Picture it and Write: Searching
Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s picture it and write for Ermilia’s blog here. Once again the picture is not mine, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway; Enjoy!
Contrary to what they might tell you, despite how they sometimes act, teenagers, especially those under the age of eighteen are still children. They have not yet reached maturity, are still developing, and have a lot to learn about how the world works. The repercussions of not realising that can be dangerous, fatal even. In my line of work I find that out all too often.
Take for example the recent case of Angela Reilly. At just fifteen years old she left her home in a strop and didn’t return that evening. Her parents where; naturally, worried sick after the first few hours but we couldn’t get involved until the legally mandated twenty four hours had passed. Sadly; we are highly experienced in this kind of thing and were able to mobilise a strong media interest in the case. A number of witness reports and CCTV images caught her heading into a forest park at the edge of town, yet no sign of her exiting it. That was where we started our search.
While it would not be common, the forest had had a number of cases were teenagers had committed suicide in it’s secluded depths. Angela’s parents had been adamant that she hadn’t shown any of the signs but it can be notoriously difficult of spot. I had my people steeled for what they might find there.
After six hours of searching there was no body. Instead, near a rest area was found a small collection of Angela’s things. There was a ballet pump, lace gloves and a pearl necklace. They were placed on the branches of tree as if with some symbolism. This was certainly not the mark of your standard abductor. There were a number of tracks on the ground, but no signs of a struggle. If she went with someone, it was willingly. The only prints we could glean from items were from Angela. We left the forest with no clues to what had happened
While the physical search was coming to naught, our team of digital moles were having a field day with Angela’s online presence. It seems that she had been in (quite graphic) correspondence with a similarly aged fellow from England by the name of Philip. Or so she thought. Further digging found that the I.P. addresses came from an internet café only a few short miles from Angela’s home. Most disturbingly; they had found that the last message that ‘Philip’ had sent was that he had asked his “Irish Uncle” to collect Angela and bring her over to him.
None of this evidence was very promising. We had to look through the video recordings of the internet café to find who had been using that computer at the times of the contact. After more than a day we found him. A middle aged man who had been on the radar before for allegedly stalking young women. Bill O’Brien lived close enough to Angela that he could have even have seen her regularly around, picking his victims.
Uniforms were sent to his bedsit but found that he was long gone. “Gone Abroad” was the clueless response of his landlady. We did have his description and registration number of his car. So a search was conducted of all port records. It appears that our man made it straight to Rosslare Europort with a young female companion and sailed to France that afternoon. We alerted our French friends through Europol and they were able to track the movement through France from Cherbourg through the north or France and into Germany. The Germans took over and it was there that he had been found to have come to a rest in a small beach town on the Baltic coast. It had been little over a week since Angela had disappeared.
Because it was a foreign jurisdiction, I was not able to participate in the raid the Germans made on Bill’s little shack by the sea. Considering what they found, I am somewhat glad I didn’t. What he had done to her in that week was beyond description. She was alive, but just barely, what little counsellors were able to get out of her was that Bill kept her quiet with constant reassurance that they would come to ‘Philip’ soon, keeping up the charade until it was too late.
Bill will rightly serve the next twenty years in the hospitality of the German government. We have an agreement that the second he gets out, he will be shipped back here not only to be tried for kidnapping of a minor but also a number of even more serious allegations that came up in the subsequent media storm. He is likely to rot for the remainder of his natural life in prison. Good enough for him.
Angela is now back home. In reasonable health but certainly not the same. I keep some newspaper clippings as a reminder that while we did find her, we most certainly were too late, and to all of you, to be careful. Because when you’re in trouble, we will be searching for you. But there is no guarantee that we will find you in time.