Missing Boy Lived Openly with Suspect

In this stretch of rural Missouri, they are celebrating answered prayers for two boys -- one missing four days, and the other, more than four years.

But amid the rejoicing over the return of Ben Ownby, 13, and Shawn Hornbeck, 15, there are lingering questions about how two boys and their alleged kidnapper could have hidden in plain sight.

By all accounts, 41-year-old Michael Devlin was an ordinary guy -- an apparent single dad working two jobs.

The teenager he identified as his son, Shawn, told friends his mom had died in a car crash. He was frequently seen riding his bike and skateboarding.

"He was a pretty nice kid, and we just clicked on so much stuff like video games," said David Douglas, who knew Hornbeck as Devlin's son.

"He had so much freedom, you would've never looked at him and thought this is a kidnapped child," added another friend, Kelly Douglas. "You know, looking back now, it's wild."

'A Lot of Cursing'

In Washington County, where Shawn disappeared, two investigators have dedicated the past four years of their lives to chasing thousands of leads that went nowhere -- until now.

Those investigators shed a new light on Shawn's apparent freedom.

"Being allowed freedom, we know that was recently," Washington County Sheriff Kevin Schroeder said.

"This kid's been traumatized," added Washington County Investigator Donald Cooksey, "so whatever he did, I'm sure it was under duress."

Neighbors today offered support for that claim.

Rick Charles Richards, a neighbor, said he heard, "a lot of vulgarity, a lot of cursing. I even heard him hit the child. I heard him hit Shawn."

Hornbeck's stepfather, Craig Akers, told "Good Morning America Weekend Edition" on Saturday that he believed his stepson's life was threatened.

"He's been held against his will, and since that time he was threatened with his life," Akers said. "He thought that … it would be the end of his life if he tried to tell anyone or do anything."

In light of these conditions, say investigators, it is not surprising Shawn didn't go for help.

Are You Hornbeck?

The teen told police he was aware of the ongoing search and had even seen his own missing poster on a bench at the local shopping center.

Evidently, his friends were aware of the search, too -- and even asked him directly if he was Hornbeck, but he never answered.

"No response," Kelly Douglas said. "He didn't look sad, or get up and walk out of the room, [or do] anything that would lead to us believing that he was actually Shawn Hornbeck."

Another missing poster still hangs at Shawn's church, where worshipers celebrated his rescue.

"We're so grateful to have Shawn back with those who love him," said Leola Hankins, a Sunday school teacher. "And I know it's gonna be a long road for all of them. But I'm so grateful that God brought him through all this."

Suspect 'Was Very Pleasant'

Not all neighbors were as disturbed as Richards by what they saw and heard from Devlin's apartment.

Bill Romer, Devlin's landlord, told "Good Morning America Weekend Edition" Sunday that he never suspected anything was amiss. Romer said that for a man who was allegedly holding a boy against his will, Devlin aroused no suspicions.

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

"From what I could see, there were no curtains on the bedroom windows … so it wasn't like he was trying to hide anything," Romer added.

Romer recalled Devlin referring to Hornbeck as his son.

"He told me on more than one occasion that it was his son that lived with him," he said. "I had nothing to lead me to believe anything was wrong with the situation."

Co-Workers in 'Absolute Shock'

Devlin worked two jobs in St. Louis, one as a manager at an Imo's Pizza and another at a funeral home where he answered phone calls.

Both employers told ABC News that they had noticed nothing abnormal about Devlin.

Mike Prosperi, the owner of the Imo's Pizza, said he and his other employees were in "absolute shock" when they found out about the allegations against Devlin.

"Everybody who's been involved with Mike just can't believe it," Prosperi said.

Prosperi talked with Devlin's brother, Jamie, and said the suspect's family appears to be in a similar state of shock.

"When I talked to Jamie, there were one-word answers," Prosperi said. "He said, 'He's my brother. It's our family. … We're lost.'"

ABC News' Barbara Pinto contributed to this report, which also contains material from reports and interviews that aired on "Good Morning America Weekend Edition."