THE SUCKHOME SYNDROME
There has been much questioning in the media the last few days as to why newly-freed Shawn Hornbeck, who was kidnapped by Michael Devlin at age 11 in 2002, never made an attempt to escape from Devlin on one of the many occasions on which it would have been easy and totally safe to simply walk away and go, if not home, at least to the nearest police station. The answer seems fairly obvious to me.
Not to be needlessly harsh or superficial about it, but have you seen his mother and stepdad? Have you heard them express themselves? These people would lower property values at a Bakersfield trailer camp. Looking at stepdad, one can only think, as I did, "Jesus, I hope I never lose that many teeth." As for mom, she looks like she could have posed for the label on a bottle of iodine. My guess is that even at age 11, they gave Shawn the willies.
Note that Shawn's parents go by the last name of Akers, while Shawn chose to remain a Hornbeck. When my mom remarried, I took my stepfather's name. It was my way of indicating that I wished to be part of, and identified with, my family. Shawn evidently didn't quite feel that way.
Boiled down, I think he stayed with Devlin for five years because Devlin never made him watch "Hee Haw" re-runs.