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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Taken: Children Lost and Found

Aired January 15, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
It is 10:00 p.m. Do you know where you children are? That is a way a local station here in New York has started the news every night since 1967. It's how we begin the program tonight.

Every night, for more than four years, the parents of Shawn Hornbeck Shawn Hornbeck went to sleep not knowing where their child was, a fate the parents of Ben Ownby had every reason to expect as well, given how these stories often end.

Tonight: what made this story different, but, also, the missed opportunities, and why abducted children sometimes don't try to escape.

We will show you, also, how to prepare your child to face a predator, along with some remarkable technology to help identify him or her, even after years have gone by.

We begin, however, with the latest: two children safe, one man in custody -- the sickening facts of the story slowly coming to light.

Reporting tonight from Kirkwood, Missouri, just outside Saint Louis, here is CNN's Jonathan Freed.


JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Michael Devlin moves closer to his first court appearance, expected this week, there are more questions than answers about him and about how he was allegedly able to hold on to Shawn Hornbeck, now 15, for more than four years.

Who is Michael Devlin? It depends on who you ask. Co-workers at both his funeral home and pizza parlor jobs describe a quiet and efficient man.

But we heard a different view from some of his neighbors.

(on camera): How often would you see Devlin around and Shawn around?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would see him every couple times a week.

FREED: Rick Richard (ph) and Tom Garner live directly upstairs from where Devlin is accused of keeping Hornbeck and 13-year-old Ben Ownby, who allegedly was kidnapped last week. They say they often were disturbed by sounds they heard coming from the floor below.

TOM GARNER, UPSTAIRS NEIGHBOR OF MICHAEL DEVLIN: Abusive discipline is what it sounded like, just -- couldn't tell you if there was anything physical. But Mr. Devlin would seem to be fairly loud and abusive, as far as in a speaking manner.

FREED: Garner, like others in the apartment complex, assumed Devlin and Hornbeck were family.

People around here say they would see Shawn doing normal things, like riding a bike with friends, begging other questions: Why didn't Shawn go for help? Had Devlin threatened to hurt him if he ever did? Or did Devlin have some other kind of psychological grip on the boy who was just 11 when he disappeared?

Adding to the confusion about the extent of Shawn's freedom is the question of whether he may have had Internet access. In December 2005, someone calling himself Shawn Devlin posted a message on a Web site set up by Shawn's parents, saying: How long are you planning to look for your son? Later that day, the same person apologized for that message, posting a new one, asking to write a poem for Shawn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got numerous calls on numerous vehicles.

FREED: The two officers who first confronted Devlin, leading to his arrest, say the public may still be able to help solve the puzzles of this case.

CHRIS NELSON, KIRKWOOD, MISSOURI, POLICE DEPARTMENT: No question is a dumb question. Well, no -- no gut feeling is probably a dumb gut feeling.


COOPER: And Jonathan Freed joins us now.

Jonathan, has the -- the community accepted all of this, I mean, or are they still sort of in shock?

FREED: You know what? That is the question, because it's been several days, and there's been so much coverage.

And people here are still reeling from this news. I was just in a local restaurant here in town. People were watching CNN. And we would see Devlin's image up there in the orange jumpsuit, and they were shaking their heads. These are people that knew and have known him for -- for so many years, Anderson. And they are just saying, that doesn't even look like him.


FREED: That's -- that's the point that people are at right now. They just have not got their heads around it.

COOPER: Jonathan, thanks.

It seems, whenever something like this happens, neighbors always describe the suspect as a quiet man who kept to himself -- as Jonathan briefly mentioned, not this time, not quite, even, as you will see, to the point of literally inviting attention from the police.

Michael Devlin may have been a lot of things. And we ought to say again here, he may or may not have been what he's accused of doing. But, whatever he was, Michael Devlin was not exactly quiet about it.

With that, CNN's David Mattingly.


ROB BUSHELLE, NEIGHBOR OF MICHAEL DEVLIN: He pointed to this sign over here.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Late last summer, Rob Bushelle says he got into a loud argument with a neighbor over a parking space.

BUSHELLE: He -- he wanted this space. And I was kind of in the middle of these two.

MATTINGLY: That neighbor was an irate Michael Devlin.

(on camera): So, he was getting angry at you just that quick?

BUSHELLE: When he pulled up, he was angry. When he saw my car here, he was already angry. It was, I mean, just like, boom.

MATTINGLY: Were you -- were you intimidated?

BUSHELLE: A little bit. I mean...

MATTINGLY: Did you think there was going to be a fight?

BUSHELLE: I -- yes. I -- I mean, my first instinct is that I'm about to get in a fight with this guy.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): There wasn't a fight. At the time, Bushelle says Devlin was accompanied by the abducted Shawn Hornbeck. But, in a move that no one today can understand, Bushelle says Devlin himself called the police.

BUSHELLE: That was my first and last run-in with him.

MATTINGLY: And other neighbors say they had problems as well.

Harry Reichard lives above Devlin, and complains, Devlin disturbed him with frequent late-night shouting and unexplained noises.

HARRY REICHARD, NEIGHBOR OF MICHAEL DEVLIN: And the yelling and -- and -- and vulgarity and everything, it -- it's just ridiculous. MATTINGLY (on camera): You never got a chance to talk to him about this, though, did you?

REICHARD: No, I wanted to stay away from that guy. I don't like that man. He -- he basically, you know -- you know, is somebody that I don't want to deal with.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): But, whatever problems Devlin might have had at home, they didn't follow him on the job. He worked at this local pizzeria for 20 years, becoming a manager, and had a reputation for being dependable and good with the customers.

(on camera): Devlin worked here during the times that each of the two boys was reported missing, but his boss says, he never saw any signs of any suspicious behavior.

In fact, the day before he was arrested, Devlin was in this very restaurant, having a friendly conversation with a police officer.

(on camera): What was his demeanor during this conversation?

MIKE PROSPERI, BOSS OF MICHAEL DEVLIN: Like you and I are talking right now. Just not -- his voice probably wasn't shaking as much as mine is. You know, he was just -- just cool as could be.

MATTINGLY: Mike Prosperi says, the 300-pound Devlin had health problems and recently quit smoking, and was trying to lose weight.

Still, he kept his private life private and almost never missed work. It wasn't until Devlin missed a day of work last week, when Ben Ownby was reported missing and his vehicle matched a police description, that Prosperi considered calling authorities.

MATTINGLY: And, even at that -- at that time, I told the captain -- I said, I'm 99.9 percent sure that it's -- that this is not Mike.


COOPER: What do we know about this guy's family?

MATTINGLY: Well, Anderson, we know from a neighbor who knew him back when he was growing up. They say that this was a very good family. And, in fact, tonight, the family has arranged for legal representation.

Earlier tonight, they told CNN that they are very concerned about his rights being protected as this case goes through the courts.

COOPER: Appreciate it. David Mattingly, thanks.

Now the teenager parents are getting to know all over again, the young man whom Michael Devlin called his son -- tonight, we can only hope he's taking his first steps toward putting it all behind him, or at least coming to grips with what he lived through.

CNN's Sean Callebs now on Shawn Devlin and how children like him adapt to survive.


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For more than four years, authorities say young Shawn Hornbeck lived here, held captive by 41-year-old Michael Devlin, a hulking 300-pound pizza parlor manager. The living arrangement apparently raised no red flags among neighbors. Many thought perhaps a single father raising an active 15- year-old.

HARRY REICHARD, NEIGHBOR OF MICHAEL DEVLIN: He just seemed to me just like an average euphoric child, you know, as, you know, young kids are, just going back and forth with, you know, their, you know, guardian or -- or parent, or relative, or whoever. And he didn't seem to display any type of social dysfunctions.

CALLEBS: Experts on abducted children say, the same coping mechanism that fooled neighbors could have kept Shawn alive all these years: the ability to adapt.

JEFFREY LIEBERMAN, DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHIATRY CHAIRMAN, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: The initial dynamic, which really defines the response, is one of fear: "I have to figure out a way to get through this and survive." But, after that, the captive begins to interact with the captor, and see their human qualities.

CALLEBS: And it is that peek through a warped lens that may hold part of the answer to the most pressing question. Shawn wasn't going to school. Neighbors say it appeared he came and went freely. So, why didn't he just walk away?


CALLEBS: Shawn stood silently at his only public appearance since his ordeal ended. There will be plenty of time to fill in all the blanks, as he begins to put his life back together -- his family thrilled to be reunited with the shaggy-haired boy, and seemingly heartsick he was being held so close to home for so long.

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 has been right here under our nose the whole time.

CALLEBS (on camera): Police say finding Shawn and returning him safely to his family was like lifting a dark cloud that had been over this community more than four years.

Investigator say, they met with Shawn over the weekend in what they termed initial talks, adding, the tough questions and complete debrief are still down the road.

Sean Callebs, CNN, Richwoods, Missouri.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, during a one-year period, the Justice Department says that nearly 800,000 children were reported missing in America.

Here's the "Raw Data."

Ninety-six thousand and five hundred were 5 years old and younger. One hundred and thirteen thousand and four hundred were between the ages of 6 and 11. More than 235,000 were 12 to 14. And nearly 350,000 were 15 to 17 years of age. The vast majority of the nearly 800,000 children reported in the year were found alive.

As you have heard, many people cannot understand why Shawn simply didn't walk out Devlin's door and never return. After all, he seemingly had countless opportunities to contact to his family, the police, or just leave.

But some experts say, he may have been brainwashed. If so, we have seen this before, and with terrifying and tragic results.

CNN's Ted Rowlands reports.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty-five years ago, the nation was shocked and overjoyed to hear that two missing children had been found alive. One was a 5-year-old named Timmy White, who had been missing for about two weeks. The other was Steven Stayner, a 14-year-old boy who had been gone for an incredible seven years. Like what's happening now in Missouri, there were press conferences and joyous homecomings.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're so happy to have him back with us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Down deep, I still thought Stevie would be home someday.


ROWLANDS: In this case, Steven Stayner had actually rescued Timmy White, sneaking out of this cabin, and bringing him to a police station.


STEVEN STAYNER, KIDNAP VICTIM: I didn't like what was happening. And it happened to me. And I just didn't want to see it happen to somebody else.


ROWLANDS: Over the years, through court testimony and even a television movie, Steven Stayner told his heartbreaking story of abuse and twisted manipulation at the hands of his kidnapper, a sexual predator named Kenneth Parnell. Stayner said he didn't try to contact his real family for seven years because Parnell had brainwashed him, making him think his parents didn't want him. In the beginning, Stayner said Parnell even made fake telephone calls in front of him, pretending to talk to his parents. And Parnell eventually told Stayner that a judge had granted him custody, as seen in this clip from "I Know My First Name Is Steven."


ARLISS HOWARD, ACTOR: Your new name is Dennis, Dennis Gregory Parnell.

CORIN NEMEC, ACTOR: I don't want a new name. I want to go home.

HOWARD: Well, your family, your parents don't want you anymore.

NEMEC: Yes. They do. They love me.

HOWARD: I know. I know it's tough to understand.


ROWLANDS: Stayner said he started going by the name Dennis and started calling his kidnapper dad. He said Kenneth Parnell did care for him like a father during the day, but sexually abused him at night.


S. STAYNER: I have been dealing with them memories, you know, ever since I came back.


ROWLANDS: Once he was home, it was difficult for Stayner to readjust, something his mother talked about in an interview years later.


KAY STAYNER, MOTHER OF STEVEN STAYNER: He came back different, very different. And we had a rough time getting used to having him home.


ROWLANDS: Eventually, Stayner married, had two children, and said he was finally getting comfortable with his life. But, in 1989, he died in a motorcycle accident, a tragic end to a very difficult life.

(on camera): The Stayner case is an example of what the experts say is the incredible power that an adult kidnapper can have over a child victim and the very difficult road to recovery, something that's just beginning for the boys in Missouri. Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.


COOPER: So, how do children learn to adjust, both in captivity and after the fact? We will talk to a psychologist who specializes in these cases.

Also tonight: new technology for identifying kids even years after they vanish.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The children need to have people looking for them.

COOPER (voice-over): But faces change. How can you know what they look like now, from the child who vanished to the one who might be out there still hiding in plain sight?

"Taken: Children Lost and Found," continues.


COOPER: You're looking at Bianca Noel Piper. She was 13 years old when she was reported missing back in March 2005 in Foley, Missouri.

Throughout tonight, we are going to be showing you the faces of missing children from the area where Shawn and Ben lived and were found.

Their story is, of course, giving other families around the country, and probably around the world, hope.

Maybe you can help. If you have any information, call 1-800-THE- LOST with tips.

We are hearing a lot these days, in the last couple days, particularly tonight, about Stockholm syndrome. We have all heard the term. Basically, the idea is that Shawn was somehow brainwashed and may have become sympathetic to the man accused of kidnapping him more than four years ago. Some say that's why he didn't leave.

My next guest disagrees.

Joining me now is clinical psychologist Patricia Farrell.

Thanks very for being with us.


COOPER: Why not Stockholm syndrome?

FARRELL: Because it really doesn't fit the profile of what went on. And, you know, we have research that says a group of 1,200 people who had been abducted were looked at, and 92 percent of them didn't have Stockholm syndrome.

COOPER: So, that is just a phrase we all know?

FARRELL: Right. It's -- you know, it's rare. So, don't just latch onto it, and not really look in -- into what it means. You know...

COOPER: So, what do you think might have happened?

FARRELL: I think a number of things happened.

Number one, the boy was there for four years, OK? He was probably brainwashed. He was -- began to feel that he was helpless, that, no matter what he did, he could not get away. You notice, everybody says: Well, why didn't he run? The guy had two jobs. He went out on his bicycle.

You don't do that if you feel like it's futile: I have to -- I can't -- I can't do it.

COOPER: You -- you say perhaps brainwashed. What does that really mean? I mean, how does someone get brainwashed?

FARRELL: Once you are dependent on someone for everything -- and it -- it begins from day one -- you give them what they need, food. You give them water. You don't give it. You withhold. You exercise your power. You're also -- you're -- you're dealing with a child. You're not dealing...

COOPER: Eleven years -- Shawn was 11 years old...

FARRELL: Right. You're not dealing...

COOPER: ... when he was taken.

FARRELL: ... with an adult.

Children can easily be convinced that you are the only one that is going to be there. Nobody else is going to come for you. They are not looking for you. I took you in broad daylight. What, are you crazy? Your kid -- your parents don't want you. And they prey on that day and day and again.

And, so, the child comes to believe: Well, my parents aren't going to look for me.

COOPER: And a child can be manipulated. I mean, how long does it take? Is it -- it's a quick...


FARRELL: Well, I don't -- I don't think it would take more than a week or two. COOPER: Really?

FARRELL: Yes, because I don't think -- kids are not fully formed. You know, they are easily manipulated. Why have they gotten picked up off the street? Help me find my puppy, do whatever, you know, even though they have practiced -- you're not supposed to do this.

COOPER: And, yet, I mean, we -- you know, there are reports that -- that Shawn saw pictures of himself on posters and -- and age- enhanced pictures.

FARRELL: Doesn't matter. It doesn't matter.

He still felt -- and he could have felt something else, too. Remember, I have seen it in -- in families of incest, where one child protects the others.

So, how do we know that this boy didn't feel, OK, I will stay with him; he won't go after somebody else? But, then, when he did go after somebody else, it did two things.

Number one, it told him he was aging out. He did not fit the age criteria that this guy wanted, 11.

COOPER: What -- what do you mean aging out? So -- so, this -- this perpetrator, if he, in fact, committed these crimes...


COOPER: ... had a particular age that he was interested in?

FARRELL: Absolutely. They always have an age that's comfortable for them.

So, he picked up Shawn when he's 11. This boy that he picked up, who happens to be -- he was 13? He looks a lot younger. You could have mistaken him for 11. And, so, we have seen this in other cases. Didn't it happen in the Stayner case?

COOPER: Right.

FARRELL: That's what happened. Another boy was brought in.

And he realized: I have got to save this other boy.

So, all along, he could have been wanting to save other people. We see it in incest victims. You are going to save your sibling by offering up yourself.

COOPER: And would Shawn actually start to see himself as Devlin's son, potentially?


(CROSSTALK) COOPER: I mean, apparently, Devlin was calling him his son. The -- the reports...

FARRELL: I don't believe so.

COOPER: You don't believe so.

FARRELL: Did he ever identify himself to anyone that we know of as the son?

COOPER: There's only this report of this Web site...


COOPER: ... which we don't know if it was him who contacted...


COOPER: ... under the name Shawn Devlin.

FARRELL: I have -- I have major concerns.

Anybody can contact a Web site. Anybody can say anything and they are anyone. You don't know it was him. And, if it was him, maybe he just wanted to reinforce the fact that: They're looking very hard for me. I'm not going to be found.

You know, there are so many questions. But my big concern is that there are questions that should not be asked of this boy. This is a boy.

COOPER: So -- so, you're saying, to re -- help him readjust, there are some things which should just be left unsaid?

FARRELL: You have to -- you have to let him, in his own time, bring it up, if he wants to. You have to wait.

If you press, you -- you may make this kid break. You don't know. You're dealing with a fragile boy. Everything looks, you know, like roses and honey now. But we don't know what it;s going to be like in six months to a year.

This kid...

COOPER: When the cameras go and -- and things quiet down...

FARRELL: Right. Right.

COOPER: ... that's when the real battle begins.

FARRELL: This kid could have suffered from PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. And it's not going to manifest itself for another six months.

COOPER: Well, let's hope -- hope he gets the attention that he needs, and the family as well. FARRELL: Absolutely.

COOPER: Patricia Farrell, appreciate your -- your perspective.

FARRELL: Thank you.

COOPER: Thank you very much.

We can't know if Shawn Hornbeck would have ever tried to escape from Michael Devlin. Fortunately for Shawn, two local cops who came to his rescue -- just ahead, how their hunch cracked the case. You will hear from them directly.

Plus: A missing child poster is only as good as the picture on it. And what if the child is now a teenager? The art and science of making a child age on paper -- next on this 360 special, "Taken: Children Lost and Found."


COOPER: Artists had to guess what Shawn Hornbeck looked like as a teenager. How close did their drawings come?

Find out next on 360.


COOPER: Another little boy still missing.

Time is actually a kidnapper's friend. As children grow older, they aren't as likely to be recognized. Their changing looks become a virtual disguise.

And that's why it helps to have pictures showing them as they might look as they age. Investigators used this technique in their search for Shawn Hornbeck, who was just 11 when he disappeared. The picture did not crack his case, but it is still a crucial tool.

Here's CNN's Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Katelyn Rivera-Helton disappeared in Pennsylvania in 1999, she was 1-year-old and looked like this. Now, eight years later, forensic artists think she might look like this.

At the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children, they have many so-called age-progressed photos.

And Larry Bonney hopes you will take a hard look whenever you see one.

LARRY BONNEY, NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN: The trick is that, if you live next door to this child, or you have this child in -- in your grade school class, and you're a schoolteacher, and then you see the age-progressed photograph, that may ring a bell, and say, boy, that looks an awful lot like Jimmy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Be thorough. Just take your time.

FOREMAN: Drawing a child who has been missing fore years depends on precise knowledge of human growth and genetics.

Look at Shawn Hornbeck from when he disappeared at the age of 11, four years ago. To age his image, artists first considered typical adolescent growth patterns. They made his face longer, his hair and eyebrows darker, the eyes themselves somewhat more narrow. His nose was lengthened, and his cheekbones were made more prominent.

His mouth was drawn a little wider, his chin made more distinct. After all this, artists typically look at pictures of the missing child's relatives.

BONNEY: If a child is taken at 2, and they are now 10, they will get pictures from the family at age 10.

FOREMAN (on camera): Of mom and dad?


BONNEY: Mom, dad, yes, of, you know, blood relatives. Immediate family is what they are looking for, assuming that genetic traits will remain fairly constant as the child grows.

FOREMAN (voice-over): It's all blended, and this is how forensic artists thought Shawn would look at 15. And here he is.

(on camera): In the end, all of this is a little bit about science, a little bit about art, and a lot about math, about simply improving the odds that a missing child will be spotted.

BONNEY: We want to keep these kids out there in front of the public. The children need to have people looking for them.

FOREMAN: And that's a need that does not change, even as years pass.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, up next: the policemen whose eyes and ears and good sense, and, frankly, their gut instincts, led them to Shawn and Ben. You will -- we will talk to them ahead.

And later: a girl who spent a decade in captivity, and emerged a young woman -- her story.


TANYA NICOLE KACH, MISSING FOR 10 YEARS: There were times when I would -- I would threaten to leave. And there were times he threatened to kill me. COOPER (voice-over): Seduced and abducted, missing for 10 years, her childhood stolen, her captivity in her own words -- when "Taken: Children Lost and Found," continues.



COOPER: Well, much more ahead on this remarkable rescue of two missing boys in Missouri. In a moment I'm going to talk to the two police officers who cracked the case.

And in our next hour, on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a look at his groundbreaking speech and how his most -- how his most famous phrase was almost left out. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember very vividly Andy Young and I going up and down the steps of the hotel, taking drafts of what we thought should be a new climax. I was out in the crowd somewhere. When he swung into, 'I have a dream,' I said, 'Oh, expletive deleted,' after all of that work that night before up and down the steps.


COOPER: Well, it was a good change. Much more on this fascinating piece of history coming up in our next hour.

Back now to Missouri and a happy ending for two missing boys. If it weren't for the savvy police work of two local police officers, things might have turned out much differently for Ben Ownby and Shawn Hornbeck.

Officers Gary Wagster and Chris Nelson are heroes in this story. They join me now from Kirkwood, Missouri.

Gentlemen, it is a pleasure to talk to you. Congratulations on a remarkable gut instinct.

You were serving a warrant in an apartment complex last week unrelated to this case. It was the apartment complex that this guy Michael Devlin lived in.

Chris, what happened as you were leaving?

CHRIS NELSON, POLICE OFFICER: Well, as we were leaving, we were walking down some stairs. Gary and I looked and we saw a truck, a white Nissan. Gary looked at me and said, "Do you see that?"

And I said, "Yes." And we'd almost parked right next to it, next to the vehicle.

COOPER: There had been a report out. A witness had seen a white Nissan that might have been involved in the second kidnapping of Ben, is that correct? NELSON: Yes, sir.

COOPER: And then at what point did Mr. Devlin actually come out, Chris?

NELSON: Well, we -- first we went over to the vehicle. We looked at it. Gary and I conferred about the information that we did have from the local media and the FBI had then put out.

We ran a check of the vehicle. There was no warrants or anything like that on the car and the registered owner didn't come back with a local address. So we needed to find the registered owner.

At that point Gary and I, we conducted a canvas of the apartment complex, and Gary contacted a couple subjects, just west of our location.

COOPER: The truck belonged to Michael Devlin's brother. I guess it was, what, Gary, it was the people in the apartment complex who told you it was Michael Devlin's vehicle?

GARY WAGSTER, POLICE OFFICER: No, actually, me and Chris, we did some investigation on the vehicle. And after we checked everything out, made sure the vehicle wasn't stolen or wanted by any other agencies. We took it upon ourself to go out and make a neighborhood canvas.

I noticed two gentlemen about 50 yards to the west of me up on a balcony. I went and contacted them and asked them if it was their truck. They stated no. But the truck did belong to a Mr. Devlin, who lived on the first floor with his teenage son or relative.

COOPER: And Chris, he actually then starts to take out the trash. And you actually -- you knew him from the pizza parlor. How quickly did you realize you knew this guy?

NELSON: Well, it was almost instantaneous. Gary walked over to him and introduced himself, and we started talking to him. And I think somewhere within the first 30 seconds to a minute we actually realized who he was.

COOPER: And how was the conversation initially?

NELSON: Initially, it was no different than what you and I are talking right now. But then as our questions got more specific and our requests got more intense, he turned into a different person within two seconds.

COOPER: And Gary, I know you don't want to get too specific about the questions you asked him because it will all be part of the case, but obviously, you started talking about -- about the missing child. And that's when -- and that's when he turned?

WAGSTER: Absolutely. I mean, that's why we were there investigating the vehicle. And like I said, we started off with a casual conversation, and upon the questions becoming more specific, he basically, his demeanor, his stature, posture and basic attitude toward us just did a 180.

COOPER: Chris, in what way? I mean, what specifically? Was he -- did he suddenly get shifty-eyed? Did he seem nervous to you?

NELSON: Well, just his overall mannerism. We knew him as one person. He -- and he changed. His hands began to clench. He averted his eyes. He wouldn't look at us anymore. His posture even changed a little more defensive or aggressive as our questioning and our line of questioning got more intense.

COOPER: I know you reached a point where you really couldn't ask him any more questions. You couldn't go into the apartment. So you called the FBI. You sat on the house, though, not only waiting for the FBI but even after until your shift ended. What did you see? You actually saw Shawn inside the house, right?

NELSON: Yes, sir. Through the kitchen window, the blinds were a little messed up, and they were away from the actual window. You could see through that, and you could see a teenage boy sitting at a computer playing a computer game in the kitchen.

And based on the information that we received in our neighborhood canvas, that didn't send up any red flags, because people were aware that there was an older teenager there that was possibly his son or his relative of some sort.

COOPER: So you didn't see a second younger child in the house?

NELSON: No, sir.

COOPER: What is it like to realize that this guy who you met -- I mean, I'm sure you arrest people all the time, but to realize this guy who you both knew and had seen around the pizza parlor has suddenly now been charged with this horrible crime?

WAGSTER: Well, it was very -- it was amazing. I mean, you're used to talking to the guy. We had numerous contacts with him. Very laid back, quiet, very polite man. And then to find out that, you know, he's living a totally different life, you know, which goes to show you, you don't know, you know, everybody until -- you know, you don't know what their -- what they're all about sometimes.

COOPER: Well, you guys must have a lot of tough days on the police department. I imagine the last couple of days have been some of the good days, yes?

WAGSTER: It's one of the best of our career. I can honestly say it.

NELSON: Yes, it has been.

COOPER: Well, it's well deserved. And I hope you guys get a medal or a commendation or at least get to meet these two young men. Without you -- it was basically gut instinct, wasn't it? I mean, wouldn't you say it was kind of a gut feeling, something is not right with this guy Devlin? NELSON: Well, we knew him as one person and then within two seconds he changed. Gary looked at me. I looked at him. And both of us had been doing this job long enough that we realized when somebody is lying or being untrue about something and when they're just almost literally backed into a corner.

COOPER: Gary Wagster and Chris Nelson, appreciate all you're doing. And thank you very much. Great work.

NELSON: Thank you.

WAGSTER: Thank you.

COOPER: Now to the case against Michael Devlin. He's being held on one count right now of kidnapping and $1 million bond. Prosecutors say that more charges are likely as the investigation unfolds. Those will be the charges in Shawn's case.

Joining me now is CNN's senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

Seems like they certainly have a pretty clear case against Devlin initially.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's hard to imagine how you can even defend a case like this. Shawn and Ben were kidnapped. They're found in his apartment, end of story. I mean, there's not much more to it than that, I think.

Obviously, there's much about the evidence I don't know. I don't know what sort of admissions Devlin has made. I don't know if he had some story about how -- what kind of relationship he had with these kids. But it does seem to be an open and shut case.

However, Devlin and his attorneys have one advantage going into this...

COOPER: What's that?

TOOBIN: ... which is that no one wants a trial here. These kids, all they need to be doing for the rest of their childhood, and perhaps the rest of their lives, is to heal, get back with their families, not relive this experience.

COOPER: So you're saying no one wants a trial, because they don't want these kids to have to testify.

TOOBIN: I mean, nobody wants these kids to have to testify. Imagine what that would be like? Because dealing with this is going to be hard enough in a home setting.

COOPER: Horrific. I mean, it's just beyond comprehension.

TOOBIN: It's just impossible to imagine what that's like.

But it's a very different thing to have to prepare them to get on the witness stand to talk about it in direct examination, much less in cross-examination, which would quite possibly involve their prior relationship with their families. What went on with Devlin? I mean, nobody wants that to happen.

And defense attorneys, you know, who are -- who are responsible only to their client, will be able to use that as a negotiating lever.

COOPER: And also if they get kid on the trial, we'll be able to essentially put the kid on the trial. I mean, in some way that they're not too aggressive but clearly asking questions about why didn't you run away, things like that.

TOOBIN: And that's why the situation with the two kids might be somewhat different. It's hard to imagine how they could put Ben on trial for much of anything. Ben was only there for four days. He was snatched off the street. It's quite possible he literally did not have a chance to escape.

Shawn, it's a very different story. You know, he was there for four years. Devlin had a job every day. He obviously was alone at some point. So his story is likely to be much more complicated.

I mean, to you and me, it's probably very sympathetic, you know. To be kidnapped is a horrible thing, but with defense attorneys trying to create a story that, for example, he was a runaway or something like that.

COOPER: There's motivation on the part of prosecutors and on the part of family, perhaps, to make some sort of deal?

TOOBIN: Absolutely. There's a strong motivation to make some sort of a deal. And that seems likely to be...

COOPER: But this is not a death penalty case?

TOOBIN: It's not a death penalty case under any circumstances. Fortunately, no one died. And because there's Supreme Court precedent, you can't give someone the death penalty for anything other than murder.

But you know, you can get a very long sentence in this case. Presumably, if there are plea negotiations, all it will be about is how long he gets -- he stays in prison. You know, given the seriousness of this crime, Devlin will be lucky ever to see the light of day again.

But it will be his attorneys' job to try to leverage the discomfort about the boys on the witness stand into something more -- something less than a life sentence.

COOPER: We'll be following it. Jeffrey, thanks. Jeffrey Toobin.

Fighting back against child predators. Up next an expert shares some tips to help keep your kids safe.

Plus, someone knows what Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby went through. A woman who was kidnapped, held captive for more than a decade, tells her shocking story in her own words when this special edition of 360 continues.


BECK: His name is Christian Ferguson. Take a look at his face. If he looks familiar, call that number: 1-800-THE-LOST.

It's something the parents don't want to think about, but the sad fact is your child could become the target of a predator. Any child could. Rather than feel helpless, there are things you can do to make sure your kids know how to fight back if they come face-to-face with an abductor.

We've got some tips from family safety expert Bob Stuber.

What about if a child is on the street and being followed by someone in a car?

BOB STUBER, FAMILY SAFETY EXPERT: Well, you know, this is really important, because it goes back to how simple and logical safety can be. If somebody is following you in a car and you feel that this is a dangerous situation, take off running. That's the right thing to do.

But choose your direction. Run the opposite direction that the car is pointed. This gives you a head start, makes it harder for them to chase you because they have to turn around and by the time you do, you can already be finding somebody that can save you.

COOPER: For a lot of parents it's a nightmare thinking about their child being thrown into the trunk of the car. If a kid is in the trunk of car, is there anything they can do then?

STUBER: No, there's not a lot you can do in the trunk of the car. You can kick and scream and nobody is going to hear you; nobody's going to see you. But here's something that will work. Disconnect a brake or taillight wire. Now, you can teach a child 3-, 4-year-old to do this. You pull them real tight, the wires at the rear of the trunk. It takes the brake or tail lights out.

Now, the police may pull that -- in fact there's a 50 percent chance that the cops will pull the car over, not because you're in the trunk, but because it has no brake or taillights. Then they're going to be able to hear you and come and rescue you.

COOPER: All right. What about if your little kid is on a bike?

STUBER: That's a big one right there. And this technique has saved people's lives around the country. If you're riding your bike and someone tries to grab you off that bike, which is a common scenario, hold onto the bike. Don't let go.

By holding the bike, you make yourself too big and too bulky to be put into a car. And it's very hard to separate a child from a bike. And keep remembering, these guys have to work fast. They don't have time to sit around and play with this. COOPER: That's good advice, holding onto the bike. What if you're at home, a child is at home? Is there one most important safety tip for them to do when they're there?

STUBER: You know, there's a bunch for when you're at home but the one most important one is don't unlock the door. As long as you're on the inside of that locked door, you're in control. But as soon as you unlock it and even open it just a crack to talk to somebody, you've compromised everything, and somebody can push their way in.

Keep that door locked. You can look through the peephole. You can talk through the door. You can look out a window. Don't unlock the door.

COOPER: Bob Stuber, good advice, thanks.

STUBER: You bet.

COOPER: Coming up, more advice on how to protect your kids, from a mother whose son vanished in 1989. She started a foundation to educate parents and children on how to prevent abduction.

But first, innocence lost. A prisoner for a decade, held against her will and just miles from her own home. Her story, in her own words, when this special edition of 360, "Taken: Children Lost and Found", continues.


COOPER: Just 12 years old when she was taken, well, we heard again today from Tanya Kach. You may remember her name. She told us that her heart goes out to Ben Ownby and especially Shawn Hornbeck. She says she knows exactly what Shawn is going through.

Tanya vanished when she was 14 years old. After missing for a decade she resurfaced just last March with a shocking story to tell. Police say that Tanya was held hostage for years by her school security guard near the western Pennsylvania home that she grew up in, just mile away from her own home.

Here's Tanya Kach's story in her own words.


TANYA KACH, FORMER HOSTAGE: I was just looking for love and, you know, I was going through a rough time, you know, teenage years. And then I met him and he was like, you know, "Don't worry, you know. I love you. I'll take care of you."

I was in a room, a bedroom, for 10 years. I didn't see the light of day. I mean, I did through the windows, but I didn't go out. I didn't see people. I started reading books, and I'd have to turn the TV down really low, turn the radio down real low. And then he finally got a TV that I could put head phones in. And a radio where I could put head phones in, you know. And I just sat around. Sometimes I'd go to sleep in the afternoon, just to pass the time. There were times when I'd -- I would threaten to leave. There were times he'd threaten to kill me. Just not many, but -- and there were times he would pull a guilt trip on me.

For four years I wore hand-me-downs from him and his son, for up until 2000. And after all of those years, I guess I was a little unrecognizable. I could go out and every now and then and buy clothes.

I mean, I went out here and there from 2000 on, but it was few and far between. But to actually be out and talk to people, it was a luxury for me. I like people. I like talking to people. But I couldn't say nothing.

But finally, they kept pursuing it, which meant they cared. And then I broke down, and I had to tell them. But I asked him, "Don't let me be on the streets. I just want my dad and my mom and my family."

I didn't get to go to school. I didn't graduate. I didn't have sweet 16. I didn't get to go to the prom. I didn't get to have a real life.


COOPER: That was Tanya Kach. She is still recuperating. The journey ahead, no doubt, will be a long one.

A lot more on the two missing boys coming up. Bur first, Randi Kaye joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Randi.


New information tonight about the health of Fidel Castro. According to a Spanish newspaper, the 80-year-old Cuban leader is in serious condition after complications following three failed operations on his large intestine.

Castro reportedly had the operation to treat an infection. He has not been seen in public since July 31.

In Iraq, more executions, more controversy. Saddam Hussein's half-brother, Barzan Hassan, and Awad Bandar, who was the chief judge under Saddam's regime, were hung side by side this morning.

In a gruesome twist, Hassan's head became completely separated from his body by the hangman's noose. An Iraqi official called the decapitation an accident.

The ice storm already blamed for at least 39 deaths has spread to the northeast. Tonight trees, power lines and roads are coated with ice and hundreds of thousands of people across the country now without power. The first Martin Luther King Jr. Day since the death of King's widow was marked with speeches, visits to the couple's tomb and the opening of a collection of his papers.

And an amazing story out of New Mexico. This weekend, two brothers found a hiker who was lost for five weeks in the Gila National Forest. She was too weak to move so they gave her food, water and a book to read and then hiked 20 miles to get her some help.

When rescuers finally reached the hiker, she was severely hypothermic, but they do say she is going to be just fine. An incredible story.

COOPER: That is good news, indeed. Randi, thanks.

Now, our "Shot of the Day", it's making the rounds YouTube. You can see why. A cart being pulled by a donkey becomes so heavy it tips over, suspending the donkey in midair.

The donkey remains calm as he dangles above the busy street. I guess what else is he going to do? Meanwhile, people below are scurrying around, removing one by one, they heavy bundles from the cart.

When most of the load is lifted, the balance shifts, the donkey's four hooves are once again planted firmly on the ground. And we're happy to report he does not appear to be hurt. Clearly, that donkey does not have an easy life. This is just one day, no doubt, in many.

Well, just ahead, will he or won't he? Is Barack Obama on the verge of a presidential announcement? New information tonight.

Also, more ways to protect your kid from predators. Stay tuned. More 360.


COOPER: What's happening in Missouri is being called a miracle. Two kids, one of them missing for days, the other for years, both found safe. Different from how these stories usually end. Different and better.

The real miracle, though, would be a 15-year-old boy never having to account for the stolen years of his life, or parents wracked with guilt. A miracle would be Megan's Law and Amber Alerts and all the other tools working 100 percent every time. Yet children are still taken. Tonight, we'll show you how and what you can do about it.

We begin, though, with the facts of this case: two boys taken, two boys safe tonight. A man in custody. Not a happy ending, but under the circumstances perhaps the best ending possible.

Joining us now with the latest from Kirkwood, Missouri, CNN's Jonathan Freed -- Jonathan.

JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, what we're waiting for now is to see when Michael Devlin is going to make his first appearance in court. Those charges are going to relate. Right now, we have the one kidnapping charge that's out there, a Class A felony in Franklin County. That is where Ben Ownby was abducted last week.

And we are expecting, as this moves along, to hear about charges that will come from Washington County regarding Shawn Hornbeck. And the FBI has even said that there might be charges coming on the federal level, as well.

COOPER: And, Jonathan, people in Missouri seem to have kind of conflicting descriptions of this guy, Michael Devlin. I mean, who is he?

FREED: That's the question, because depending on who you talk to, you get a different take on who this guy is.