: Right.

DELONG: But I think the case of Elizabeth Smart and these two young boys today shows that there's really reason to never give up hope.

KING: Dr. Keith Ablow joins us, psychiatrist, best-selling author, host of "The Dr. Keith Ablow Show." What is your read?

KEITH ABLOW, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, my read here is that it is a tremendously happy ending. And such a surprise and I'm sure the entire nation is grateful for this result. There's a long journey ahead.

We hear this boy says he wants to go to McDonald's after being freed. But the truth of that is it's an example of the level of denial that Shawn needed to summon in order to survive in captivity. Your mind has to literally tell yourself that you're safe, that this person is your friend, the Stockholm Syndrome, in other words.

So now to rid yourself of that denial and get in contact with all of the rage and the shame and the helplessness and fear, it's a long journey, a gradual one. And, of course, we all wish him the best.

KING: What do you expect, John Walsh? What do you expect Shawn faces?

WALSH: Well, I tell you, you're talking to Ed Smart here and his beautiful wife Lois, who know what this is firsthand. And I think they set the gold standard. I know they never asked Elizabeth what happened during that time until she was ready. I think they have worked with her, and they have allowed her to become a beautiful young lady but they allowed her to fight back, too.

I think they set the standard. And I hope that Shawn Hornbeck's family and friends and I for sure hope the media understands that this boy has a lot of work ahead of him and that he absolutely -- absolutely had to comply with this creep -- alleged, let's say it right, Mr. Devlin is alleged.

Nobody's convicted him yet. He had to cope with all of this stuff just to survive. He had to make the choice, do I face a horrible death or I do what this person has asked me to do to keep myself alive? So there's going to be a lot of healing. It may be a lifelong journey for both boys. But I tell you what, Elizabeth Smart and her loving family are the gold standard for making a comeback.

KING: Ed, is that why in these cases they don't run away?

SMART: Absolutely. You know, Elizabeth was cabled there for two months and the times that she did try to get away, she was recaptured and said, "If you try that again, I'm going to kill you. I'm going to kill your family."

And those threats are very real. And you know, they, I believe, get to a point where they just try to survive, as has been said. And that survival is what ends up in the end bringing them back to us. And I'm so grateful for it.

KING: Even Candice, with four years?


KING: A man goes to work and you're alone in the house.

DELONG: Oh, absolutely, Larry. There have been cases of adults being taken by someone and held captive for seven years. It happened right here in northern California. And if an adult can succumb to the effects of Stockholm Syndrome and the survival syndrome, you can understand how it would be so easy for a child.

And often times the offenders tell their victims terrible things, including convincing them that their own family sometimes sold them to the offender or their families are dead or were killed in an accident. They make the victim call them daddy. And years...

KING: Wow.

DELONG: ... the longer this goes on, years and years and years, the more difficult it is for the child to ever remember what it was like to be free and that maybe he would be safe if he escaped.

KING: We will take a break and come back and get Dr. Keith Ablow's thoughts on that right after this.


KING: Dr. Keith Ablow, what's your read on why they stay and also the taking of a second person?

ABLOW: Well, why they stay, I think we can think about a triad of factors. One is if you're abducted as an 11 year-old boy, your whole concept of safety is immediately shattered. You believe anything can happen and that this man who has taken you is 300 pounds, is all-powerful. You don't know whether he's going to kill you. The story he may tell you is that he knows your family, that he knows people in the community. He may kill you. He may kill them. You have a sense of, "Well, maybe I can't be returned safely."

Then another thing happens: the Stockholm Syndrome, where you say to yourself -- out of denial, you say, "Listen, if this person holds the keys to life or death for me day in and day out every moment of my life, that's a pretty good guy to be my ally." So your mind protects you from the horrible reality that this person can destroy you at any time by saying, "Yes, but he's my friend."

And then the third thing, we know this boy or we've heard that he screamed night after night for some period of time. There's another concept, learned helplessness. At a certain point, you know what? Your protests and everything else, when they fall on quote, unquote deaf ears you say to yourself, "This is my lot in life." And you say, "I have to accept it."

So that triad is a very powerful one. I think that explains why he stayed, certainly.

KING: The taking of a second boy?

ABLOW: Well, I think the horrible reality is that if it is proven that this is a pedophile, Michael Devlin, then it may be that Shawn had grown to an age where he was no longer appealing to this man in the same way. You know, in an awful way, there's a comparison to be made between the most, you know, vigorous drinkers or alcoholics and pedophiles in the sense of the addiction. You know, drinkers will tell you, "I have my drink of choice." It's very specific. It's this drink in this glass at this time of day. Well, you know what, pedophiles in an awful way are a little bit like that. It might be a 10 year-old boy or 13 year-old boy, not a 15 year-old.

KING: John Walsh, Mr. Devlin is of course accused, and he will, as you say, get a fair trial. These kinds of people, they are not curable, right?

WALSH: I don't believe so. I think the vast body of the psychiatric community has come up with the same conclusion I have. Should we study them? Absolutely. Is it a predilection? Without a doubt, just as some people probably have a gene that determines whether their heterosexual or homosexual.

But it's against the law to have sex with children. It's against the law to kidnap children. I've profiled pedophiles for 20 years with rap sheets 20 pages long. They have a huge rate of recidivism. And until we figure out how to cure them, how to change their behavior, I think we have the right to know where they are and I think we have the right to tell our children that they're out there.

And I don't know why anybody is surprised. We see the "Dateline" stings all the times. I've been doing them for years. Who shows up? A rabbi, a Catholic priest, a special ed teacher. I don't know why we're surprised.

But the predilection is so strong, the compulsion is so strong that Mark Foley would risk his own whole entire career to text message 16 year-old boys. He knew it was illegal. He helped write the Adam Walsh Child Protection Bill. It's mind-boggling. It's a compulsion. But I think we have to accept the fact that these guys are out there and they're looking to hurt our kids.

KING: Ed, what do you think?

SMART: You know, I think that one of the important things for these kids is they've got to know that it is not their fault. You know, when we start talking about, "Why didn't you do this? Why didn't do you that?" I think it tends to put them in a mindset that, you know, they're at fault. And they absolutely are not at fault. And I think that for them to know that nobody has the right to do anything to them, to abduct them, to abuse them is so important. It's something that all children have to know. And I think that that will change the lives of children. And I think that these boys, especially, they need to know that it was not their fault. And they need to be given, you know, the time, the kindness, the consideration to re-secure the trust, to re-bond with their families and to -- and to move on with life. I hope that this comes to a quick trial and to a quick end because these boys do not deserve having to be dragged through this nightmare.

KING: Candice, is the law tough enough on the pedophile?

DELONG: I don't think so. Just look at how many paroled sex offenders, child molesters there are on parole, meaning not in prison anymore. We hear this over and over. You've had many, many shows where we're talking about someone -- not necessarily in tonight's case because we don't know about Devlin yet -- but we're talking about someone who harmed a child, who had a history of harming children.

However, I would like to point out that statistically the vast majority of child molesters do not get caught and they molest hundreds of children throughout their lifetime. If they ever get caught, people need to sit down and work with their children and talk to them and tell them how to handle this kind of thing, that if they are even kidnapped, tell them the offender will lie to them, tell them that you'll never stop looking for them, tell them never to stop trying to save themselves, and kind of help undo the harm that a potential kidnapper will try to do to them.

KING: Let's check in with Anderson Cooper. He'll host "A.C. 360" at the top of the hour.

Staying on the same topic, right?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly, Larry. More on this incredible case in the discovery of Ben Ownby and Shawn Hornbeck. We're going to look into what's called Stockholm Syndrome, the psychological phenomenon when a captive sympathizes with their captor. Is that the reason why Shawn Hornbeck didn't try to escape when he had what seems like so many chances? So many questions to try to get some answers to tonight.

Plus, Shawn reportedly saw his age-enhanced pictures on bus stops, maybe even realizing it was himself. We'll look at the science of age enhancement, how investigators are able to so accurately portray a person's appearance years after they disappeared.

We'll have all that and more, Larry, on the top of the hour.

KING: That's "A.C. 360" 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific.

More from our panel when we come back. We'll hear from a mother whose child's been missing for six years. What's the case mean to her?

Stay tuned.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Our panel remains. There you see the picture of Christine -- of Heather Kullhorn. We meet her mother Christine Kullhorn. Her daughter Heather disappeared July 15, 1999 while babysitting in a St. Louis suburb. Again, we go back to a problem in Missouri.

What happened? What were the circumstances under which she left, Christine?

CHRISTINE KULLHORN, MOTHER OF MISSING DAUGHTER: She was supposedly helping friends of mine at the time babysit their baby. And the father said when he returned back home, Heather was gone and the baby was there. And they called me at 6:00 in the morning and told me they couldn't find Heather. And from that day on, nobody has seen or heard of her.

KING: How old was she?

KULLORN: Twelve years old.

KING: So she would now be how old?

KULLORN: She will be 20 in March.

KING: Twenty. Now that's -- she's an adult. You would think that this story today would give you some hope.

KULLORN: I never gave up hope, Mr. King, and I never will. I will always look for my daughter, and I believe in my heart and soul I will find her.

KING: Were there ever any leads?

KULLORN: A few here and there. But you know, sometimes people just talk just to get theirself recognized, and a lot of it is not true. Maybe some of it is. I'm not sure.

KING: But the police -- do you keep in touch with the police?

KULLORN: Oh, yes, I do. Yes, I do.

KING: Would you say that they are active on it?

KULLORN: Yes, my detective, Mike Brown (ph), is very active. He does the best he can with what he's got.

KING: Dr. Keith Ablow, since she's now 20, does that make it more difficult or less difficult?

ABLOW: Well, you know, as time goes by, it becomes more difficult, of course. And that's why we can empathize with this mother's pain, as all of us would. It does not get any easier for parents, I will tell you that.

From a law enforcement perspective, it becomes harder and harder, because after all, psychologically, it does not get easier for this young woman now to make herself known. It becomes sort of her life's story as years go by. This Stockholm syndrome that we've talked about takes hold more and more.

KING: John Walsh, though, assuming she's alive and been held by someone, wouldn't at age 20, would that have led you to think as an adult, easy to go away?

WALSH: Well, I don't know. First, I want to say to Christine's mom, I think she is a really courageous lady who has kept this case alive and who has been battling to keep her daughter's case somehow being solved.

I personally believe every case is different. I think that there are not just one individuals who know what happened to Christine -- what happened to Heather, I believe there are several individuals in that community absolutely know what happened to this lady and do not have the courage nor the conscience or the dignity or the moral values to come forward.

They can remain anonymous, but this is a very different case. And I want to say this on national television, because I know Christine's mother knows what I'm talking about. In this case, somebody knows. Several individuals know what happened to that girl, and they need to come forward. I mean that. This is a challenge. This is a challenge.

KULLORN: I agree with John Walsh very much.

KING: Ed Smart, what would you say to Christine?

SMART: You know, she is a terrific parent, and keeping that hope up and finding her someday is what I would pray and hope happens for her. You know, there are too many children out there that fall into this scenario, where, as John said, you know, people are afraid to come forward. They don't want to become involved. And it's a sad scenario, because we have so many people out there that do care, that want to help make a difference in families. And, you know, getting your life back instead of living this nightmare for so many years is important.

KING: It sure is. Thank you, Ed Smart, Candice DeLong and Dr. Keith Ablow. We will be calling of course on you, all of you again.

John Walsh will remain, and in our final segment, John has a message for parents about the biggest risk to their kids. We wish you the best, Christine.

We will be right back.


KING: For more information on missing children and what you can do in the effort to help find them, just log on to

And we also want to remind you that John Walsh is the co-founder of the Safe Side, the products to help teach kids how to make smart decisions in dangerous situations. I have them at home; they're terrific. Products include the DVD "The Safe Side: Internet Safety." You voiced some concern about so-called bus surfing by pedophiles. What is that?

WALSH: Well, I think this is a phenomenon that parents have to sit down with their kids and talk about, and parents have to be more vigilant. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Justice Department are now talking about this phenomenon, where pedophiles surf -- drive behind buses, looking for that special kid. Maybe it's a little girl, maybe in the case of accused kidnapper, this Devlin guy, that it's a pubescent boy or a young boy, and they wait for that kid, the bus to drop them off, and they wait for that kid to make that rural walk home. Lots of pedophiles think that rural areas, that people are unsophisticated, that cops are not readily available, which is true.

And I say to parents -- I know that people work, and you may be not be able to pick your kid up from the bus stop, but you've got to talk to it about children. Maybe kids walk home together. But this bus surfing is a way that these predators are getting these kids, and I think that's exactly what happened in Ben's case. He got off that bus. I think the accused kidnaper, Devlin, was surfing, driving behind that bus. He waited until the bus drove away, and he grabbed Ben.

KING: How do you prevent that?

WALSH: You talk to your kids. You talk to the bus drivers. You talk to other parents, say maybe I'm working, maybe you can pick my kid up. But please, I really believe we have to take a proactive stance. Some kids don't even have a chance, but some kids really -- we've seen 100,000 kids in the last four or five years because of proactive parents talking to them, avoid or get away from abductors. That's the good news. But knowledge is power, I always say that.

KING: John, we only have about 30 seconds. The incidents that occurred in Missouri, are they going to help find others?

WALSH: Oh, I really hope so. I think, you know, the quick work of those different police agencies, those two street local cops, the involvement of the state police and the FBI. I mean, this is encouraging. Times have changed. Twenty-five years ago, when Adam was missing, nobody knew what to do. Times have changed, but people have got to be proactive.

I think we are going to find more missing kids. I certainly pray it.

KING: Do you think we are winning the war against pedophiles or not?

WALSH: I don't think so. I don't think they stay in jail long enough. You covered the passage of the Adam Walsh child protection bill. The marshals have arrested 8,000 pedophiles since July that are in violation of their parole or probation. I think we have to get smarter and we have to get tougher, because they are out there hunting our kids. We saw it this last week. KING: Thanks, John, as always. Thanks for joining us.

WALSH: Thanks for having me, Larry.

KING: A great American. John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted."

Tomorrow night, more developments -- get the current issue of "Newsweek" -- in the O.J. Simpson case. It never ends.

Right now, let's turn our attention to New York, Anderson Cooper, and we continue our discussion about the incredible occurrences in Missouri -- Anderson.


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