"There was a time when I was thinking about giving up, but then I just thought of what they were doing and searching for me and looking for me. And then I knew they weren't giving up so I figured I shouldn't" - Shawn Hornbeck, 1/17/2007
On Sunday, October 6, 2002 while out riding my bike my life changed forever. I vanished without a trace not far from my rural Richwoods, Missouri home. An intensive search was mounted by federal, state and local authorities, but there were no clues as to what may have happened to me. My parents, along with family and friends announced their intentions to form a private organization to continue the search for me. The response was overwhelming, as thousands of volunteers responded to their pleas for help over the next several months. But still no clues were found. Rumors ran rampant that I had been struck by a car and taken away, or had run across a drug lab and been killed. My parents still never gave up hope, and continued their search - week after week, month after month.
They put my picture on billboards, and in every store and gas station. Countless family and friends put their lives on hold and helped look for me and other missing children. Months became years and still they looked for me. Psychics and frauds loudly proclaimed my demise and told my parents they had talked with me from beyond. But still they kept looking, never giving up hope. I prayed every day that my parents would find me. I knew my parents weren't giving up, and neither would I.
On Friday, January 12, 2007 my life changed forever once again. Our prayers were answered when I and another missing child were found by authorities in an apartment in Kirkwood, Missouri - ALIVE! I was finally reunited with my family after nearly four and one-half years of captivity. I've begun the process of healing and look forward to making up for the time I have lost with my family and education. Our love, hope and faith have kept us strong and will see us through the days ahead.
More Prayers Answered
We were overjoyed to learn about the recovery of Amanda Berry, Georgina DeJesus and Michelle Knight in Cleveland, Ohio. Our best wishes go out to them and their families as they begin down the road to recovery from their ordeal. Our advice to never stop looking and never give up hope has once again been validated.
In light of this event we have been contacted by many media organizations to express our feelings, and perhaps offer some words of encouragement to the victims and their families. As a result, we will be participating in numerous local and national newscasts and programs this week, beginning with appearances on KSDK Newchannel 5, The Today Show, Fox 2 News and Nancy Grace on Wednesday, 3/8/13. We are still working with other major networks to schedule additional appearances. Shawn will be participating in his first live tv interviews to offer his perspective on this historic event.
-- Craig & Pamela Akers, Shawn Hornbeck
Shawn To Appear In New Public Service Announcement
PSA #1 - "Say Something"
Recovered kidnap victim Shawn Hornbeck talks about child safety and community involvement.
Total Running Time: 20 Seconds
The Shawn Hornbeck Foundation's new child safety/public awareness campaign tentatively titled Bring Them Home, Keep Them HomeTM is being finalized. The program will include Public Service Announcements and new tools to help keep children safe.
The internet, radio and television spots will feature recovered kidnap victim Shawn Hornbeck and his parents, Pamela and Craig Akers, addressing a variety of topics, including:
Messages of hope and faith for the families of children who remain missing
Our responsibilities to the communities in which we live - If You See Something, Say Something
Navigating the Sex Offender Registry
Encouraging Children To Speak Up When Someone Puts Them In Uncomfortable Circumstances
Teaching Children That No Matter What Happens To Them, It's Not Their Fault
A second PSA featuring Shawn's parents, Craig and Pamela Akers, is also being redied for distribution. Click on the link below for a preview.
Shawn's Parents, Craig & Pamela Akers address parent's responsibilities and community involvement
You can also check out both videos on the foundation's new YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/ShawnHornbeckFdn. New videos will be added shortly, so be sure to check back for updates, or subscribe to the channel to be notified when they are.
Update - School's Out For The Summer!
You asked and we listened! It's been quite a while since we've posted an update here on the site, and we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to do just that. Many of you are probably visiting the site as a result of the re-airing of the CBS 48 Hours Mystery program last night. We've received a huge outpouring of support yet again, and wanted to let everyone know we truly appreciate their thoughts and prayers.
Shawn has made spectacular progress with his schooling and only lacks a couple of 1/2 credit courses to graduate. It's simply amazing that he has been able to make up the four years of school he missed in such short order, all the while maintaining a GPA around 3.5. He is all set to finish up his required credits by going to school half of his senior year and continuing to work at the job he recently started. He will graduate with his class right on time, just as if nothing had happened!
Shawn's job as a cashier has seriously cut into his play time, and he hasn't been able to spend as much time riding motorcycles as he would like, but we're hoping maybe the rain will stop for a while and we will get some decent weather and be able to spend a little time in the saddle again soon. We're also almost done with the stock car project we began building right after christmas, and hope to be able to get some time on the dirt oval in the next few weeks. We'll be sharing the duties of wheelman, as Shawn's work schedule precludes him from being able to race every Saturday night.
We're extremely proud of the progress Shawn has made, and are confident he can overcome any obstacle put in his path. He is beginning to look at different colleges and has a definate interest in criminology, especially as it pertains to forensics. Maybe he's just seen too many episodes of CSI? In any case, whatever path he chooses will be fine with us. Just having him home is all that we need. We'll try to keep the site updated more frequently, and perhaps Shawn will start posting also.
Thanks for stopping by. Please check back again for more updates!
-- Craig & Pamela Akers
CBS 48 Hours Mystery Season Premier To Feature 'Kidnapped - Shawn Hornbeck's Incredible Story' on Saturday, September 27th.
Over a year in the making, the 48 Hours Mystery season premier will showcase the story of our family's unwavering dedication and our son's incredible strength and courage. Hundreds of hours of filming and interviews have been condensed into a one hour special you don't want to miss. From the heart wrenching day of his abduction to his miraculous recovery four and one-half years later, this exclusive look into the kidnapping that captured the hearts of America will chronicle our family's never ending quest to find our missing son. In an exclusive interview Shawn shares what he endured during his years of captivity - from being hit and knocked off his bike to his amazing rescue.
We've had the privledge to work with practically every televison network and major news organization in the United States, as well as many foreign outlets, since our son vanished on October 6th, 2002. Nearly every single one was very gracious and accomodating, and did a wonderful job of conveying whatever the message of the moment was at that time. At the same time, it's also a very competitive industry where getting the scoop or the exclusive is the name of the game. We've always shied away from exclusive interviews or playing favorites, with the knowledge that the next time another child is missing and needs our help we will need all their help. It's no secret that extensive news coverage will greatly increase the odds of finding that missing child.
To make a very long story short, we spent hundreds of hours with the 48 Hours Mystery crew over the course of the last year. They have gone to great lengths get the 'real' story, the behind the scenes, in the trenches events that make your skin tingle and your hair stand up on end. We know it can't all be shown, but the point is they still took that time to find out the real stories behind the story. It was this willingness to invest the time that ultimately led to 48 Hours Mystery being granted an interview with Shawn. This was and always will be a decision that ultimately lies with him. We applaude his decision to share just a little bit of his horrific story, and thank everyone for respecting Shawn's privacy. It took a lot of trust for Shawn to open himself up to the 48 Hours Mystery staff and crew, but believe me they earned it.
-- Craig & Pamela Akers
Akers Family Marks One Year Anniversary of Shawn's Rescue
Shawn Hornbeck and his parents, Pam and Craig Akers, issued the following statements today from their home in Richwoods MO as they prepare to celebrate the one year anniversary of Shawn's rescue.
From Craig and Pam Akers:
"Today marks the one year anniversary of Shawn's miraculous rescue and return to his family. It hardly seems possible that a year has passed since his return - a year filled with hope, love, laughter and joy. Shawn has made remarkable progress in every aspect of his life. Educationally he has excelled in every subject, making extraordinary strides forward to reach his current 9th grade placement and 3.96 grade point average. Emotionally Shawn has also made great progress in coping with the horrific events that defined his abduction and captivity. We are so very proud of the progress he has made in every aspect of his life. Listening to his laughter and seeing the sparkle in his eyes makes every hardship we endured during his captivity seem so distant and insignificant."
"We ask that everyone join us in our celebration on January 12 by spending the day with their family and loved ones. Pick an activity the whole family enjoys and can participate in and let laughter fill the air. Thanks again to everyone who stood by us in our days of darkness and all those that have been there to share in our days of sunshine. We truly appreciate the displays of kindness and generosity that have graced us from the very beginning of this ordeal."
From Shawn Hornbeck:
"This upcoming weekend is a very special. On the 12th it will be a whole year I have been home. There are so many people I have met this past year. All of them are really good people. Most of them have searched for me or for other missing kids. I have also leaned a lot too since I started to school. I have met some really cool people. Even though I am the oldest kid at my school I get along with everyone really well. It was weird at first starting school again. I've come to enjoy it though and like all of my teachers. There are even some teachers that aren't mine that I am good friends with. "
"I am so glad to be home. There is nothing else that can match the love of your family. For four and one half years I wasn't able to have that feeling. On January 12, 2007 my life changed again - it was the happiest and best day of my life."
The staging area for the Missing Boater search in Herculanium, Missouri.
HOLA ! NO ENTIENDO MUCHO EL INGLES PERO COMO PUDE INTERPRETE CADA PAGINA Y VI LAS FOTOS...ESTOY CONSTERNADA CON EL HALLAZGO DE LAS TRES JOVENES EN CLEVELAND Y LLEGUÉ HASTA TU PAGINA POR CASUALIDAD CONOCIENDO ASI TU HISTORIA. DIOS NUNCA PERMITA QUE ESTAS SITUACIONES HORRENDAS CONTINUEN PASANDO!! UN ABRAZO DESDE MILES DE KILOMETROS....ESPECIALMENTE A TU MADRE POR SU FORTALEZA. YO TAMBIEN SOY MAMA DE TRES PEQUEÑOS.
HELLO! NOT UNDERSTAND ENGLISH BUT HOW MUCH COULD INTERPRET EACH PAGE AND SAW THE PICTURES ... I'M CONCERNED WITH THE DISCOVERY OF THREE YOUNG IN CLEVELAND AND I CAME TO YOUR PAGE BY CHANCE WELL KNOW YOUR STORY. GOD NEVER ALLOW THESE horrendous situations CONTINUE GOING! A HUG FROM THOUSANDS OF MILES .... ESPECIALLY YOUR MOTHER FOR YOUR STRENGTH. I ALSO AM THREE LITTLE MAMA.