When Ben was allegedly kidnapped on January 8, 2007, just outside St. Louis, Missouri, 15-year-old Mitchell Hults told police he saw a white pickup truck in the vicinity. "I never [saw] that vehicle [before]—never—because every vehicle that comes down here I notice, and that truck I didn't. It didn't dawn on me that Ben would get in that truck," Mitchell says.
Days later, police Officers Gary Wagster and Chris Nelson— who were at an apartment complex on an unrelated call—noticed a white truck that matched the witness's description. The officers called their station and ran a background check on the vehicle. Once they confirmed the owner's name, they started looking for the alleged owner, Michael Devlin.
As Gary and Chris walked around the building, they noticed a man they suspected was Devlin taking out his garbage. Gary says Devlin, whom he recognized as an employee of a local pizza restaurant called Imo's, acknowledged that the truck was his. During their conversation, police say Devlin started becoming more and more defensive. "For a guy that's laid back, he got real defensive, started clinching his fists, darting his eyes, evasive when I was asking him questions," Gary says.
As they continued their conversation, Chris says they became more suspicious and he had a gut feeling something was wrong. The officers contacted the FBI, and when authorities searched Devlin's apartment, they found Ben and Shawn.