Author: 1st endeavor
Disclaimer: All the characters and references to the show "NUMB3RS" are the property of Cheryl Heuton and Nick Falacci, CBS and the Scott Brothers. I am not making any profit from this and no infringement is intended. However, my original characters and story line are mine.
Walter Simmons sat in the back of the ambulance and stared morosely at the activity in front of him.
Multiple police cars and a multitude of law enforcement personnel were spread out around the public park. All streets leading to the park had been cordoned off by LAPD police cruisers and other law enforcement vehicles. Police officers with grim faces stood in front of those vehicles now, determined to prevent the curious onlookers from contaminating the crime scene.
He glanced at the news van still parked behind the barricade and watched as the impatient reporter tried to get closer to the scene. The reporter would have to stay behind the crime scene tape until the FBI forensics team had finished with their investigation, but that didn't keep the man from trying to get through.
Sighing, Walt closed his eyes and silently berated himself for failing to stop the abduction. In his younger days he would have been able to outdistance the kidnapper and stop him long before he even had a chance to put the truck into drive. In his prime, at six foot two and a hundred and ninety-five pounds he had been a force to contend with. But that had been when he was younger and although he still tried to keep himself in good shape, he could not keep time from tacking its toll on him. At sixty-two, he just was not as fast as he used to be and that fact had never become more apparent to him than at that very moment. Time had not taken away his eyes, however, and his one consolation was that at least he had some good information to give to the FBI; his startling blue eyes were still just as sharp as they ever were.
The medical technician returned to check his blood pressure and give him a new ice pack and then left to report his patient's condition to the ER personnel at the hospital.
Frustrated at his failure, Walt jammed the ice pack against the side of his head and winced, immediately regretting his action. Old age had done this to him; at least that was how he looked at it anyway. The only way that creep had been able to shake him off like that was because of the arthritis that was developing in his hands and knees. Walt grumbled to himself as he watched the LAPD rope off more of the playground area with the all too familiar yellow tape. He was no stranger to this procedure, as a retired LAPD officer himself; he knew every step that the police dept would take.
Walt sighed and shifted his position, trying to get a little more comfortable and looked up just as another vehicle pulled in and parked between two of the patrol cars. He recognized the black suburban right away; this had to be another FBI team. Glancing sideways at the distraught parents, he spied the first two agents that had arrived at the scene.
During his many years of service, Walt had worked with a number of FBI agents. Some of them he liked others he merely tolerated. He had to admit that Agents Sinclair and Granger had impressed him with the way they handled themselves. Professional, courteous but there was more to it than that. This was more than a job to them, he could see it in their eyes; they really cared about the people.
The retired officer shifted his gaze back to the suburban. After forty years as a trained observer, it was obvious to him that the agent in charge had just arrived at the scene. As he watched, the doors opened and two men climbed out of the vehicle. He did not have a clear view of the man on the passenger side but the one standing by the driver's side door had to be the boss. Wearing an FBI cap and jacket, the man stood quietly by the door perusing the scene. It was not the clothes that marked him as the boss but the presence that radiated from his stance; authority, confidence and ability.
The second man came around the vehicle carrying a map and a clipboard. Dressed casually in jeans, tee shirt and an opened button down shirt he presented a more youthful appearance than the federal agent. He had a slighter build than the SAC and had dark curls framing his face, giving the observer the impression that he was looking at a college student, but his manner spoke more of maturity and experience. This wasn't a student but someone who was sure of himself and his abilities.
Walt leaned forward, his curiosity getting the better of him as he studied the younger man, trying to pinpoint his role in this investigation. As he watched, the young man spread the map out on the hood of the vehicle and began to trace a path across the paper with his finger while explaining something to the agent. Next, the young man turned and pointed to the area surrounding the park and then closed up the map as the agent nodded his head in agreement.
"Consultant." Walt let a triumphant grin play across his face. "That's it; the kid's some kind of consultant."
The consultant started to walk away but the agent stretched out a hand and rested it on the man's shoulder successfully halting his progress. With his other hand, the SAC motioned for an officer to join them.
Walt's forehead wrinkled in puzzlement as he watched them. That simple touch spoke volumes to him. There was more here than a professional relationship and as he gazed at them a distant memory began to stir in his mind… He had a vision of another time and of another place; a place where an older boy had stood the exact same way, with a protective arm around his curly-haired younger brother trying to keep him from harm. Walt shut his eyes tightly and tried to bring the memory forward, but it remained hidden, just out of reach and tickling the edges of his mind. The retired officer couldn't place it but he knew that somehow he had seen both of those men before. .
He would figure it out, he told himself, as he watched them separate. The younger man and the officer headed toward the woods while the agent worked his way through the crowd toward the crime scene.
Don parked his car next to a patrol car and turned off the ignition. He climbed out and stood by the open door as he perused the scene thoughtfully. A rather large crowd had gathered just behind the barriers to view the police activity and he suspected that most of them were neighbors of the victim and were quite shocked to learn that something like this could happen in their small community. It was just an ordinary neighborhood, one of thousands in Los Angeles County, but this one would never be the same for these people again. They're safe world had just been rocked off its axis because one of life's horrors had suddenly and inexplicably targeted one of they're own. The world really was in a sad state of affairs when a playground could be turned into a crime scene.
His gaze fell upon the grief-stricken parents sitting on one of the park benches. They were speaking with David and Colby and the husband was trying to comfort his wife, who was sobbing uncontrollably in his arms.
The agent turned as his brother came around the vehicle and he went to join him at the front of the car as Charlie opened a map and spread it out over the hood of the SUV.
"You got something?"
"Maybe, but it's too soon to tell." Charlie looked up and scanned the area. "I'll know more after I look around." He folded the map and picked up his clipboard. "I'm going to walk around the block and see if there is anything else that I can use in my equation."
Don's arm came around his neck as he started to move away.
"What?" he asked, looking up in surprise.
"You can look around Charlie, but you're not going alone. " The agent stated grimly as he waved for a patrol officer to come over.
The officer hurried over and Don flashed his badge. "This is Dr. Eppes; he's a consultant on this case. Stay with him, he's going to check out the area."
Charlie eyebrows rose in surprise as he turned to face his brother. "Don, do you really think that is necessary? I mean, the guy's going after kids, not adults."
"I know that Charlie but this is an active crime scene and if he should come back to see what is going on you might get in his way, and that's not a chance that I'm willing to take." Don explained patiently.
Charlie opened his mouth to protest but noted the grim set of Don's jaw and decided that it would be a waste of time to try and get Don to see that the odds of that happening were practically zero.
"Fine." he responded in a clipped voice and with a shrug turned away without another word . The officer gave Don a nod and hurriedly left to catch up with him.
"Hey Don." The agent turned as David and Colby came up to join him.
"What have you got?"
"The little girl's name is Samantha Wilkins. Five years old, blond hair, blue eyes" David responded. "She weighs approximately 35 lbs and is three and a half feet tall. She was snatched from the swing set forty-five minutes ago." he glanced at his notes. "Samantha was wearing a long-sleeved pink shirt, jeans, a purple jacket and a pair of pink sneakers. Oh, and she had a pink and purple toy backpack, containing a doll and a stuffed toy dog. The backpack has a heart shaped I.D tag attached to it with her name on it."
"Uh, huh, and where was the mother?" Don asked nodding in the direction of the distraught woman.
"Forty feet away." Colby answered. "She went to her car to get her camera and when she looked down to get it, the man came running out of the woods and snatched the kid."
David picked it up. "Yeah, the mom gave chase but the guy was too fast."
Don glanced sideways at the distraught couple. "Did she get a good description of the man?"
"No." Colby said with a shake of his head. "It happened too fast and she only saw him from the back."
"But we may have a break this time Don."
Don pulled his glasses down and looked over them at David. "How so?"
"This time we have a witness."
"Who?" The agent asked as he pushed his glasses back into position and looked around.
"Over there." David responded pointing at a man sitting in the ambulance. He flipped his notebook open and searched through several pages before he found the entry he was looking for. "Walter Simmons, a retired LAPD officer. He was jogging and heard the mother screaming and tried to stop the abduction."
"As soon as he gets checked out, we'll get him down to headquarters and get his statement." Colby added.
"What's his story?"
"He was able to jump on the side of the truck and hold on for a while, but our perp sped up and shook him off. He said the man had a hood over his face but he gave us a good description of the truck. Unfortunately, he was never in a position to see the license plate." David closed his notebook and returned it to his pocket.
"Anyway, after the truck was gone, he contacted LAPD and they issued an Amber Alert right away and within fifteen minutes road blocks were set up and they were checking vehicles."
Don shook his head and sighed. "That's a long shot at best. The 10 is only six minutes away, he'd be a fool not to jump on it and get out of the area." His eyes drifted back to the parents. "Do they live nearby?"
"Yeah, two blocks over. The mother said that they usually walk over to the park everyday around this same time." David paused and coughed to clear his throat. "She had a doctor's appointment later this afternoon and decided to drive over instead so they could leave from here. "
"So he knew her schedule." Don mused, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. "If our guy has been watching her then its possible that someone else in the neighborhood might have noticed him." He glanced around the park once again and then added. " Colby, get LAPD to start canvassing the neighborhood, find out if anyone saw that truck or any strangers hanging around here."
"On it Don." Colby said over his shoulder as he hurriedly departed.
"David, show me where he came out of the woods."
Don mulled over the case and so far the kidnapper had been very careful about leaving any evidence behind. The bodies would turn up about a week later, wrapped in plastic and placed in a dark alley somewhere. All of them had been sexually assaulted and strangled.
Fear was beginning to grip the city, and without any new leads to go on the LAPD had asked for the FBI's help. The case had been turned over to Don's team after the third abduction. A serial rapist was bad enough but they were dealing with a pedophile that was going after little girls and until today the youngest one had been seven years old. Samantha was only five and unless they were able to find her in time, she would become his youngest victim so far.
His team had been working almost non-stop for the past two days trying to find the killer before he could strike again but today's attack had crushed that hope and now all they could do was try and find him before it was too late to save the little girl.
"It looks like he waited behind these bushes." David was saying as he waved his hand toward a group of low bushes near the edge of the sidewalk. They ducked under the yellow tape to take a closer look, careful not to compromise any of the evidence. "There are cigarette butts and footprints so it's looks like he waited for a while."
"Yeah." Don agreed., turning his attention back to the evidence. "He definitely knew their schedule."
"Has Charlie come up with anything yet?" David asked.
"Not yet. He's trying to pinpoint the man's home base but he needs more data." At the mention of his brother's name Don automatically began to scan the area for him.
"Where did he go?' Muttering to himself he slowly turned in a circle looking for Charlie. Don had been reluctant to bring his brother in on this case because Charlie had a tendency to get emotionally involved with cases that involved children. But if the little girl was going to have a chance then Charlie was probably his best bet to find her.
"I don't see him." David commented. "Did he come with you or did he drive his own car?"
"With me." Don responded absently as he began to walk back toward his car. He scanned through the multitude of law enforcement personnel and curious onlookers as he and David approached the suburban.
Colby caught up to them as they reached the vehicle.
"Hey Colb, have you seen Charlie?" Don asked worriedly.
Colby shook his head and noted the concern in Don's voice. "No. What's up?" He shared a quick glance with his partner and began to look around himself.
Don shrugged his shoulders. "Probably nothing. This case just has me on edge." Don really couldn't explain his uneasy feeling other than the fact that Charlie had experienced a couple of "close calls" when he had helped them out on other cases. He rubbed the back of his neck tiredly; he really had to stop this he told himself. Charlie wasn't just his kid brother anymore, he had become a valuable member of his team, and he had to stop being so overprotective of him.
"Charlie was just going to look around and try and gather more data for his equations. The question now is where did he go?"
Don caught movement out of the corner of his eyes and he shifted his gaze toward the ambulance. He watched it thoughtfully as it slowly wove its way through the throng of onlookers. A lot rested on the witness that it was carrying and Don hoped that David was right about getting a break in the case. He felt a tap on his shoulder and he looked around to meet his brother's eyes.
"Did you find anything useful?" He asked, quickly shifting his gaze so his brother wouldn't see the relieved expression in his eyes.
"Maybe, but I'll know for sure after I get more info on what happened here." Charlie glanced at his clipboard and made a few more notes before looking back up again. "Are you almost finished here? I need to get on this ASAP."
"I'll drop you off; I'm ready to head back to the office now anyway. " Don responded sadly as his gaze drifted to the parents of the missing child.
They had to get a break in the case from somewhere, maybe Charlie could come up with something before little Samantha Wilkins became victim number four.