Sharlee was buying ice cream for them. She kept looking over to make sure that the children were alright. However, she wasn’t really worried because the park was in a safe part of town, and they had been coming there ever since she was a teen.
Something about the man made Skylar afraid, and the sternness in Joy’s voice added to her fear! She clung tightly to Joy and called out, “Mommy!”
“Hey! What’s going on!”
Another parent stood up and headed toward the man too! The man looked over at them, and then quickly moved away from the children and left the park!
At around the same time, Alex was trying to reach Dale. He couldn’t get through to Dale though because Dale was in surgery. So he tried George, but he couldn’t get through to him either. He already had called the Santa Fe local P.D. to send a patrol car to Joy’s school. When he couldn’t reach George, he called Noah.
“Noah, I need you to go get Joy from school right away. Keep her with you. A police officer should meet you at the school!”
Alex thanked Noah and was relieved that Noah hadn’t wasted time asking questions. His first impression of Noah had been right!
The “unsub” didn’t know it yet, but threatening Joy had been a huge mistake. Now Alex intended to personally investigate and coordinate the search for the “unsub” until he was identified and captured! Alex assured Noah that Skylar was not the target. She was too young for the perpetrator’s record of victimology. They all commended Aidan and Joy for the way they had responded to the perpetrator. They were extremely proud of them for defending each other and Skylar.
Two agents from the FBI took Alissa, Aidan and Joy into protective custody. Alex promised Alissa that it would not be for long. That he was going to find the “unsub” and bring him to justice. Based on Alex’s past track record, Alissa and Dale believed him. George assigned officers to regularly patrol the Stallworth home as well as Noah and Sharlee’s home.
Alex looked at the info board. What was he not seeing! He was attuned to the other members of the team and their conversations although he appeared to be engrossed in the board. One of the older more experienced team members approached him.
“Your profile, Sir? You know that the unspoken rule of profiling is that you don’t profile your fellow team members.”
Alex didn’t respond and Agent Davis laughed. Then he looked at Alex seriously.
“I haven’t been able to profile you. I admit that I looked at your record or at least what I could see of it. I have a pretty high clearance rank, but many years of your service record were redacted. So I’ve concluded that you were involved in “Black Ops.”
“What I can tell you is that once you get to know me better, you will realize that when the stakes are the highest that is when I am at my best. Each person on our team is the same way. This perpetrator will not be an “unsub” past this day!”
“I’ve been thinking about the “unsub’s” behavior. He took an unnecessary chance by going to that park. He wanted you to know that he’d been there and could have taken Joy had he wanted. I believe that subconsciously he wants to be caught.”
Agent Turner asked him. “What do you mean?”
Lincoln answered. “Look at the “unsub’s” first victim. What do you see that’s different from what he did to the others?”
Lincoln Tate was the least experienced and youngest member of the BAU team. Alex knew that he would have to help him to build up his confidence in his own abilities and contributions to the team.
“Agent Tate, there is no need to vet your findings with anyone before you bring them to my attention. I selected you because of your unique ability to quickly see the pattern among the minutia of facts. What have you perceived?”
“It’s the perp’s first victim, Sir. He took one step differently in his torture of that child than he did that of the others. He removed just the right foot and left the other intact. Whereas with his other victims, he removed both feet in addition to the same methodology as used on the first victim. I think that is significant.”
“Sir, I just received the sketch developed from the description given by the Santa Fe witnesses. It’s not very definitive, but I’ve entered it into my data base, and I hope to get some type of match at any moment. I’ve also begun a search for any botched pediatric surgery involving amputation over the past two years in the “unsub’s” early area of abductions.”
She quickly collated the information and informed the team. After another two hours passed, they had narrowed the names down to three prospects. Alex had been correct. Before the end of that day, they did know the identity of the perpetrator. However, finding him would not be so easy. Alissa and the children would have to remain in protective custody for a while longer.