Two missing boys. Geni felt sick at the thought that there was a second child out there that no one had been looking for. They’d only found one bike, a red and blue Spiderman bike, which everyone assumed belonged to Luke Hansen, but it was most likely his cousin's bike--Geni didn’t know the boy's name--based off the picture in his house. She held that same picture in an evidence bag on her lap. The MyBase Probiotic Deodorant was also in an evidence bag, but Wolfe had put it in a box in the trunk.
It was hard to believe that the boy's parents didn’t even know he was missing. That’s what she and Wolfe were heading to do at top speed, lights flashing. It was pretty cool to be inside the car as the sirens sounded and Geni could see cars pull off to the side of the road to let them pass. They’d decided to go to Luke Hansen’s house and speak to his aunt and uncle in person about their missing son. Some things were not good to say over the phone or through a third party.
“Dang it!” Wolfe yelled.
Geni jumped as Danny slammed his fist against the steering wheel. Never had Geni seen him so angry, not even when his car had been broken into in junior year, and his wallet was stolen with the last bit of tuition money he had left to pay for the semester.
“How could we have overlooked the second child, Geni?”
“Do you think he was overlooked?” she asked as she held, white knuckled, onto the door when he took a left turn rather quickly.
“It’s possible,” he said, not taking his eyes off the road, “We only had what his parents and friend said at the beginning to go by. No one knew his cousin was with him.”
“Then he wasn’t overlooked cause no one knew he was missing.” She looked out the window to see dark shapes of trees in the night on both sides of the car. “Where are we going?”
“I want to stop by the scene where we found the bike, and see if there’s proof of a second child being there.”
“And you can’t just call them and ask these questions?”
He narrowed his eyes at her, “It’s on our way, and I want to be sure myself.”
“Okay.” She shrugged, and mumbled under her breath, “But it’d be quicker to call instead.”
“What’d you say?”
She shook her head, “Nothing.”
He grunted and returned his focus to the road.
Geni sighed and rested her forehead against the cold window. November was always cold, and snow usually fell way before Thanksgiving, but this year was just cold. If the weather kept this up, there’d be no white Christmas. Geni needed a white Christmas to make snowmen with the kids, take them sledding down Beakers Hill, and continuing the tradition of drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows on Christmas Eve while watching the snow drift to the earth, sometimes telling funny stories and sometime sitting quietly, enjoying being together as a family. Todd had started that tradition their first Christmas as husband and wife. It was one of her favorite memories of him with the kids.
The car slowed to a stop and Geni recognized the place from all the floodlights. When they climbed from the car, Geni noticed the Spiderman bike was no longer lying on the ground. A few officers were still on the scene and Geni smiled at one of the three guards as he lifted the crime scene tape for them. Most of the scene looked cleared up from three hours earlier when she’d been there before.
“Wolfe,” an officer called to them from across the taped off area, “I didn’t know you’d be back tonight.”
The two men wrung hands and Wolfe said, “I hadn’t planned on it, Tony, but I need to know if you found any evidence of a second child being here.”
“A second child? No, none of the preliminary evidence we’ve found has given the impression of a second child being here.” He looked around the area. “Did we miss something, Danny?”
Detective Wolfe said, “I’m not sure yet. We’re headed to speak to the parents to verify our assumption, but I wanted to check here and see if new evidence had been found.”
Tony said, “If we find proof of another child being here, you’ll be the first to know.”
Walking back to the car, Geni made sure not to open her mouth since what she wanted to say wouldn’t be nice.
“Spit it out.”
“What?” she said innocently.
“Geni, I know you want to say, ‘I told you to call instead.’”
He had no idea.
“Not at all,” she said as she climbed into the car, but just before she closed the door, she quickly shouted, “Told you so,” and slammed it shut.
Wolfe was still chuckling when he started the car and pulled onto the road.
They arrived at the Hansen residence about ten minutes later. Geni took a deep breath before opening the door and walking to the front door. Informing parents that their child may be missing along with his cousin, was not her favorite part of the job, and Geni had not missed it the past two years. Wolfe knocked and the door was opened by another detective Geni didn’t recognize. They followed the detective to the living room where Detective Newman was seated next to a crying woman, Geni figured she was Luke’s mom--she’d be crying too if one of her kids was missing. Tracy Hansen was holding Luke’s mom’s hand while Newman tried to speak to the weeping mom.
Newman came to his feet as Geni and Wolfe entered the room and walked to them, “What did you find?”
He was not a man to mince words. Geni liked that about him.
Wolfe quickly brought Newman up to speed on what they found at the aunt’s house.
“You think there’s a second missing child?” Newman finally said after Danny finished speaking.
“It’s a possibility.”
Newman turned his gaze on Geni and raised his eyebrows, silently asking if she agreed with Wolfe. She nodded.
“Okay. Let’s talk to Tracy and Brad Hansen.”
The parents agreed to move into the kitchen for a more private conversation with Newman, Wolfe and Geni.
“Mrs. Hansen,” Wolfe started the conversation, “Does your son own a blue and red Spiderman bike?”
“Kyle? Yes, he does.” She looked at her husband then back at the detectives, “Why?”
This was it, the moment Tracy Hansen had to be informed her son was missing along with his cousin. Geni quickly wiped a tear from her eye and looked away from the situation she knew was coming.
“Mr. and Mrs. Hansen, we believe that Kyle was with Luke when he went missing and is also missing.”
Tracy jumped from her chair, “No, that’s not possible!” She rushed from the room calling her son’s name.
Her outburst brought most of the people from the living room out to investigate why Tracy Hansen was freaking out. Geni was kind of in agreement with her panic attack--it’s something she’d do after that sort of bombshell.
“Tracy, what’s wrong?” Luke’s mom said.
Brad Hansen grabbed his wife's shoulders and said, “Sweetheart, you need to calm down.”
“No, I need Kyle. Kyle!”
“Mom, what’s going on?”
Geni’s eyes widened Kyle Hansen, the boy from the photo on the Spiderman bike, walked down the hall from a back room. She looked at Wolfe whose face shared the same shocked look as hers.
Tracy pulled her son into a tight hug when she saw him.
Newman stepped between the two and said, “Mrs. Hansen, is this your son?”
“Of course this is my son.”
Geni began to get an idea of what happened so she asked, “Kyle, may I see your hands?”
Confused, he held his hands out to her and she found a cream like substance on his palms that resembled the substance found on the bike. Geni would bet Kyle’s fingers would match the prints left in the MyBase Probiotic Deodorant from his mom’s bathroom.
“Did you let your cousin borrow your bike today?” she asked him.
“Yeah. His bike has a flat tire, so he left it at my house this morning and took mine.” He looked at all the adults standing around him. “Did I do something wrong?”
His dad rubbed Kyle’s hair, “No, son, you’ve done nothing wrong. Detectives, as you can see, our son is here and fine. I hope you are doing a better job looking for my nephew.”
“Wait,” Tracy said, “You found Kyle’s bike where Luke was last seen?”
Wolfe said, “Yes, ma’am.”“Oh, goodness. Brad,” her husband took her outstretched hand as she whispered, “I know what happened. I know who took Luke.”