Ten Things Emily Prentiss Learned From Her Mother’s Staff
“Wheels up in twenty.”
The briefing had been short. They didn’t know much about the latest unsub. The sheriff from Eureka, Lincoln County, Montana had called them in after the fifth young woman had been abducted. And so far they had only found one body. There wasn’t much they could do at the moment, but they hoped to learn more details on scene. García was already busy cross checking files and do whatever it was she did when the plane took off. And when she called the team, half an hour into the flight, she had already found some additional and rather disturbing things.
In addition to the five women missing from Eureka, there were fifteen more women missing from the wider Lincoln County area who fit the description. The abductions went back as far as two years, and only three bodies had been found in total. That meant seventeen women were still out there somewhere. Maybe dead, but maybe still alive.
The three dead bodies that had been found had been in relatively good shape and all three had died of natural causes. They had all been sick before the abduction. Diabetes, a heart disease and an allergic reaction. All of this made the team believe that the unsub kept the women somewhere, maybe even for a really long time. They were not tortured or abused; they were fed and cleaned. Their clothes, while not pristine, were relatively clean, as well. The age range of the women was from 18 to 41; different appearances, different social status, different races and religious beliefs. The women had nothing in common besides being women. At least they hadn’t found anything. Yet!
But all the women had been specifically targeted. So there had to be something. And the big questions were:
How did he choose the women?
Where did he keep them?
“Okay. As soon as we’re in Eureka I’ll go to the sheriff’s office. Reid, you’ll come with me. Let’s see what the ME’s reports say. Rossi and Morgan, I want you to check the dump sites. Maybe we’ll find something useful there. Prentiss, JJ, you go to the latest abduction site. Talk to the staff, to the regulars. See if anything sticks out. I think people will be more open to the two of you then to any of us.”
Emily and JJ looked at each other smirking. Hooray! A gay bar!
“Do we think that the sexuality of the victims is important to the unsub?” JJ asked.
“No, I don’t think so.” Reid was the one answering, rattling down some statistics about the victims. “While three of the women were lesbians, seventeen were not. Some of them are married, have children. Some are divorced. The majority are in a steady relationship with a man.”
”I want you to check the medical files of the three dead women. Find something they have in common so we can get a warrant for the other women’s medical files.”
“You got it. Later.”
The remainder of the flight passed in near silence, all of them trying to get a little sleep or following their own thoughts, trying to find a connection between these women. They flew against the sun and against time and when they landed at Crystal Lakes Airport, just south of Eureka, it was still early morning. This was gonna be a long day.
Several hours later they were all back at the sheriff’s office, where Hotch and Reid had set up shop, to share their findings.
Rossi and Morgan didn’t have much to say. The dump sites were just too convenient. Small rest stops along the US Highway 93. Everyone used that road and it was easy finding a deserted spot during the night.
Emily and JJ had, due to the early hour, only met the owner of the bar. She had been very helpful but didn’t know much about the victim, who hadn’t been a regular. She had promised to call around, and she told them to come by in the evening. She would make sure that the women who knew the victim better would be there and that JJ and Emily could interview them in the office.
Reid had worked on an environmental profile, but due to the great woods in the area it was inconclusive, in spite the high number of victims. There wasn’t anything standing out. So all they had was a big, fat nothing. That was, until García called.
“Hey team! I, the wonderful and magnificent García have worked some major computer mojo and I found some things that might be interesting, if not even helpful.”
“Okay class, listen carefully and take notes. First fact: the three lesbian victims all frequented that bar... What’s the name?”
“Lucky Lady.” JJ provided.
“Yes, that’s the one. Okay, that might be a coincidence since there are not that many places to go. Otherwise they had not much in common. Different ages, jobs, races. There are some parallels. Same bank, same gyn, but in a city this small, that really doesn’t mean much.”
“Anything useful García?”
“Yes, Sir. I’ll get there. Just a sec. Okay, so we have twenty victims. I didn’t find any places they all have in common yet, but, and I gotta say it surprises me big time that Reid missed this, the twenty can be divvied up in four rough areas where they “lived”. They had their homes, doctors and banks there, the school for the kids, church. That kind of stuff.”
“In all these four areas the women had one place in common. One is the “Lucky Lady”, the second is a mall, third is a church and fourth is a school. I’ll send the data… Now!”
“So the unsub has one place he targets in every area?” Morgan asked.
“It sure looks that way.” Hotch concluded skimming through the data.
“We need to check those places more thoroughly. The three dead women, García. Anything? They were from different areas, connecting them might be the key.”
“Yes, in fact I found two things. All three of them lived in foster care at least one day in their lives. I checked the other seventeen and they all spent time in a foster home once in their life. Most of them only for a short time, due to the mother being sick or something like that.
And the second thing I found: all three victims had an abortion at least once. I couldn’t check that against the other seventeen victims, because the medical files are confidential. We need a warrant.”
“You’ll get one. And García?”
“Thank you. I’ll call you with the results of the other medical files.”
The connection broke and Hotch addressed the team.
“Okay, we should get going. JJ, Emily go back to the “Lucky Lady”. Rossi, Morgan you take the church. Talk to the priest and to as many regular visitors as possible. Reid and I will take the mall. If we still need to, we will check the school tomorrow morning. JJ?”
“Call me around nine so I can tell you if you need to come back here or if you can head straight to the hotel.”
“Okay. And I’ll call if we find anything.”
“Let’s get moving everybody!”
The team split up and everyone headed to their appointed destinations. Emily and JJ headed back to the gay bar. It was still early but the staff was already there and they interviewed the two bouncers and the four bartenders before the Lady opened for business.
They didn’t learn much, but the bouncers could tell them that Nikki, the latest victim, came alone and left alone that evening. One of the bartenders told them that she only drank soda, no alcohol whatsoever, talked to some of the patrons but kept mostly to herself.
When the bar opened people started coming in, Emily and JJ talked to as many of them as possible. Nikki, at the young age of 26, had been a teacher for handicapped children, but when some of the parents found out that she was gay, they got her fired. The women who knew Nikki didn’t get it, because Nikki had been great with kids. She would have loved to have a bunch herself, but due to an accident she had as a child, pregnancy would be lethal for her. No, Nikki didn’t have a girlfriend at the moment and she worked as a waitress in some café on Main six days a week. No family around. Her dad died when she was just a toddler and her mom died when she was sixteen. No siblings. There might be an aunt somewhere in Florida or California, who was a hooker or a druggie or something. At least she wasn’t fit to take Nikki, so she ended in a foster home for two years.
JJ called Hotch at 9 P.M. sharp. He told her to head straight to the hotel when they were finished. They would meet up at 8 A.M. the next day. He had already called García and told her to get some rest since the warrant didn’t come through yet and it was past midnight already in Quantico.
JJ and Emily kept asking people about Nikki a little while longer. Everyone was eager to help, since everyone liked her. Even the ex-girlfriend they talked to still liked her as a friend. But they didn’t learn anything new. Around 11 P.M. they decided to call it a night and get some rest. A little sleep couldn’t hurt and maybe they saw things more clearly in the light of a new day.
Emily started the car.
The A/C came on full blast and a strange smell hit them. But before either of them could react in any way everything went dark.
Hotch awoke to the frantic beeping of his cell. He looked at the caller ID and answered when he saw that it was the tech analyst.
“This is García, Sir. I’m sorry to call this early, I know it’s only 7 A.M. at your end, but I’m really worried. I tried to call JJ to tell her that I got the warrant and I only got her voice mail. JJ never turns off her cell during a case… Sir.”
Hotch was on high alert instantly. He knew his press liaison and García was absolutely right, she would never turn off her cell.
“I’ll go and check on her right away. Call the others and tell them to meet me in the hallway.”
Hotch jumped into his clothes. He was just tying his shoelaces when someone knocked.
“Yes, I’m coming.”
Hotch raced to the door. It was Morgan.
“What’s going on Hotch? I got a weird call from García to meet you ASAP here.”
“I’ll explain later. Go check Emily’s room. García can’t reach JJ.”
Reid and Rossi joined them shortly after. They checked both rooms but only found that the women had obviously never come back to the hotel. They found the car, closed and locked, in front of the “Lucky Lady”, but otherwise there was no sign of the two agents.
Emily awoke due to a bright light shining in her face. Even before she opened her eyes she felt the splitting headache crawling behind her eyes. She tried to remember what happened the day before. As usual she needed a little time to catch up with the case in her head.
‘Eureka, Montana. 3 hours time difference to Quantico. 20 women abducted. Abortion or foster care. JJ and I were interviewing women at that bar and headed back to the hotel around eleven. We got into the car and …’
Emily’s eyes shot open when the latest events finally registered fully in her brain. There had been a strange smell and then she lost her conscious.
Emily regretted the sudden reaction instantly, when searing pain shot through her head and the world started spinning wildly around her. She closed her eyes again and tried to breath slowly to keep from throwing up. They must have been drugged. Her next thought wasn’t less alarming.
‘JJ! Where’s JJ?’
The two of them had become really close friends since Emily joined the BAU, and she often wondered if they could have been more than just friends if they didn’t work together. Emily had a crush on the younger agent since the first day they met. And JJ had won her heart over and over since that day.
Her worry for her younger friend won over and slowly Emily opened her eyes a bit. She lay on her back, something remotely soft beneath her and someone had covered her with an old but clean blanket. She could see some wooden panels about six feet above her head, serving as some sort of roof.
She started looking around slowly, avoiding any quick movements, taking in her surroundings. She found that she was in some sort of shack with three wooden walls and one made out of some sort of glass. Outside of the glass wall she could see an area of about twelve square feet surrounded by bars. And she could make out several similar constructions all around.
‘Oh! My! God! This is a zoo for humans!’
She slowly turned her head to the other side and finally found JJ still sleeping beside her, also covered with an old blanket. Emily was still a little fuzzy from the drug they inhaled, so she decided to let JJ sleep it off and closed her own eyes again. They needed a clear head for this.
Meanwhile the team was back at the sheriff’s office discussing the recent events with García, lightly sobbing, on speaker.
“Okay, here’s what we got: the bouncers and bartenders all said accordingly that JJ and Emily left around 11 P.M. and they seemed a little tired but otherwise okay. Nobody saw anything suspicious. The car is locked, so we don’t know if they even got that far. Their cells are off. García, I want you to triangulate them and call me as soon as one of the cells is activated again.”
“I think we should work the case as planned. Obviously Emily and JJ didn’t find out anything, or they would have called right away. García, get working on the medical files.”
“I’ll call when I've found something.”
“And we, gentlemen, have a new question. Did Emily and JJ just come too close or do they fit the profile?”