When 15-year-old Shawn Hornbeck was found safe and sound at the home of alleged kidnapper Michael Devlin this weekend, it was the first time his family had seen him since he dissappeared over four years ago. Now it appears that Hornbeck’s picture has shown up on a popular Xbox community site during his four-year kidnapping.
The GamerTagPics profile for Xbox Live user “DevilDevlin” shows the kidnapped Hornbeck outside what appear to be Devlin’s apartment. The profile was created Sept. 4, 2005 but hasn’t been accessed since early 2006. DevilDevlin’s Gamertag reveals that someone played Saints Row on the account as recently as Friday. It seems likely that Hornbeck used the account — a Washington Post story reveals Devlin’s neighbors “often spotted Shawn out and about, visiting friends on his bicycle or playing video games with the apartment door open.” While we’re glad that Hornbeck has been returned to his family, we can’t help but wonder about the stories behind the other faceless, nameless strangers we see on Xbox Live every day. We can almost hear the local news headlines now: “Could your next video game opponent secretly be a kidnapping victim? Film at 11.”