Arriving at the first scene was a bit nerve racking to say the least, considering I've been working tirelessly to find the missing kids and finding very little evidence to give me a direction of an idea whom to look for; I almost got an uneasy feeling about these guys. Like they were laughing at me for being so clueless. That's just my own personal thoughts really. I don't know for certain if they were or not. Ultimately I would get the last laugh though. The goons always slipped up somewhere; didn't matter if it was a small one or a big one, they ALWAYS goofed somewhere. So it was just a matter of time before that opportunity presented itself. At least from my perspective it would happen relatively soon, I just had to be ready for it. Whomever these guys were, they were no amateurs. But they had to have slipped somewhere.
Spending most of the day at each location, I focused more on the outdoors than the indoors. It was pretty apparent very little could be found in the house since the suspects in question only entered the missing persons bedroom and out again. I glanced around the setting of the each location taking in what I could to try and figure out where to start. Looking into the immediate path of each setting and combing through finding anything. Shoeprint, torn up lawn, grass stain, something! I have been working nonstop all week on this case since the three missing persons were coming up. My mind trying to figure out the missing pieces. But it wouldn't been much harder with Jonsey around. At least with him handling things back at the Precinct, I could concentrate on factoring all the pieces to the jigsaw puzzle I had so far.
Examining the grounds I was able to pick up a few extra pieces here and there. A shoeprint was in the grass where it was still soft at the McAllister residence. Perching down to place my hand over the disturbed surface, I tried to get a sense for what it was; if it was what I had been hunting for. Sure enough, my retrocognition gave me the answer I was looking for:
'It was raining, almost a downpour; the droplets of water crashing down stinging like cold, sharp bullets being sprayed from a series of machine guns with an unlimited supply of ammo in the pillar boxes that the clouds above created. It felt like D-Day all over again. Only this time it wasn't the allied forces hitting the beaches avoiding enemy fire from the shorelines; it was me holding a prize wrapped in a superbly well knit and warm blanket. Trying to reach the black sedan with someone gesturing me frantically to hurry. His voice speaking quietly but with sternness:
"Beeil dich! Beeil dich!" he barked to me while my feet made imprints in the muck of the McAllister's backyard. . .'
I found myself pausing to catch my breath and process what I heard. What foreign language was that? German? It sounded like it. I tried to focus a bit and see if I can get more. It sounded like these guys were from a different country, but why were they looking for kids and kidnapping them?
'My feet sloshed a bit as my shoes and trousers got some mud stains on it. I had Andrea to the man in front of me who takes her inside quickly sliding over. "Steig ein, schnell!" he commanded. "Wir wollen kein Aufsehen erregen!"
"Ich weiß! Ich weiß!" I barked back quietly. I felt the cold daggers of steely blue hues at me as I climbed in and closed the door. "Es ist nicht einfach, in den Dreck zu laufen, was Sie wissen..." I concluded be for tapping the shoulder of the driver in the front seat. "Fahren." I commanded as the car began to move.'
That was about all I could get from here. I was able to get a few things from it. Their origins mainly. They were from Germany. But what the hell were they doing here in Queen City, and why did they kidnap three kids so far? Their must be something else to this. I had to do some more digging.
Going into the trunk of Betty, I pulled out a couple of things to process the shoe prints on the ground. It was the molding materials used to make negatives of imprints found in the ground. This would help a great deal since Cathy can provide more details on our two kidnappers. I let it settle for a few minutes and combed about the are some more. My mind thinking about what was being said. I didn't know much on foreign language, but I could memorize the words in my mind and see if I can get a translation out of it somehow. Though I'm lousy with wording.
Just as I was getting the mold in a bag, I heard my CB go off in Betty. "Reed? Reed? You there?" I got up climbing into Betty to set the mold on the passenger's seat and answered the call. "This is Reed," I answered. "I just finished my investigation at the McAllister residence and I'm about to--"
"That will have to wait Reed." the operative responded cutting me short. "Winslow want's you back at the precinct ASAP." I was a bit puzzled by this. "Already? I was about to--"
"Winslow's orders, Payton." the operator said. "Better get back here as soon as possible. Captain Winslow found something big." I nodded. "10-4. On my way back." I set the transmitter back in it's holder and fired up Betty throwing her in drive and punching it racing back to the precinct. I wonder what it was Winslow had found out, or what the emergency was? It couldnt' be anything that serious. At least I thought.
When I got back to the Precinct, everyone seemed glued to the televisions watching in silence. Looking over, I could see the news was on and it appeared to be a Breaking News Bulleting from CNN. I moved to Winslow's office entering. "I got here as quickly as I--" Winslow brought his hand up to me to keep quiet. "Get in and close the door." he said. I did so without question and looked around. "Chief, Susan made it sound like it was an emergency on the APB." I said. "Something wrong?" Winslow motioned for me to join him in watching the Television. "You might want to see this." he said. I looked to him approaching where his TV was. He too, like the rest of the precinct was watching CNN and they were covering a breaking news story. I slid my aviators on the lapel of my shirt watching quietly. The correspondent was on site talking about an apparent missing persons that took place somewhere. He explained the scenario to the reporters back at the main newsroom which sounded familiar to me. A kid turned up missing overnight and the local authorities were investigating it trying to find the individual. The Police spokesperson mentioned the usual things; asking the community for help in this and not revealing much as to what happened. Just undergoing an investigation. The Correspondent then explained after the clip was finished the information that I didn't think I was ready for.
"Now from this recent report on a missing child it isn't the first one, nor is it the only place that has children turning up missing." he said. "Their have been reports across the globe that families have discovered their kids are missing in the early morning hours, and authorities all over the world are undergoing investigations about it. We aren't sure if they are linked, but we have confirmed that each child here in the Arlington community that has turned up missing all have dark brown hair, and dark brown eyes. It isn't confirmed if this is a series of serial killers or not that are involved since no bodies have turned up yet. As of right now, we are still awaiting for more information on the case presented as of recent--" Winslow hit the mute button, I was silent hearing this. It couldn't be coincidence that these kids were all the same description and turning up missing the same way. I looked to Winslow for a second.
"I did make a few calls while you were away." he said. "I think we have a pattern going on here. . ."
"Dark Brown Hair, Dark Brown eyes." I said. He nodded. "Each kid that turned up missing in the adjoining districts all have those same traits." he concluded.
"But that begs to question: Why?"
"That's what your working on." he said. "Did you find out anything at the McAllister's?" I nodded. "A shoe print, and. . ." I hesitated for a second. "The suspects are foreign descent." Winslow looked to me. "Foreign?" I nodded. "Not sure where. Germany possibly, maybe Austria. Somewhere in the European isles I think." I shrugged. "I'm still not sure what the motive is."
Winslow nodded and rubbed his face again. A bit flustered more than anything this was turning into a nightmare. "Whoever they are, they are really serious about this." he said. "There's something about these kids they want." I looked over at the pictures on the TV seeing the same traits. "So what now?" I asked. Winslow looked to me and shrugged. "This may turn into a national or worldwide investigation being handled by the UN or the FBI." he said. I grumbled. "Wonderful. . . So I have to sit on my ass and twiddle my thumbs."
"Not entirely." he said. "You forget what else we have up our sleeve." I looked to him. "Chief, you and I both know White Owl is not available right now."
"I know." he said. "But their are others." he paused pulling out another stick of gum slipping it into his mouth. "Drop off the shoeprint with Cathy and finish up your investigations at the remaining two residences here." he said. "When your finished, drop off what you find with Cathy then come see me. I think we may end up helping the other places as well at this point."
"I don't know if they would allow it, Chief."
"They will, when I mention who is involved with the investigation."
"What makes you think I would change things?" Winslow picked up his phone and started punching in a few numbers. "You keep forgetting about your track record, Reed." he said. "Wasn't it you who solved the San Francisco Snake Murders a few years ago?"
"And weren't you the one assigned to the Zomba Case in Pittsburgh in the late nineties?"
"Yeah, but I don't see--"
"And what of Billy the Butcher?" he asked. "You were the lead investigator of that were you not?" I sighed and backed down. "Okay, okay, I get the point. . . " I looked to Winslow. "I'll check the remaining two places and fill you in when I'm done." Winslow nodded as he started talking on the phone. I walked out of his office and headed for the elevators. This was a lot bigger than I anticipated. My question was, how many people were going to be involved in this, and would I really be able to make that much of a difference? It was hard to say right now, but I knew one thing. Come hell or high water, I was going to find those missing kids and I was going to bring them home. Even if it killed me.