Dr. Spencer Reid took the offered mug of coffee with a distracted smile. The white board before him was covered with photographs of victims, personal information neatly penned beside each. He listened to his co-workers discussing the case.
"The victims range in ages from twenty to sixty," Morgan mentioned thumbing through one of the files.
"Both male and female," Elle added.
"No common physical traits. Some had blonde hair, brown, black. Ms. Tennyson had red. And eye colors varied as well," Hotchner frowned.
"Checking their backgrounds, they ran in different circles, both socially and professionally." Gideon paced opposite the white boards, staring hard at them.
J.J. leaned back in her seat, "No one witnessed the abductions, the victims were taken either from their homes or places of business. After a week in which the victim was beaten before force-fed a mixture of cleaning chemicals, the bodies were returned, again, with no witnesses. If taken from home, they were placed in their beds, as if sleeping. Except for Tony Reiser and Tonks, who were found in their cardboard shelters. If from work, they were found at their desks."
Garcia shuddered, "Well, I checked my databases. There was no indication that any of the victims knew each other."
Hotch found his feet, hands on hips. "Ten victims. All within the last ten months. We've received accounts from most of their co-workers or friends as to what was going on preceding the kidnappings. Even those on the street tried to be helpful. What surprised me was the reluctance of David Blackfoot's family to talk to the authorities, even after learning of the earlier victims."
"Blackfoot?" Morgan opened a file, brow creased.
"Sheriff on one of the reservations in Nevada. One of the Regional Section Chiefs."
"Indian Chief?" Reid muttered. He seemed to freeze in place, eyes darting from picture to picture.
"What is it, Reid?"
"Indian chief. I've got it. The pattern. It's subtle. But it did have to do with profession. Look."
"We already figured they didn't know each other," J.J. pointed up.
He moved to a clear section of board and began listing the names and occupations of the victims. "That doesn't matter. See. Okay, so our first victim was Mitchell Vargus, right? And he'd made a killing trading stocks on Wall Street. Darren Peters worked at Burger King, barely making ends meet. Tony Reiser panhandled for a living with his guitar. Mia Pebbles was a pickpocket. Janet Tennyson was a pediatrician. George Hanson, a defense attorney. David Blackfoot. Reservation Sheriff. Next came Christopher Moore who was living off his father's inheritance. Benji Krauss, a greeter at Walmart. And now Tonks, yet another street person.' He turned to them triumphantly.
The others stared blankly, dimming his enthusiasm a bit. "Don't you get it? It's a child's skipping rhyme." He pointed at the board. "Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief."
"Doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief," Morgan finished.
"Oh my God," Garcia's eyes were wide behind her glasses. "And the pattern is repeating itself with the last three."
"The next victim would be a thief?" Aaron asked..
"If the pattern holds true. Yes." Spencer was adamant.
Elle stared, "Catching this guy's going to be a nightmare. We can't predict which thief he'll go after next. Can we narrow his range any?"
Gideon pointed at the map, a push-pin for each location. "The unsub rotates between these three cities except for when he went after David Blackstone. There aren't many reservations nearby, and the unsub obviously won't settle for anything less than a real Indian chief."
Hatch glanced at the others, "Maybe with this new information they'll be willing to talk to us now."
"Gather your gear, ladies and gentlemen. Wheels up in one hour." As the team filed out of the room, Gideon clapped a hand on Spenser's shoulder. "Good work."