The lieutenant eyes are cold and steely, zeroed in on the convict. His mind is elsewhere. He thinks about the girl, lying in a hospital bed on the brink of death. He thinks of her parents, sitting in the cold hallway, wondering if their child would make it. He imagines the pallidity of their distraught faces, gazing at the chipped olive paint on the hospital door. He can see the tears in their eyes as they listened for the steady beeping of her heart monitor, barely audible over the ruckus of the hospital hallways, wondering when they could go in and see her.
Ladner walks back into the room, carrying two more cups of Starbucks coffee. She hands him one. He takes it in his left hand with a curt nod.
“Report.” he says, his voice scratchy and tired.
“Porter just finished with the parents.”
“No ties to the PoP?” He takes a sip of the coffee. It is warm and pleasantly bitter.
“None whatsoever.” She shakes her head, sending a few strands of blonde hair into her eyes.
“What about her friends?” His eyes flick over to the officer’s reflection, checking her facial expression for hidden information.
“Johnson’s at the school interviewing two of her classmates now.” A blank face.
“Social media?” He looks back at the detective in the room.
“I checked; she doesn’t have any to her name. She uses a pseudonym in most cases, and apparently a different one every time. There’s no names that pop up on more than one account so I don’t think they tracked her there.”
“Both her parents are atheist. Never been to church.” She fiddles with the gold ring on her finger.
“So how did they find her?” he asks, more to himself than to her. His fist slams into the frame of the two-way mirror. It hurts but the anger and caffeine replacing his blood numb the pain.
“I don’t know, sir. I don’t know.”