On Saturday evening, a local 18-year old girl was kidnapped.
She was shopping at Target, in a very "safe" neighborhood. Just stopped to pick a few things up, as any person would do. Left the store shortly after 7 p.m, when it was still light and bright outside, and never heard of again.
If you've been keeping up with the news, I'm sure you've heard about it. And this story has gotten under my skin.
Some would say it's because I'm a mom and kidnappings take on a new level of terror when you're a parent. Some may say it's because it happened locally, and I mean locally, as the family lives a mile or so away and I visit that Target store frequently myself.
But I think the main reason why this story is bothering me so much is because yes, it is very local, and also for the really horrible time line of reaction from security, police department and FBI.
I'm not saying they could have prevented the incident or even caught up with her attacker -- it all happened very fast. But the fact that it took them days to even remotely get on the trail makes me sick to my stomach.
Here's what happened...
The girl was shopping at Target. She left the store around 7:10, still light outside. When she wasn't home by 7:30 her family became concerned. They called her. They began looking for her. Around 9:30 that night her grandparents found her car abandoned at the mall (just across the street from Target) with her purse and purchases in the car.
Her family was on the news Sunday evening saying she was missing, please help. To the best of my recollection, the police were not yet involved (we have a 48- hour waiting period before a person can be considered "missing;" incidently, the first 48 hours of are the most crucial for finding a person alive).
By Monday night, (48-hours later), the Target security cameras have been looked at and her kidnapping was recorded. The cameras also recorded someone following her into the store and out of the store.
By Tuesday night, the police had enhanced the video to see the person-who-was-following-her's vehicle.
Wednesday afternoon, the police and FBI had searched an area where they received "pings" off her cell phone (GPS location of when people were calling her). The last "ping" was sent at approximately 8 p.m. Saturday night. The found her body covered by brush in a local wooded park.
When interviewed, a resident recalled seeing a vehicle in the gated park (lots of our big parks have gates and are closed at dusk) after the gates had closed. He didn't think much of it, as the story hadn't even hit the news at that point.
I'm not naive, and I realize that we don't live in a perfect world. But the fact that in a matter of three hours (three hours) a girl can be kidnapped in broad daylight, driven 20 miles away over state line, murdered (and who knows what else), body dumped and covered and the criminal to do this drives away all without any police knowledge.
Does that make any sense to anyone? Because I can't wrap my head around it.
And her family, oh my her family, they have been doing everything they could to find her. And my heart is just broken for them.
I'm filled with so many questions, as I'm sure others are too. Where was the Target security? Who was watching the cameras? Why did it take two days to begin to review the security tapes? Why did it take the police four days to investigate the area where her last cell phone "ping" was sent off?
I realize there's nothing that anyone could do to bring her back. But there could have been prevented measures. And a more timely review of her case. In this day and age with some much technology, video feeds, cell for GPS, it should not have taken this long to find her. It shouldn't have taken two days for the video to be reviewed.
This is just so difficult.
Last night the police made an arrest of the man on the video tape. He was arrested for premeditative murder.
My heart goes out to her family and friends.