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She would never speak of the night she was stolen, tied up, thrown into the back of a car, and driven miles away from her mom and dad. To do so would cause her to become physically ill. To even think of it would cause her uncontrollable panic attacks.
Her husband never knew why she was such a protective mother.
He never would.
It was because of Trooper Jeremy Strickland's bravery that she would grow up at all, let alone become a mother.
After Ralph Jeffries's trial, when she hugged the young trooper as they both cried, they would never see each other again. But for the rest of her life, whenever she saw a policeman, she said a prayer for him.
As for Jeffries, Georgia justice was tough. They never had enough evidence to pin anything more on him besides the trooper and the little girl. But everyone figured the dead kids were his.
"Thirty years to life!" the old judge in the small town shouted loudly as he slammed his gavel. The courtroom erupted in cheers.
Abduction of a minor and assault on a police officer would most likely put him away for the rest of his life, or so they thought.
But times would change, and people would forget.
Prisons would become overcrowded.
And after fifteen years, they released him for, of all things, good behavior.
Good behavior for a monster who had been caught stealing one child, who never paid for the ones he killed.
And fifteen years later he was out.
To kill again.