Saturday, January 13, 2007

Shawn Hornbeck's tabloid timeline

When the police can't help, the families turn to tabloid television. From America’s Most Wanted to James van Praagh to today's cable news babblers (look what Geraldo at Large missed out on), this timeline from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gives a hint of the desperation behind the disappearance of an 11-year-old. The golden earring is black-- and accompanied by a lip piercing. Now scan four and a half years and try not to use your imagination. The story will unfold in all its mundane horror soon enough.

Shawn Hornbeck Timeline

Oct. 6:
Shawn Hornbeck leaves his Richwoods home in Washington County around 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6 to visit a friend. He was last seen around 4 p.m. on his green mountain bike near Hwy. 47 and A. Richwoods is about 60 miles southwest of St. Louis.

Oct. 10: The FBI and Missouri Highway Patrol are called in.

Nov. 2: America’s Most Wanted runs a feature on Shawn.

Nov. 6: A pair of bloody gloves is found near where Shawn disappeared, but are later determined not to be tied to Shawn’s disappearance. Authorities follow a lead searching an area where a tipster says Shawn’s bicycle might be found.

Nov. 8: It is reported that a lake is drained of nearly 4 million gallons. The only thing found is an old pickup truck which is not tied to Shawn’s case.

Nov. 9: Shawn’s dad, Craig Akers, says old wells, cisterns and mine shafts in Washington County are being searched.

Nov. 12: Shawn’s parents picket the Sheriff’s office, frustrated over a lack of progress on Shawn’s case. Washington County Sheriff states that he called the Major Case Squad but that Washington County was outside the Major Case Squad’s jurisdiction.

Nov. 14: Washington County Sheriff Gary Yount pulls the lead detective Doug Hollinsworth off the case and replaces him with two others. Shawn’s parents tape a segment of Beyond with James Van Praagh.

Dec. 15: It is reported that friends and relatives of Shawn are starting are forming the Shawn Hornbeck Foundation to provide assistance in missing children cases.

Jan. 3:
The Shawn Hornbeck Foundation and Project Safe Child hold a benefit dance and offer free digital fingerprinting for children.

Jan. 13: ADVO direct mail cards of “Have You Seen Me?” cards are distributed in the St. Louis area. An ADVO spokesman says 70 million cards with Shawn on it will be distributed nationwide.

Oct. 6: Shawn’s parents plant a red maple tree at the Richwoods Lion’s Club and hold a candlelight vigil on the anniversary of his disappearance.

Jan. 9:
The Shawn Hornbeck Foundation and Project Safe Child hold a benefit dance and offer free digital fingerprinting for children.

Feb. 16: Shawn’s parents announce they will soon rescind the $75,000 reward for information leading to Shawn’s disappearance. Shawn’s mom, Pam Akers, state there might be people looking to see amount of reward money keep increasing. More than 50 tips come in after the announcement.



Jan. 12:
Shawn found in a Kirkwood apartment, along with Ben Ownby, 13, who had gone missing five days earlier.

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