This is an original short story written by Edward Fagan.
Missing child abducted close to her parents
Missing their abducted child, the Riley’s are doing everything in their power to get her back in their custody. The Rileys experience is one of shock, loss and utter pain.
Crystal Riley 7, frequently plays in the park not far from her home. She, however, only plays in the presence of her parents John and Maria Riley. The Riley’s are usually vigilant in keeping a watchful eye on their only child. On this occasion, Crystal’s parents stand their usual several yards away from her, but they are speaking with a couple. This conversation lasts about half an hour.
The couple with whom the Rileys speak receive a phone call and suddenly depart. They are polite while leaving and bid the Rileys good bye.
The Riley’s then attempt to take their daughter home; but Crystal is nowhere in sight. At first the Riley’s don’t think that Crystal is missing. They look everywhere in the park, speaking with adults and children expecting to find Crystal. After about 45 minutes, the Rileys become convinced that Crystal is indeed missing.
The Riley’s immediately call the police who respond very swiftly.
Missing child and parents, about
The Rileys (each is an Ivy League graduate) both work in law enforcement. They think that this might be a contributing factor to their daughter’s plight.
Maria Riley 35, is a skilful prosecutor of some ten years experience. She served as an Assistant District Attorney for five years. She has been serving as a District Attorney following her appointment to this post five years ago. Maria Riley’s sound arguments in court have resulted in the prosecution of many accused persons.
John Riley 38, is an erudite state court judge. He also has six years experience in this position. John Riley is a former District Attorney of several years experience; and he has successfully argued against many accused persons. His rulings as a state court judge have also resulted in the prosecution of many accused persons.
Crystal Riley 7, the abducted daughter and only child of the Rileys, is doing exceptionally well at school. She is also very good at remembering faces, names, phone numbers and addresses. She knows her parents’ names, phone numbers, and home and work addresses.
The Riley’s are hoping that somehow, their daughter can use her cleverness to help them find her.
Missing child and the investigation
Police are investigating the abduction around the clock. Police and the national guard are searching to locate the child and acquire any evidence of, and apprehend, the abductors. The media are announcing information relevant to finding Crystal and apprehending her abductors. They are asking persons to come forward with any information that can help in the investigation.
All parties involved in finding Crystal Riley, such as the police and media, continue working briskly to find her. The Riley’s and police are prepared for calls from a likely kidnapper. The Rileys offer an attractive reward to anyone who provides information that leads to finding Crystal.
Persons formerly prosecuted by one or both Rileys are the chief suspects for the police. The police have questioned some such persons and released them for lack of evidence against them. The police are seeking other such persons in connection with Crystal’s disappearance.
Missing child and a turn in the investigation
Sergeant Paul Lashley, a member of the investigating team, thinks contrary to the other members of the team. He has a completely different suspect in mind. He questions the Rileys about the couple to whom they spoke in the park. Sergeant Lashley thinks this couple, to whom the Riley’s spoke, performed a role in Crystal’s disappearance.
“Why were they checking their watches so frequently while speaking with the Rileys? Why did they end the conversation and departed so suddenly after a phone call to which they responded “OK, fine” ? What was that phone call about? From whom did that phone call come?” Sergeant Lashley asks himself in his notes.
The Blackburns probably are still performing some task in connection with the custody of Crystal. They, perhaps, are in contact with her abductors, Sergeant Lashley thinks.
Sergeant Lashley notes a few things about the couple, Jane and Richard Blackburn. They mentioned their names to the Rileys and drove away in an empty car. They parked in an open area before driving away, easily revealing their registration plates.
He observes that the Blackburns display freedom from fear of suspicion. He thinks this can be helpful in leading the investigation to Crystal’s abductors; and he conceals all evidence of police suspicion from the Blackburns.
Missing child, the investigation continues
Sergeant Paul Lashley continues working determinedly to find and free Crystal Riley and arrest her abductors. Toward this end, he does a background check on the Blackburns which turns up clean. It also reveals they are owners of a successful retail business.
He then asks and receives the Rileys permission to show around photos of Crystal to selected persons. These persons, hopefully, might have information that could lead to her location. He shows around such photos for almost a week without a helpful response.Then something happens during the following week.
Missing child and the hope of finding her
A middle aged lady who sees the photos says that she saw Crystal walking reluctantly with someone to a car. Crystal was walking with a man in his forties. She says it was clear that Crystal was sad, unhappy and fearful of him. This lady says she noted the car and took its registration number in case this could be of help later.
Several other persons give vivid eye witness accounts similar to this one. Two other persons give similar accounts which indicate this man taking Crystal to the Blackburn’s retail store.
The vehicle’s registration number leads to a James Wickham who perfectly fits the eye witnesses description of the vehicle’s driver. The police arrest and question James Wickham and check his background. His criminal record shows that he has abducted children in the past for hire.
The police question him about the Blackburns; and he strongly denies knowing them. The police tell James Wickham about his phone call to Jane Blackburn on the day of Crystal’s abduction. James Wickham then says that he knows the Blackburns. He also says that the Blackburns paid him to abduct Crystal. The police charge him with Crystal’s abduction and custody.
James Wickham says that he does not know where Crystal Riley is. He says this because he handed her over to a couple whose name and address he does not know. He says he handed her over on a lonely country road a week after he abducted her; and the Blackburns set up the handing over of her to the couple.
Missing, the police find Chrystal alive
The police arrest Jane and Richard Blackburn and question them in connection with Crystal’s disappearance. The police, however, do not tell the Blackburns that they arrested and questioned James Wickham. Officers question Jane and Richard Blackburn about James Wickham; and they deny knowing him.
The police then tell them about the phone call he made to them during their conversation with Crystal’s parents. The Blackburns admit to knowing James Wickham. They then admit their involvement in Crystal’s abduction. Jane Blackburn and her husband hired and paid the abductor. The money, however, was provided by the couple who received Crystal. The police charge the Blackburns with their involvement in the abduction and custody of Crystal.
Jane and Richard Blackburn say that they were just trying to assist a couple who truly love children.
This couple, they say, desire to have children but are incapable of becoming biological parents. The couple are always unsuccessful whenever they try to legally adopt a child. They have exhausted all legal avenues for adopting a child, without any success.
Richard Blackburn, gives the police the names and address of the couple to whom James Wickham gave Crystal. Mark and Janice Stuart received Crystal from her abductor, James Wickham. The police raid the home of the Stuarts, taking Crystal and arresting the Stuarts.
In police custody, the Stuarts reiterate all that the Blackburns told the police. The police, likewise, charge the Stuarts according to their part in the abduction and illegal custody of Crystal.
Missing child happily reunites with parents
Crystal returns to her parents who delight at her presence and receive her with much joy, and tears. John and Maria Riley are effusive in their expression of physical and other affection toward Crystal.
Crystal says that the Stuarts treated her like a princess, but they prevented her from using the phone. She says that the man who took her also treated her kindly. She says that she fear him because he is a stranger who took her without her parents consent.
A medical practitioner examines Crystal and finds her to be without any injuries. A psychiatrist also assesses Crystal and says she is not adversely affected by her recent abduction.
By Edward Fagan