“Boys, boys, boys, are you up there?” the mother shouted up the tall, winding staircase. There was no response as her echo came back to her. “Maybe they already went over there,” she then mumbled to herself as she scratched her head due to her uncertainty of their whereabouts. She then took two steps up the staircase to get a better look at their individual bedrooms.
“Hmmm, their doors are shut too,” she said to herself. She then filled her lungs with air and shouted again. “BOYS, ARE-YOU-UP-THERE?” There was still no reply. “Whatever,” she said with a sigh of annoyance as she walked back to the kitchen.
She was trying to find out if her two sons, a tween-ager and a teenager, had already proceeded ahead of her to their neighbor’s house.
It was a typical Friday night in this quiet, safe and affluent community that consisted of very large, million-dollar homes. The evening of Friday, October 24, 2007, was just like any other weekend in this pleasant and peaceful slice of suburbia.
Families across Silver Meadows, Maryland were planning many types of weekend gatherings and events. Particularly since the weather had been quite pleasant, though unseasonably warm.
The Becker family, who lived in a beautiful, large 4,200 square-foot, brick, home on a cul-de-sac, was gearing up for several straight days of family fun.
Tomorrow they were headed to a Halloween party hosted by their Homeowners Association in the commons area near their home. They had collectively settled on The Wizard of Oz for their family costume theme. They truly felt they had a good chance of winning first place in the best dressed family category.
However, tonight they were joining their neighbors for great food and merriment. The party agenda was simple but something they all had been looking forward to ever since it popped up in bright red marker on the family calendar on the refrigerator door. There would be dinner, dessert, adult drinks and lots of end-of-a-busy-week unwinding by all—a mere two doors down from their own home.
“It’s going to be so, so much fun,” said Sofia, the matriarch of the Becker family, as she chatted with her four-year-old daughter Olivia in the kitchen. “Although it’s always a blast when we go over there. You and the other kids can run around in the backyards or even the street, burn off all that energy and get worn out. Or at least I hope.” she said with a laugh. “And mommy and daddy will have a drink or two, or three. I asked Mrs. O’Doyle to turn the patio fire on too, Olivia, just for you, since I know you love to roast marshmallows. Just try to not get it into your hair this time, dear.”
Olivia was in no mood to talk, as she impatiently stood by the patio door, with one hand on her hip, head tilted as she rolled her eyes at her mother’s every word.
“Can I leave now, mommy?” the little girl inquired. “Your father will be here in just a minute, sweetheart, and we’ll all walk over together, like we agreed,” Sofia replied. “Mommy, I want to go now,” the ever impatient Olivia said as she stomped her feet repeatedly on the dark oak, hardwood, kitchen floor.
As Sofia labored throughout the kitchen preparing for the night’s festivities, she had begun to work up a bit of a sweat. An unusual, autumn warm spell had descended upon the Washington, D.C. area and the kitchen had quickly become very stuffy, despite the windows already being opened. Sofia then decided to open the patio door.
“Ahhh, that feels much, much better,” she said as she gazed at the quickly setting sun and took a deep breath. The warm, evening breeze now began to blow through their kitchen while she resumed preparing her concoction for the night's events.
The party planning had begun earlier in the week with an innocuous social media post.
“Family gathering at our house this Friday!” was the message posted to Sofia’s Facebook page by Sharon O’Doyle, their neighbor who lived two doors down the cul-de-sac. “Yay! What time, neighbor?” Sofia replied. “7 p.m., this gives me time to get the food started after I get home from picking the kids up from school and practice,” was the response. “I’ll bring my sangria!” Sofia excitedly replied. “It wouldn’t be a party without it, LOL,” Sharon wrote.
This entire thread was in full sight for all their social media contacts to read since it was on their walls. Even the contacts that neither woman knew personally, could read the conversation. Given how popular these two women were, the thread about the party was seen by thousands of friends, acquaintances and strangers on the emerging, new platform.
As evening further descended upon their quaint community, all the Becker children were rambunctious and eager to go to the O’Doyle’s house because they were absolutely enamored with their neighborly counterparts.
The Beckers and the O’Doyles had quite a bit in common. Their homes were almost identical, their kids went to the same schools and were in many of the same clubs and sports. The O’Doyle family also had two sons and a preschool age daughter, just like the Beckers.
“Hmmm, I think it needs more brandy, yeah more brandy,” Sofia said out loud to herself as she was meticulously preparing her special sangria which would serve as the signature nectar for the night. “It needs about another splash,” she said as she poured a tiny bit more into the large, crystal carafe.
Sofia Becker, a tall, blonde, fit and significantly attractive woman, 41 years of age, took immense pride in her homemade sangria recipe. It was a family tradition that her parents brought with them from their homeland of Argentina. It was an heirloom Sofia truly treasured and had somewhat made it her own over the years. Sofia was known for making the best drinks at all the local functions, and it was an honor she wore with immense pride.
As the family prepared for the soirée, Sofia’s 11-year-old son Karl quickly emerged, seemingly out of nowhere, into the kitchen.
“Mom, can I go ahead?” he asked his mother, already walking towards the patio door knowing what her answer would be. “Wait, I thought you were already over there,” Sofia replied. “No, but Frankie’s already over there,” he answered. “If you heard voices from our rooms, it’s because we were just chatting in the game on our headsets.”
He then moved his head up and down, to show off the headset he was still wearing. “Oh, that must be why neither of you replied to me when I yelled upstairs,” she said.
She then waved the wooden spoon that she was using to stir the sangria, in the direction of the door, to gesture that Karl could indeed leave. “Yeah, go ahead of us,” she added. “We’re right behind you, anyway.”
Despite being weighed down with a handful of video game cases and a headset cable that dragged while he walked, Karl exited the kitchen through the back door as quickly as he entered.
“Hey, can you tell dad I scored two goals at practice, in the scrimmage today,” Karl added on his way out. “Oh, honey, he’ll be so excited. We are so proud of our soccer star. Big game this Sunday too,” Sofia said.
“Oh and by the way, can you tell Mrs. O’Doyle we’ll be there in less than five minutes.” Karl then gave a labored thumbs up as he proceeded out the door. "Oh, tell dad one of the goals was a penalty kick. I read the goalie's eyes perfectly and just nailed it."
Olivia's impatience was now very evident. “Mommy, mommy can I go too, with Karl?” Olivia asked again, as the warm breeze swept in and blew past her linen, white sundress. “Oh those cute little dimples, how could I say no to that?” Sofia said out loud. “But the answer is still no sweetheart, NOT YET.”
The response further annoyed Olivia. “But, but, but, you let them go,” she demonstratively pouted and stammered as she continuously stomped one foot on the kitchen floor while she tucked her golden locks behind one ear, lower lip protruding.
Olivia idolized her two older brothers and always wanted to mimic their actions. However, at her age she just could not grasp that she was not yet old enough to be entirely like them.
“You are too little to go by yourself,” Sofia replied, as she was now meticulously stirring the sangria. “Olivia, listen to mommy. I have told you this many, many times before. The rules have not changed. A four-year-old is not old enough to go alone. I love you, and I will continue to give you more freedom once you get older. But we are not there yet. Besides, I’m nearly done. We can get going in just a sec. We won’t wait for daddy, he’s apparently still stuck at the office, since he’s not here and I told him seven, sharp. Just let me grab the diced fruit from the fridge.” The diced, fresh, fruit was the over-the-top garnish to which the sangria would be incomplete without.
“You know what Olivia,” Sofia said as she gestured with a nod of her head in the direction of the neighbor’s house. “Go on ahead, I’m right behind you anyway. Just go to their deck and knock on the back door and they’ll let you in. Can you also leave their door open for me? My hands will be full. Please watch out for the dog shi…, I mean, poop in the yard that’s in between our house and theirs too.”
Olivia’s demeanor quickly changed. “YAY, thanks mommy,” Olivia said with a squeal and a smile knowing she had now been treated as a big kid and given a great responsibility.
Olivia then wasted no time. She immediately darted out the door with the speed of a gold-medaling sprinter, then veered to the right, towards the O’Doyle’s yard. She was as swift as a rabbit, even hurdling a reclining lawn chair on the Becker family deck, merrily dashing on her way.
“She’s fast like her brothers, she may even be faster by the time it’s all said and done,” Sofia said to herself, referencing the athletic prowess that her children were known for. “I was quite the sprinter myself, back in the day too.”
She then shifted her attention back to the task at hand, which was to grab the carafe of sangria and fruit to take to the party. In a hurried effort to grab the fruit from the fridge and follow behind her lightning-fast daughter, Sofia had physically contorted herself in two different directions.
Half her body pointed towards the patio door to exit the house, while the other half was facing towards the refrigerator. It was as if her body and mind were equally confused and at odds as to which direction to proceed.
She then decided to reach one arm into the refrigerator feeling for the fruit, with the rest of her body still facing towards the door, as if she was in some imaginary tug of war.
She was able to grab the fruit with one hand, but then immediately began to fumble it. “Oh shit!” she shouted. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and diced peaches now rolled across the floor in all different directions as the slippery container crashed to the kitchen floor with a thud.
“Grrrrr, damn it!” she exclaimed with a stomp to the ground, similar to the one Olivia demonstrated just a few moments previous.
She quickly slid over to the broom closet and grabbed what was needed to clean up the foolish mess she just made. “I can just hear my mom saying—that’s what I get for being in a hurry,” she mumbled to herself out loud with a chuckle.
As Sofia began to clean up the mess, she reached for her cell phone in the back pocket of her stylish, form-fitting jeans. She then proceeded to call Sharon to let her know what just happened. Sofia would now need more time to clean up and cut more, fresh, fruit as well.
“Hey neighbor, I’m running a few minutes behind,” she said slightly out of breath as she was sweeping and continuously bending up and down. “I accidentally dropped the diced fruit all over the damn kitchen floor. But I want to make sure my kids are behaving, since you have them all now,” she asked in an annoyed tone, while she placed the phone face up on the kitchen island, to enable the speakerphone feature.
Sofia then proceeded to multi-task and pick up the fruit and toss it into the trash bin while she continued to converse with Sharon.
“Oh yes, your boys are just fine,” Sharon said in an attempt to put Sofia’s mind at ease. “They’re playing upstairs with all the boys. Some new blood and guts, shoot ‘em up video game. The boys from the end of the street are here too. They’ve been here since after school. You know how well they all get along. They’ll be holed up for hours before we even hear a peep from them.”
Sofia then paused. “Wait, where’s Olivia then?” Sofia asked. “I ah, I sent her ahead, less than two minutes ago because I thought I was headed out the door too. But then I dropped the fruit and stayed behind to clean it up real quick. I even told her to leave your door open for me, since my hands would be full.”
Sharon then paused and wrinkled her face. “Well, ah, she’s not here,” she said with a nervous quiver in her voice. “Wait, I’m walking over to the kitchen window now and looking into the backyard to see if she’s maybe, perhaps, playing on the swing-set. I can hear the squeak of the swings, so that must be her.” Sofia then exhaled with relief. “That little trickster,” Sofia said. “I told her to go straight to your door.”
Sharon then shuffled over to have a look at her backyard. “Oh yes, yup, I see her, I see her,” she said, instilling a brief, false, moment of relief in the worried mother. “Yeah, there she is. Wait, wait, at least I think I see her. I don’t know. No, that’s just the wind blowing the swings. Sofia it’s like, it’s really, dark out there. There’s no moonlight or anything,” she added.
As it was late autumn, it was already quite dark outside, despite it only being about 7 p.m. Sofia was now, instantly, hysterical and overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. She then dropped the mini project of fruit clean up and frantically fumbled for a small flashlight that she knew was in one of the kitchen drawers. She then hurriedly rushed out the patio door to examine her backyard.
At first, she followed the prospective path of her now missing daughter. She ran onto the deck and immediately turned in what would have been Olivia’s usual path. She turned right, through the backyard, into the next door neighbor’s backyard, nervously shouting OLIVIA!
It had only been a few moments, yet Sofia was trembling and feared for the worst. She was met by Sharon at the halfway point, who also had a flashlight.
“Listen, we have a security camera,” Sharon said, with her voice trembling in between words. “See, look up,” she said as she pointed the flashlight beam towards her roof. “Oh, thank God,” Sofia replied. “Listen, Ryan’s in the garage, tinkering with something,” Sharon said. “Let me see if he can check the cameras.” Sharon then ran towards her garage to ask her husband to immediately look at the surveillance footage.
Meanwhile, Sofia paced back and forth between the lengthy path that Olivia would have traveled, aiming the flashlight in all different directions.
She walked over to the large evergreens that were nearly twice as tall as the surrounding homes. These ancient pines served as a border between the Becker’s house and their neighbors directly behind them. She looked under the canopy of the trees.
Was she hiding there as a prank? She then looked in all the trees. Did she climb a tree and get stuck?
While doing all this, she phoned her husband Frank. Ever the workaholic, he was running late on his way home from the office.
“Hello,” her husband answered, with a cheerful yet muffled tone as he was answering the call through his car’s Bluetooth speaker while en-route home.
“Olivia is missing!” she immediately shouted without as much as a hello or hey. “Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, what, slow down Sofia, I can’t hear you very well,” Frank said. “Let me take you off speaker phone.”
In that brief second that Frank took to switch the call, he prayed out loud that he hoped he did not hear his wife correctly.
“Olivia went to the O’Doyle house for tonight’s party a few seconds ahead of me.” She then paused to catch her breath. “She cut through the backyards, just like the kids always do,” she said, continuing to sound out of breath, as she was simultaneously walking back and forth throughout the spacious yards in search of Olivia.
“Wait, wait, wait a second—why would you let her go alone, in the dark?” her dumbfounded husband asked. “By herself, really?” Sofia then stopped in her tracks. “FRANK, I was right behind her,” she barked back. “But then I quickly ran to the fridge to grab something. And you know what? If you would have been here by seven like you promised, we could have all gone together as planned. Forget it, just get here and help me find her.” Frank then accelerated his car while he talked, to hurry home. “Hang up and call 911, immediately,” he exclaimed.
As soon as she hung up with Frank, that’s exactly what she did. Frank was only a few minutes away and as he pulled into their long driveway, he could see his wife still on the phone, presumably with the police. As he abruptly shifted his SUV into park, he sprinted into his garage without even removing the car’s key from the ignition. He went straight for his camping equipment and searched for his spotlights and lanterns scattered throughout the garage.
“Anything?” Frank asked his wife in a panic as he met her in their backyard. “No Frank, nothing!” the nervous mother replied. The two of them then spotted their neighbor Ryan charging towards them.
“Oh, Ryan, please tell me you have something,” Sofia said. “I’m sorry,” he then replied with a look of distress on his face. “I don’t know how to explain it, but there is no footage. Nothing since, like, early this morning.” Frank then interjected. “What are you two talking about?” Sofia then pointed her flashlight at the camera on the O’Doyle’s roof. “They have a security camera,” she said to her husband. “But it’s offline,” Ryan said. “It’s been offline since about 6 a.m., 6 a.m. this morning. I don’t routinely check it, so I didn’t know it was offline.”
Ryan then hung his head, with the feeling that he let his friends down. “Then why the fuck do you even have a camera?” Frank said to Ryan out of frustration. “Fucking worthless.” Frank then immediately walked back his tongue lashing. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m just frustrated and worried. Listen, Ryan, can you help me illuminate the backyard with these lanterns?” Ryan didn’t reply. He just started placing lanterns in different directions alongside Frank.
While everyone paced the different yards back and forth, they could all hear emergency sirens in the distance growing closer by the second. Within moments, six Silver Meadows police officers were in the Becker’s backyard.
“Mrs. and Mr. Becker,” said a loud voice in the darkness. At that moment Sofia and Frank both raised a hand in the air. They then were approached by a broad, six foot tall, African-American woman of about 50 years of age.
“I’m detective Theresa Merrick and I’m running this show.” The Beckers were at first taken aback by her confidence, but also encouraged to know that experts were now on the scene.
“Please listen to me. I am going to need you to immediately stop what you are doing and go inside.” She then also glanced at the neighbors Ryan and Sharon who were also in the backyard. The kids were now beginning to funnel out of the O’Doyle house as they were drawn by the commotion, and they began to go to their parents.
“What? Why?” Sofia asked. “Because at this moment, this entire area is a crime scene and we cannot have it contaminated. Please, if you want to help us find your daughter, then let us do our jobs, unobstructed.”
She was extremely polite and never once raised her voice. She respected that the family was undergoing anguish, but she also had to be firm and direct so that the investigators could put forth their best effort.
“OK, that makes sense,” Frank said, speaking for both families. “Do you need anything from us?” he asked before retreating indoors. “Not at this moment,” Theresa replied. “I have most of the necessary details that your wife provided to our team. I’ll come inside in a short while, to give you an update.” She then turned around and began to work.
“All right, everyone, you have the info,” she shouted to the other officers. “Girl, four years of age, 38 pounds, blonde hair, linen white dress and 46 inches tall. Wait, holy shit she’s a tall one.”
About one hour had passed and the investigation was being carried out by dozens of police personnel. The detective was conversing with another officer when her voice began to get drowned out by the loud sound of a motor.
“That’s the helicopter the county sent over,” she said to the other officer. The helicopter caused quite a disturbance as it hovered over the Becker family home, bringing even more attention from the neighbors and the community.
Later in the evening, Theresa proceeded to knock on the Becker family’s patio door. “May we talk now?” she asked as she entered their kitchen. Frank and Sofia both nodded in agreement simultaneously without saying a word. To the Beckers, it was visible that the detective was working hard. They could see that she had perspiration in and around her armpits and beads of sweat dripping profusely from her forehead.
“Listen, I have to be honest, we are all perplexed,” the detective said while she removed her cap and began to wipe her head with a handkerchief. “It appears the dogs, uh from our K-9 unit, are certainly picking up her scent. But in all the places where she would have played previously. So that’s not proving too helpful,” she explained with a pause to catch her breath. “Even still, Olivia’s scent doesn’t seem to leave the proximity of your yard, your neighbor’s yard and the next neighbor, where she was headed. We have also executed all of the standard operating procedures, and then some,” the detective said as she retrieved a list from her breast pocket.
She then licked her thumb and began flipping through the pages. “Amber alerts, as well as notifying all local, state and federal agencies. As you can see, Maryland State Police are on the scene, in addition to the county sheriffs. In fact, that is their helicopter that’s been circling all night. Undoubtedly within a few hundred miles, everyone is aware she’s missing. We’ve also sent our personnel door to door asking neighbors if they’ve seen anything or happen to have surveillance footage, perhaps. Several digital billboards on all the interstates have her photo up too, the one you gave me to be exact.”
Both Sofia and Frank were catatonic and completely unresponsive at first. “She was so beautiful,” Sofia mumbled out loud as she broke the silence. “Is so beautiful,” Frank sternly said as he corrected his wife. “She’s still alive!” he added. “I was going to yell at her for not going straight to the door,” Sofia said as she began to cry.
Frank then hugged her. He then turned the conversation back to the investigation. “I can see that you are all working very hard. So what’s next?” he asked. “Well I’m going to continue to investigate, so I’ll just see myself out,” she said as she exited to the scene of the crime, AKA the Becker family backyard.
As the evening played out, the local news cameras showed up on the Becker family front lawn, just in time for their 11 p.m. broadcast. The bright lights of the news cameras illuminated the cul-de-sac and surrounding yards as if a spotlight had been cast on this corner of the neighborhood.
Both Frank and Sofia were too upset to appear on camera. However, their neighbor Sharon volunteered to represent the family, to help raise awareness. That night, Olivia’s disappearance was the lead story for the local Washington, D.C. area news.
“Local girl goes missing” the title slide read. The reporter on the scene delivered a live update, then rolled a pre-recorded interview with Sharon.
“Please, please, please if you know anything, if you’ve seen something, please contact the police,” Sharon said through tears as she held up a large photo of Olivia. “On behalf of the family, I implore. There will be no questions asked, they, we, all of us just want Olivia returned home. Returned home, safely, to the family that loves her.” As she spoke, the chyron on the screen read “Sharon O’Doyle, neighbor of missing Silver Meadows four-year-old girl.”
As midnight approached, Theresa was beginning to grow weary. “It does not add up, at all,” she mumbled to herself. “Where could she possibly be?”
She then chose to employ a technique that had once garnered her success in the past. The technique involved pacing the dark crime scene without the aid of her flashlight to obtain a more physical feel of the elements and surrounding environment. Her tactic was to rely on her senses of sound and touch to see if she could identify, moreover feel, anomalies in the area.
As she paced the imaginary border between the Becker backyard and that of their neighbor’s directly to the right, she noticed in the darkness under her feet that the ground was slightly softer than in other areas of the yard. She had a metal detector in hand and immediately waved it over the questionable area, but there was no feedback from the device. She then decided to try something different.
“Mireles, come in,” she said as she retrieved a radio from her hip. “Mireles here,” the officer replied. “Can you bring a dog over here, I want to consult their nose. Come to the property line between the Becker’s and their neighbor, 140 paces from the tallest pine.” She then removed her cap and scratched her head. “Be right there,” Mireles replied.
The dog handler then attempted to have the dog pick up Olivia’s scent at the questionable patch of yard she found to be unusual. “Detective, according to the dog, there’s nothing here,” Mireles said as the dog was tugging him in the direction of the Becker patio. “OK, thanks for trying,” Theresa said. “I guess my hunch was wrong. Onto the next idea, I suppose.”
As the evening gave way to morning, despite all the experts on hand, none of their efforts had yielded any results.
“Shit, 6:58 a.m.,” Theresa said as she glanced at her wristwatch. “It’s been almost 12 hours and we still have nothing,” she said out loud. “The first 12 hours are the only 12 hours, and we are now nearly past that.”
She then began to rub her forehead with her thumb and index finger in a weary manner.
“Hey, everyone, we’ve been told by the State Police to stand down,” she shouted to all the officers on the scene. They all, collectively, gave her an odd look and she responded with a shoulder shrug.
“Regardless of what the State Police say, I’m going to give the Becker’s an update,” as she walked towards the patio door. “They deserve to know what is going on.”
Sofia could see the detective make her way towards the door, so she preemptively opened it, eager for an update. “Anything?” the distraught mother anxiously asked as the detective entered the home. “Please, tell us what you know,” she implored as she began to pour the detective some coffee, even though she did not ask.
“May I take a seat?” the detective inquired as she grabbed a chair at the kitchen table, where the coffee was placed. Sofia nodded her head and similarly took a seat with the detective and her husband Frank, who was already seated.
“The older lady, directly behind you, claims she saw something,” Theresa said as she started to retrieve her notebook. Once again, she removed her cap and began to wipe the profuse sweat away from her head, as the steamy evening was now a steamy morning.
“Yes, the nosey old lady, she’s always staring at our backyard from her window,” Frank chimed in. “What’s her name again?” Theresa then took a sip of coffee and began to talk. “Mrs. Krause,” she said. “I ah, had to wake her up as she was asleep when I knocked on her door about 1 a.m.”
Frank then sat up attentively in his chair. “She must know something,” Frank added. “Well, unfortunately not much,” the detective said with a somber tone that was visibly met with dismay by the Beckers. “But here’s what she could attest to. She was indeed sitting in her recliner, staring out her back window, towards your yard,” the detective said as she pointed at the backyard. “She also witnessed Olivia exit your house and head in the direction of the neighbor’s at around 7 p.m.” Sofia cupped her mouth, anxiously awaiting the next bit of eye-witness testimony.
The detective took a deep breath, and then continued. “But she says at that moment, her cat came up to her and pawed her knees, seeking attention. So she says she then reached down to scoop the cat up. She insists she only looked away a split second, but by the time she refocused her eyes on your backyard, Olivia was no longer in sight, she said.”
Theresa left the update at that. She chose not to mention her hunch about the soft ground she felt on the property line, since nothing of value was obtained from the effort. She decided not to instill false hope in the worried parents.
“There’s also more news,” Theresa said with a pause as she took another sip of coffee. “It’s procedural news. I’ve just been informed that by a judge’s order, this investigation is being handed over to the State Police of Maryland,” Theresa said. “Is this normal?” Frank asked. “Honestly, Mr. Becker, none of this is normal, I’m sorry to say,” the detective added.
To the horrified parents, it was now painfully, excruciatingly clear that Olivia was gone and nobody had a single idea as to where. Investigators investigated. Canvassers canvassed. Dogs had sniffed in every direction and in every corner, yet no evidence of Olivia's whereabouts had emerged.
The detective was also taking this very personal. In her mind, she was letting the family down. Therefore, she tried to put a positive spin on the procedural change and the state’s takeover of the investigation.
“Look, take some solace in knowing that all the might and power of the state of Maryland was now in charge of this case,” she said. “My understanding, as told to me by the lead state trooper on the scene, is that even Governor Jürgen Stefan has taken an active role in trying to assist. I’m willing to bet you he’ll probably, personally, call you any moment now.” Merrick had made up the last part about the call from the governor, in an effort to console the visibly distraught parents.
Sofia sat silent at her kitchen table for a moment, but then began to sob and wail uncontrollably, while her husband rubbed her back. “She didn’t even eat dinner yet, she’s probably starving by now,” she said through continued cries. “We were supposed to eat at the O’Doyle house. Olivia was going to roast marshmallows.”
Frank then spoke up. “We’ll find her, they’ll find her,” Frank said in an effort to console his wife. “I mean even the governor’s involved.” Sofia then let out an even louder wail. “What if they don’t Frank?” she asked. “They have to, they have to,” he exclaimed. “Frank, you and I have watched enough of those crime dramas on TV to know that if this doesn’t get solved soon, it will never get solved,” his wife shouted back at him, looking for someone to take her frustration out on.
Frank knew she was right but tried not to show it in his face.
With each passing moment, Olivia was getting farther, and farther away from them. Up a highway, out to sea, to God knows where.
It didn’t make any sense to either of them. Who would want their little girl and why? Neither of them had ever wronged anyone. They both just embraced and continued to cry in each other's arms as they faced this cold, hard, reality. The grim reality that their baby girl had vanished, vanished into thin air.
Marc Towers is a writer and storyteller who is extraordinarily passionate about the intersection of history and fiction. Marc was raised in Michigan by Mexican immigrants who could neither speak nor read English. Marc’s greatest joy is spending time with his family. In his spare time he enjoys running, whisky, cigars, reading, travel and golf. He can be reached at email@example.com