In the last blog, you met Amanda Smith. In this one, you will see how she reacted to her daughter's abduction. On August 12, 1980, while swimming with her friend, Joey, someone killed Joey and abducted Jeanne Smith. Thirty-four years later, authorities had no idea who kidnapped her or where she was. Amanda Smith, Jeanne's mother, dying of cancer, in a last chance attempt to find her daughter, hired John LeGrand, the Cajun PI. What John discovers is a string of missing girls spanning four decades. This is the premise of my new work in progress. The following scene will never make it into the book; however, it will give me an idea of is happening in the background. Next week, you'll meet Jeanne.
August 12, 1980
Amanda usually staffed the desk near the entrance to the Helping Hands Nursing Home when she wasn't working with the residents. The home was a plantation-style building, which housed the elderly and the infirmed. A former member of the Louisiana Society of Helping Hands had willed the building and the two hundred plus acres surrounding it to the charitable organization with the stipulation that it be turned into a low-cost nursing home. Kristin Ivers, a nurse and her supervisor, was passing on some instructions to Amanda when two Ellisonville Police Department officers walked in. For some reason, she could not explain, she shivered at the sight of the two men.
When the overweight red-faced man walked to the desk and asked for Amanda Smith, she knew it would not be good news, but when he told her that Jeanne was missing, and Joey had been shot, it was the worst possible news she could have imagined. She took a deep breath, held it in for a few seconds and then exhaled. She had to be calm—find out what it all meant.
"What do you mean 'missing'?" she asked in an even and controlled voice.
The red-faced officer turned to his partner, who nodded.
"We think…That is, the state police believe she was kidnapped."
When she heard the word, kidnapped, she blinked.
"Who would do such a thing?"
"We don't know yet, ma'am."
"I see." Amanda took another deep breath. She felt as if she were losing control, but she had to find out what happened.
"Are you all right, Mandy?" Kristin asked.
Amanda shook her off with a wave of her arm. She had to concentrate.
"You say Joey was shot. Is he dead?"
Again, the red-faced officer looked at his partner, and he nodded again.
"Oh, my God," Kristin exclaimed and placed a hand on Amanda's shoulder.
"How was he shot?" Amanda asked.
"Ma'am, we're not allowed to give out any more information than that."
"Was my daughter shot, also?" She resisted the urge to cross her fingers, something she did as a child when faced with bad news.
"We don't think so."
"Ma'am." The other police officer, a tall dark man with a buzz cut, stepped forward. He had been standing back until then, watching her reaction closely. "We need some pictures of your daughter for identification purposes and maybe a couple of articles of clothing for the dogs."
"Of course." Amanda took a step forward, but her legs would not work. She could not support herself, and she fell, seated on the wood floor. Then the grief and despair overwhelmed her, and she let out a howl that reverberated from wall to wall in the old building. Then she sobbed, a series of convulsive explosion that emptied her lungs of air, and she knew she was going to die.
She was going to die without ever knowing if her daughter was alive or dead.