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Alleged kidnapper recalls a `relatively happy' time

January 22, 2007|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — The man accused of kidnapping two Missouri boys and holding one of them for four years said he was "relatively happy" during that time, a newspaper reported Sunday.

In his first public comments since his arrest, aside from a brief court appearance, Michael Devlin, 41, said his parents, who live nearby, had not visited him since his arrest this month, the New York Post reported.

"I don't know how I'm going to explain myself to my parents," Devlin said in two 15-minute interviews at Franklin County Jail in Union, Mo. "It's much easier talking to a stranger about these things than your own parents."

The pizzeria manager is accused of taking 13-year-old William "Ben" Ownby on Jan. 8 in Beaufort, Mo., near St. Louis. A tip led authorities to Devlin's apartment in Kirkwood, Mo., a St. Louis suburb, where they found Ben and Shawn Hornbeck on Jan. 12. Shawn, now 15, had been missing since 2002.

Devlin pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of kidnapping Ben. He also is charged with kidnapping Shawn but has not entered a plea in that case.

Devlin said he "was never really interested" in romantic relationships. He wouldn't say whether he was attracted to women.

About 2002, he said, he started losing contact with close friends, most of whom he knew from the pizza parlor.

"I guess you could say I was lonely. All my friends starting getting married and having kids," he said. "Hanging out with friends just becomes a lower priority" for them.

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