“So he probably didn’t park in the garage. What about one of the shuttles? Did he park in the economy lot and take a shuttle? They’re located in the same direction he’s walking,” said Ava.
Duncan shook his head. “We checked the video feed there, too. Our theory is that someone must have given him a ride and picked him up, which we’ve searched for and can’t find a visual record of.”
Mutters of disappointment rumbled in the room.
Their suspect vanished into thin air?
“We’re still looking. We’ll figure out where he went,” promised Duncan. “It could be a fast thief that’s totally unrelated to this case. Just like the ransom note. Or it could be something more.”
“But why did he take the bag?” Ava asked. “What was in the bag that he wanted? He kidnapped a young girl. How does that connect with her stepbrother’s bag?”
“Good questions,” answered Duncan. He scanned the group. “Any theories?”
The investigators looked at one another.
“Maybe this is focused more on the family, not just on Henley. Perhaps Henley is just part of what he’s doing. Are any other family members missing things?” an agent tossed out.
Ava noticed several agents nodding along with the theory. Were the other family members in danger? She swallowed and fought an urge to dash back to the house. Clackamas County had deputies outside the Fairbanks house and at Robin’s parents’ home, where her two younger daughters were staying.
A number of agents shifted uncomfortably in their chairs, feeling the same unease about danger to the children.
“Nothing like that has turned up in their interviews. No oddities reported,” answered Wells from the front row. Ava leaned to the left to see Wells. She hadn’t noticed the agent in the room.
“Let’s ask them specifically if they’ve noticed anything is missing,” suggested Duncan. “Anything at all.”
Ava raised her hand. “What about Detective Callahan? He’s had some weird things happen at work.”
Duncan nodded at her. “I’ve been following that.” His gaze covered the room. “One of Detective Callahan’s confidential informants was murdered the night before Henley vanished. I’m keeping in touch with his supervisor.”
Ava’s personal phone started vibrating, and a few cops glanced her way. She pulled it out of her pocket and turned it off after seeing Jayne’s name on the screen.
“Another focus is Lilian Fairbanks’s ex-boyfriend,” Sanford stated. “He doesn’t have an alibi for Friday morning. Basically, he was alone in his apartment, asleep after a late night out watching college football at a sports bar in Tigard.”
Wells picked up the narrative. “He interviewed well. He was shocked about the child’s disappearance and seemed genuinely concerned about her welfare and Lilian’s. He wanted to contact Lilian and join one of the volunteer groups searching the parks, but we discouraged it for now. He understood why we were talking to him, and he wasn’t defensive at all.”
Duncan was nodding in agreement. “He’s not too high on our list. He allowed us to search his home and talk to his friends and family. He’ll be talking later today with one of the BAU agents who is a child-exploitation expert. We’ll see what kind of read he gets from him.”
“Did the mother have any other past boyfriends?” asked a deputy.
“She gave us two other names, but the relationships were pretty old,” Duncan stated. “One has been married for two years, and the other lives in Florida. We’ve talked with both and consider them low on our list.
“We’ve got the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children involved. They’ll be handling a big media push to get Henley’s face out there and expanding the coverage to neighboring states. Local media has been helpful, but they’re wanting an in-depth press conference. We gave them a statement last night about what happened at the waterfront, and we’ve told them we support the candlelight vigil at the park tonight. In my opinion, the more people who know, the better.”
“Who’s in charge of the security coverage at the vigil?” asked a Lake Oswego officer.
“We’re coordinating with the Portland Police Department since it’s on their turf.” Duncan made a face. “It’s a few hundred yards from where the ransom drop took place last night.”
Ava’s brain rapidly processed those two facts. Was there any connection between the two locations? “Who organized the vigil?” she asked.
“The Parent Student Organization at Henley’s elementary school,” answered Sanford.
Ava deflated a bit. It was doubtful that there was a relationship between the parents who made up the PSO and a busboy who failed to trick the FBI. Sanford nodded at her. “Yes, we found the location odd, too. But I think it’s a coincidence. The busboy is from Troutdale, miles away from Lake Oswego. He doesn’t know anyone in Henley’s neighborhood or school. He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. I’m surprised he managed to find the school to drop off the ransom note.”
Duncan wrapped up the meeting, and Ava waited until she’d reached her car before checking her phone. She listened to Jayne’s lengthy voice mail and tried not to roll her eyes. Jayne’s car wouldn’t start and she needed a ride this morning. To a job interview? Who had a job interview on a Sunday?
Her phone vibrated in her hand, and she tried to decline the call but hit “Answer.”