Colton Levi Clark

Dedicated to Colton Clark. Missing from Seminole, OK Since April 20, 2006. Looking for Truth and Justice for Colt.

Shawn Hornbeck – Stockholm Syndrome

Posted by KindraLore on January 15, 2007

Update 1/16/06 11:38AM
(see original blog post below updates)

If you view the comments for this post you will see one from “Anonymous” who posted regarding their own experience and why a child would do whatever told by the abuser.
Anonymous stated, “It would be as easy as Devlin telling him that if he went back he would DIE. You forget how vulnerable a child is.”

Anonymous hit the nail on the head with that one.

Captor threatened Hornbeck’s family, investigators say

The captor who held Shawn Hornbeck for more than four years kept him from fleeing by threatening to kill the boy and his entire family, investigators said Monday.

That helps explain why Shawn, 15, freed Friday when police tracked a second kidnapped boy to an apartment in Kirkwood, did not seize ample opportunities to run or summon help, according to the investigators.

For the complete story:

On a second note, hopefully Bill O’Reilly will be eating his words. Here is a partial transcript from last night’s broadcast regarding Shawn Hornbeck. What alot of nerve Bill O’Reilly has. He really needs a swift kick in the ass!

From Steve Huff’s site: :

Bill O’Reilly: You know the Stockholm syndrome thing, I don’t buy it, I never bought it, I don’t think It happened in the Patty Hearst Case. I don’t think it happened here…

Greta van Susteren: Woah, Can I just say something?

Bill O’Reilly: Yeah go ahead and jump in.

GVS: First of all we don’t know all the facts, Don’t forget that Elizabeth Smart likewise had an opportunity to leave and she did not. She was on the public street for some reason when young people are picked up and taken under the influence of adults they are very receptive of what adults do. So I would not dismiss the Stockholm syndrome —

BOR: The difference in the Smart case, and correct me if I am wrong, was this guy was always around the little girl and she wasn’t gone for the long period of time as this guy was. Now what we have learned — and this is why I don’t believe in Stockholm — this guy Shawn Hornbeck gone four years from 11-15. Authorities actually say that he taunted his own parents on his website. He’s got these piercing this is a troubled kid in my opinion —

GVS: The piercings, a lot of kids do the piercings. As far as the taunting goes on the website I think what can be established is that someone on this particular login taunted the parents. Was it done from this particular computer? If it was done from this particular computer that means that Michael Devlin did it, or Shawn did it or someone with access to the computer… let’s not forget he is a kid…. He may be 15 now…

BOR: No, I am not buying this if you’re 11 years old or 12 years old or 13 and you have a strong bond with your family. Even if the guy threatens you this and that. You’re riding your bike around, you got friends — the kid didn’t go to school. There’s all kinds of stuff, if you can get away, you get away. If you’re 11 —

GVS: Bill it seems bizarre to me, I agree it seems bizarre. Why not run, why not yell, why not scream? But the thing I keep going back to is, what was Patti Hearst’s story…

BOR: I didn’t buy that Patti Hearst story for a second.

GVS: Why was she so willing to sign up with her kidnappers and like wise Elizabeth Smart, she had opportunity — nice kid, nice family, why was she unwilling to run…?

BOR: Let me answer your question. This is what I believe in the Hearst case and in this case. The situation that Hearst found herself in was exciting. She had a boring life, child of privilege. All of a sudden she’s in with a bunch of charismatic thugs and she enjoyed it. The situation here with this kid is looks to me to be a lot more fun then when he had under his own parents. He didn’t have to go to school, He could run around and do what he wanted.

GVS: Some kids like school —

BOR: Well I don’t believe this kid did. And I think when it all comes down what’s going to happen is there was an element here that this kid liked about his circumstances…

One theme I have been seeing over and over again on various boards regarding the kidnapping of Shawn Hornbeck by Michael Devlin was a sense of blame for a child that did not run from his captor.

Granted none of these people that can sit on a public board and condemn a boy that was kidnapped at the age of 11 – will ever have to endure such a horrific experience in their small minded lives.

Stockholm Syndrome – In 1973, two men entered the Kreditbanken bank in Stockholm, Sweden, intending to rob it. When police entered the bank, the robbers shot them, and a hostage situation ensued. For six days, the robbers held four people at gunpoint, locked in a bank vault, sometimes strapped with explosives and other times forced to put nooses around their own necks. When the police tried to rescue the hostages, the hostages fought them off, defending their captors and blaming the police. One of the freed hostages set up a fund to cover the hostage-takers’ legal defense fees. Thus “Stockholm syndrome” was born, and psychologists everywhere had a name for this classic captor-prisoner phenomenon.

Other victims of Stockholm Syndrome

Ten-year-old Natascha Kampusch disappeared on her way to school in Austria in 1998. In 2006, 18-year-old Natascha Kampusch reappeared in a Vienna garden after escaping from her captor’s home while he wasn’t paying attention. In a statement to the media read by the psychiatrist who is currently caring for her, Kampusch had this to say about spending eight years in a locked cell beneath her kidnapper’s basement: “My youth was very different. But I was also spared a lot of things – I did not start smoking or drinking and I did not hang out in bad company.” By most experts’ accounts, Kampusch is in a traumatized state and appears to be suffering from Stockholm syndrome.

Millionaire heir Patty Hearst, after having been kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army. Her unsuccessful legal defense was that she suffered from Stockholm syndrome and was coerced into aiding the SLA. She was convicted and imprisoned for her actions in the robbery, though her sentence was commuted in February 1979 by President Jimmy Carter, and she received a Presidential pardon from Bill Clinton.

Elizabeth Smart, a 14-year-old girl, was allegedly kidnapped and repeatedly raped by the mentally ill Brian David Mitchell who coerced and molested her during the months of June 2002 to March 2003; after initial harsh imprisonment, Smart spent several months living physically unrestrained with her captors. However, this may not be a case of Stockholm syndrome because she kept a journal in French about how much she hated her abductors, and she claims to have only co-operated out of fear.

7-year old Steven Stayner is kidnapped a few days before Christmas by Reverend Kenneth Parnell. Stephen like Shawn Hornbeck had many freedoms. However, under the belief that Parnell has been given legal custody of him, and that his family has moved away, he stays with Parnell for seven years, enduring repetitive sexual abuse the entire time. Finally, at fourteen, he returned home to his family when Parnell stole another child named Timmy White.

Further Explanation of Stockholm Syndrome

In order for Stockholm syndrome to occur in any given situation, at least three traits must be present:

· A severely uneven power relationship in which the captor dictates what the prisoner can and cannot do

· The threat of death or physical injury to the prisoner at the hands of the captor

· A self-preservation instinct on the part of the prisoner

Included in these traits are the prisoner’s belief (correct or incorrect, it doesn’t matter) that he or she cannot escape, which means that survival must occur within the rules set by the all-powerful captor; and the prisoner’s isolation from people not being held by the captors, which prohibits any outside view of the captors from infringing on the psychological processes that lead to Stockholm syndrome. In the most basic, generalized way, the process as seen in a kidnapping or hostage situation looks something like this:

1. In a traumatic and extraordinarily stressful event, a person finds herself held captive by a man who is threatening to kill her if she disobeys him in any way. She may be abused – physically, sexually and/or verbally – and having trouble thinking straight. According to the captor, escape is not an option. She will end up dead. Her family may end up dead, too. Her only chance at survival is obedience.

2. As time goes on, obedience alone may become less of a sure thing – the captor is under stress as well, and a change in his mood could mean harmful consequences to his prisoner. Figuring out what might set off her captor’s violence so she can avoid those triggers becomes another survival strategy. In this way, she gets to know her captor.

3. A minor act of kindness on the part of the captor, which can include simply not killing the prisoner yet, positions the captor as the prisoner’s savior, as “ultimately good,” to quote young Anne Frank’s famous characterization of the Nazis who ultimately led to her death. In the traumatic, life-threatening circumstances in which the prisoner finds herself, the slightest act of kindness – or the sudden absence of violence – seems a sign of friendship in an otherwise hostile, terrifying world, and the prisoner clings to it for dear life.

4. The captor slowly seems less threatening – more an instrument for survival and protection than one of harm. The prisoner undergoes what some call an act of self-delusion: In order to survive psychologically as well as physically – to lessen the unimaginable stress of the situation – the prisoner comes to truly believe that the captor is her friend, that he will not kill her, that in fact they can help each other “get out of this mess.” The people on the outside trying to rescue her seem less like her allies. They are going to hurt this person who is protecting her from harm. The fact that this person is also the source of that potential harm gets buried in the process of self-delusion.

More information regarding Stockholm Syndrome can be found here:


7 Responses to “Shawn Hornbeck – Stockholm Syndrome”

  1. Blogging by Tina said

    I fear that Shawn Hornbeck will endure much the same criticism that Elizabeth Smart did. What the critics don’t always realize is that for the captive, whether you eat, drink, bathe, dress, even go to the bathroom, is ENTIRELY up to the captor. You are forced to depend on the captor for everything. And for a child, that sort of manipulation is much worse than for an adult.

  2. Kindra Lore said

    I thought this was a good article on the subject.

    Judging the Victim:

  3. Richard said

    Really good post. I’m going to add a link to if in my post about why Shawn didn’t try to run.. Thanks for such good work.

    My post about Shawn Hornbeck not running

  4. Anonymous said

    I was 11 and was forced to engage in sexual acts by an adult. At first I protested. It was then explained to me calmly that this is what happens at this stage in your life. I had been ‘chosen.’ It was a special rite of passage. If I didn’t do it I would quite simply – DIE. If I told anyone I would DIE. Every 11 year old has to do it if they want to live. I still protested. I was asked to think about how my parents would feel if I DIED. I was asked to think how I could do that to them? I said no. The person then said okay fine. Now you will DIE. They didn’t say they would kill me. Just that I would DIE. I was distraught. I didn’t want to DIE. I gave in and was physically ill afterwards. They said good. Now you will not DIE. It would be as easy as Devlin telling him that if he went back he would DIE. You forget how vulnerable a child is. Now do you understand a bit better!!!!

  5. Kindra Lore said


    You are certainly correct in the fact that you don’t have to have Stockholm Syndrome to be manipulated as a child by an adult.

    I am so sorry you went through that. I do hope you are seeking or have seeked some sort of counseling to help you deal with what you have been through. I also hope your abuser has paid for what he has done to you.

  6. Bre said

    i am inmiddle school and i think if i was in any circusyances of this sort i would just shut down and think i would die at 11 if i was abducted i would run away at any possible because my mother goes through things with me like this and i under stood them better because i watched shows where they show u how to get out of situations so i dont think its shawn hornbecks fough i think its that he wasnt taught very well im not blaming the pareents because how they supposed to know out

  7. Kathy said

    Bill OReilly has no idea what it’s like do be brainwashed. He thinks Shawn Hornbeck had fun! Are you nuts or just stupid? When BOR said the boy liked it, that made me want to throw up! When someone isolates you &threatens to kill you for years, even months, you will do anything for the captor. Yea, maybe he did have fun at times. BOR, YOU MAKE ME SICK!!!!!!!

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