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Kidnapping accused 'had child porn' on his computer

THE kidnapping case that has transfixed America took a new twist yesterday when it was reported that the man accused of abducting two boys had child pornography on his computer.

THE 'Missouri Miracle' kidnapping case that has transfixed America took a new twist yesterday when it was reported that the pizzeria manager accused of abducting two boys had child pornography on his computer.

Michael Devlin (41), accused of holding one boy for four days and another for four years, could face additional charges stemming from the find, law enforcement sources said.

Mr Devlin, now being held on $1m bail, saw his lawyers yesterday and is due to make his first court appearance at a remand hearing today. He was arrested on Friday when the FBI, hunting a missing child, found two abducted boys at his flat in the Kirkwood suburb of St Louis, Missouri.

Ben Ownby (13) had been held for four days after being snatched at a school bus stop in Beaufort, about 50 miles away. Shawn Hornbeck (15) had been missing for more than four years since he was last seen in Richwoods, 50 miles from Kirkwood.

Mr Devlin grew up as one of four adopted boys in a family of six children in Webster Groves, the next town to Kirkwood. While still at school, he got a job delivering pizza for Imo's Pizza, where an older brother worked. He continued to work there for 25 years, rising to become the manager.

None of his co-workers suspected anything, even when a young boy who turned out to be Hornbeck once came looking for him at the pizzeria.

"Everybody thought he lived alone . . . he never took a pizza home to feed two," said Mike Prosperi, the owner of the pizzeria. Mr Devlin's customers at the pizza parlour included local police - and one officer who helped to catch him.

"Obviously we were shocked. He was a very laid-back and quiet individual," Officer Gary Wagster said on television yesterday.

A friend said that Mr Devlin was once a playful character, but changed when he developed diabetes and had a toe amputated in 2002. It was around then he moved into the flat where the two boys were found.

"I felt like he had been humbled by all of his health problems," Gus Nanos, who worked at Imo's Pizza with him for eight years, told the St Louis Post-Dispatch.

"Years of downing Mountain Dew and smoking menthol cigarettes probably caught up with him."

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"If anything, he seemed asexual," Mr Nanos said. "He didn't express interest in men or women."

Bill Romer, his landlord, said: "It's strange, because frankly he's one of my best tenants. He was a pleasant, low-key, regular guy."

According to The True Crime Blog for amateur sleuths, at least three websites claiming to be internet profiles of "Shawn Devlin" contain photos of the abducted Hornbeck.

A "Shawn Devlin" posted comments on December 1, 2005, on his parents' web page for the missing Shawn Hornbeck, asking: "How long are you planning to look for your son?" He posted another comment to apologise for the first.


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