A MOTHER AND DAUGHTER VANISH
IN THE MIDST OF A BITTER CUSTODY BATTLE
Kelly Harbison blasts into an Ohio police station and announces that his ex-wife has kidnapped his ten-year old daughter. The police don’t take him seriously, but three days later mother and child are still missing.
Carrie Green, newly out of junior college, works as a low-payed intern for a small struggling newspaper. Her editor is sick of local disappearances that never amount to anything, so he figures he’ll dump the story on his young intern.
But Carrie astounds her editor by developing an inexplicable rapport with the missing girl’s father, an abrasive and demanding man nobody else can stand. Even harder to explain is her mysterious access to information that law enforcement hasn’t released to the public – or doesn’t even know about.
And rather than being the typical trivial missing persons story, resolved in a day or two, the case becomes the biggest local event in a decade. Almost from the beginning police are struggling with oddly contradictory evidence; they find clear signs that the missing duo left by choice, colliding with equally strong indications that they’ve been kidnapped.
To make the picture even murkier, the missing girl keeps appearing, then slipping away again before police can help her. Or is it really her at all? And where’s her mom?
The police resent this gum-chewing punk reporter who somehow is able to find out things that they can’t. But much as they dislike her – and the whole neighborhood she comes from -- they also start to realize they might need her uncanny access to the inside story.
Carrie and her boyfriend stumble into mounting evidence that the custody courts have become severely biased and corrupt -- and that children are dying as a result. They both decide to go underground, infiltrating opposing networks that help parents kidnap children – and that, oddly, both appear to be connected to the case.
As she grows increasingly concerned about the danger to the missing girl, Carrie decides to take big risks -- and ropes her boyfriend into joining her – to find out what has happened before it’s too late.
And she starts to realize she’s been believing the wrong people the whole time.