The heartland was well represented on the network news agenda--not only Oklahoma but Missouri too. The plight of 15-year-old Shawn Hornbeck, living with his alleged abductor for four years, was recapped by all three newscasts. ABC's Barbara Pinto (subscription required) said they "appeared to be father and son," living there "in plain sight" of his apartment block neighbors. CBS' Bianca Solorzano added that they saw the teen left home alone with his door open and that he was "allowed to roam freely."
The teenager was found alive because police were searching for a second boy, Ben Ownby, aged 13, snatched while alighting from his school bus last week. NBC's Kevin Tibbles promoted NBC's exclusive interview with Ownby and his family to be aired on Tuesday's Today.
CBS' technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg pursued the angle that Hornbeck had posted his identity on a variety of social networking Websites--and even submitted a comment to his own parents' site devoted to searching for him. The Internet age may have made pictures on milk cartons seem obsolete, a former FBI agent suggested to Sieberg, "but with all these Internet footprints, if a child goes missing, searching online can be like finding a needle in a stack of needles."
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