Quatrain by Medler, John - HTML preview

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CHAPTER 25. CAPTIVITY

FBI Headquarters, Washnington, D.C.

 

“Detective Jensen, this is Agent Bertrand. You told me to tail the Professor and his kids. He went with the kids to the Island Café on O Street. Nothing unusual for the first few minutes. Then a black van with white plates pulled up to the curb. We did not get a license number. An Arab looking man, about 5’ 8,” Army surplus jacket, jeans, sunglasses, black hair slicked back, no facial hair or tattoos we could see, jumped out with what appeared to be a gun, grabbed the professor right in front of his kids, threw him into the sliding door of the van, and peeled out. We were two blocks away at the time, watching through binoculars, keeping a safe distance from the subject. We immediately tailed the van, it went down P Street and under an overpass and by the time we caught up, it was gone. Can you guys pull satellite and find it? It is a non-descript black van, conversion van not a minivan, I think possibly Maryland plates. Sorry we lost ‘em, Detective, but if you can track them by air, we will pursue.”

“Where are the kids?”

“We don’t know because we went after the van. But we are going back to the café and see if we can find them.”

“Roger that, keep me posted.”

The detective was disgusted. How easy was it to tail a professor and two children?

“Christine, I need you to pull satellite or aerial drone photos from O and P Street, about three to five minutes ago. We are looking for a black van that pulled up to the side of the Island Café and grabbed our witness and threw him into the van.”

Within one minute, the big board in the room showed a satellite photo of Washington, DC. The computer operator, Christine, zoomed in on the location.

“There it is.”

They followed the black van on the screen as it left the café, pulled under an overpass, and came out the other side. It weaved its way through traffic for the next ten minutes and then pulled onto I-95 South. Jensen called the Metro DC Police and the County Sheriff’s Office and explained the situation to the officers there. Then he put calls in to his FBI field operatives in the area.

“All units,” Jensen called out. “We have a non-descript black conversion van which seconds ago left the Washington DC area and pulled south onto I-95. We believe there is a hostage on board.”

Jensen considered his next move. If one of the police officers turned on his lights and tried to arrest the driver, the driver could shoot the hostage or crash the van. Better to wait until the van was stopped, and the suspect was not expecting them. Then they could move on the suspect and save the hostage.

“Do not arrest the suspect at this time and do not let him know you are following him. Keep a safe distance away and keep me advised. Our plan is to wait until he stops for gas and then we can grab him and save the hostage.”

The FBI field operatives did as they were told. The black van continued driving south for several hours on Highway 95 without stopping. When the van got to Charleston, South Carolina, it pulled off the highway, and quickly drove downtown. Jensen could see the whole thing from the satellite.

“OK, everybody, he is probably going to stop soon. When he does, and when he appears to be clear of the hostage, take down the driver with whatever force you need, although try and keep the driver alive if you can.”

The black van pulled into the parking lot of the Charleston Marriott Hotel. The front drive contained an overhead structure, blocking the aerial satellite view from above.

“Chance,” said Jensen to the driver of the lead FBI car. “I have no eyes, what do you see?”

“We are three cars behind them. He is getting out now. Baseball cap, jeans, white t-shirt. Cannot see his face. About 5 foot, ten inches. It looks like he is valeting the van. We will get him, boss.”

The FBI operatives, wearing black outfits and Kevlar vests, dove out of the three Ford Explorers and converged on the hotel. Ten FBI agents dashed into the hotel lobby. Five other operatives ran down the ramp yelling at the valet driver to stop. They grabbed the valet driver from the van, got him out of the car and searched the van. There was nothing inside the van. One of the agents confirmed with the valet that only one man had gotten out of the car.

The agents in the lobby found no one matching the driver’s description.

“Sir, he is not in the lobby.”

“Lock down that whole hotel! No one gets in or out!”

The FBI agent asked the hotel agent at the front counter where the exits were for the hotel. The agent explained where all the emergency doors were, and said you could also leave by the doors downstairs. The FBI agent dashed down the stairs into another smaller lobby on the Parking Level. A glass revolving door led out to a circular driveway and a line of cabs.

“Sir, there is another driveway down here on the parking level so he might have gotten out in a cab. My men have all the other exits secured and we will do a room by room search in case he is still here. Do we have a physical description for this guy at all?”

“Unfortunately, no.”

“OK, we will look for the baseball cap, jeans, and white t-shirt. That doesn’t exactly narrow it down. Boss, didn’t you say this guy had a hostage?”

“Yes, we thought so.”

“Well, only one guy got out of the car. And nobody is in the van. So where did the hostage go?”

Jensen thought about that. They had watched him the entire time from the café, under the overpass, onto Highway 95, onto the ext ramp, through the streets of Charleston, and then here to the hotel. Where could he have dumped the hostage?

“Christine, pull up the satellite images again from the beginning of the abduction.”

Jensen looked at the tape. When the van got to the overpass, Jensen ordered her to run the tape slowly.

“Look at that right there,” said Jensen.

“What am I looking at?” asked Christine.

“Look over the left wheel, do you see the dirt?”

“OK, so there’s some dirt.”

Jensen instructed her to close in on a shot of the van taken after it left from underneath the overpass.

“Zoom in right near the tire.”

“There’s no dirt.”

“There is no dirt,” concluded Jensen. “They switched vans under the underpass. And that means that the van had to either leave the underpass later, or it went into a truck.”

Jensen looked at the tape, and sure enough, a large tractor trailer pulled under the overpass ten seconds or so before the van did, and then, perhaps a little bit longer than it should have, pulled out from underneath the overpass on the opposite side.

“He is in the truck,” Jensen concluded.

Jensen ordered Christine to pull the DMV information for the truck from the license plate number obtained by satellite. It was registered to Fleet Trucking. Calls to the company revealed that the driver in charge of that particular truck was Antonio Sanchez.

“I need everything we have got on this guy immediately.”

Christine looked at the Detective.

“Why would bad guys go to such trouble to kidnap this professor, unless he knew something they didn’t want him to tell? What if all this mumbo jumbo about the Nostradamus prophecy is true? What if they really are going to attack the Superdome on Sunday, and Morse knows about it? These guys know Morse was picked up by the FBI. Wouldn’t they kidnap him to find out what he has told us?”

“I see your point. But a prophecy from the sixteenth century? Come on!”

“I have this cousin, and her husband died. And she couldn’t find her life insurance policy anywhere, and she and her kids had no food, no money, nothing. She went to this séance where this guy said he could talk to the dead, and the guy told her where the policy was kept in the house. Weird things can happen.”

“Christine, in an investigation, you have to investigate facts. You can’t go off and say the Boogeyman did it. I am not aware of any scientific basis for a claim that someone can predict events hundreds of years in the future. If we have free will, and we do, we can decide to do any particular thing on any particular day. There is no way someone could predict that.”

“Well, these scrolls seem to have accurately predicted the Cincinnati Massacre, and the scroll even said the killer would be found in a fortress. The Alamo is definitely a fortress. Then it said that they will hide a bomb in a statute. We know that occurred. And it said the Great Lady will be late, which she was. And then it said that the legislators would quickly vote in replacements. Well that certainly happened with Matt Suba. Oh, and by the way, in case you had not noticed, the name ‘SUBA’ backwards is ‘ABUS.’ ‘M. ABUS’ is ‘MABUS.’ And I could believe he was the spawn of the Devil because all Republicans, in my opinion, are the spawn of Satan. Why couldn’t the Superdome thing be true? And if it is true, then this guy with the truck and his pals are planning on a mass murder of thousands of people by air and land at the Superdome.”

Jensen shook his head. “I suppose it is theoretically possible. I think it is more likely Morse is somehow connected with these terrorists.” Christine punched some buttons on her keyboard. The satellite photos tracking the truck had just started to load. They watched the progress of the truck for several hours. In Alabama, the truck went into a dead zone where there were no satellite images. They could try and track every truck coming out of the dead zone but that would take a considerable amount of time. They were stymied for right now.

Hours later, his field detectives called from the Marriott Hotel in Charleston. There were a lot of names on the list, but they were not able to find anyone matching the van driver’s description. They had also traced the cabs leaving the hotel from the lower level at about the same time the driver entered the lobby. There were four such cabs, and all four had gone to the Charleston Airport. They made lists of every passenger on every commercial airliner leaving Charleston that day. They would find the driver eventually. But would it be in time to stop the attack?

 

Later in the afternoon, Detective Jensen spoke on the telephone with President Scall at the White House. Jensen said there was a credible threat that terrorists would attack the Superdome, and he urged her not to attend. Jensen explained all the facts that he had so far, although he was a bit nervous telling the President about the sixteenth century prophecy.

“Let me get this straight, Detective,” said the President, who was holding in her hand five field box tickets at the fifty yard-line for the game in New Orleans. “You are telling me that Nostradamus has predicted I will be attacked at the Superdome?”

Matt Suba was with her in the Oval Office and laughed when he heard the description, rolling his eyes.

“Well, not exactly, Madame President. All I am saying is that this gentleman John Morse, who is a respected professor, no criminal record, warned the police before the bombing at St. Anthony’s that there was a bomb in one of the statues in the church set to explode. It was too late to stop the bombing, but his warning was accurate and precise. This scroll that he had with him also predicted that you would be late for the event, and you were. I do not know how he could have known that. Morse also claims—and you can laugh at his sources all you want—but he claims that there is going to be an attack by land and air on the Superdome—and shortly after telling us that, he is kidnapped in a very intricately designed kidnapping plot. We have not yet located the kidnappers who took him, although we are getting close. This football game is tomorrow. If it were me, I would play it safe and stay home, Madame President.”

“Did you ever think this Morse might be a partner with these terrorists, Detective?” asked Suba.

“Of course we did, and that still is a possibility. If he was a partner with them, though, why would he warn us of the church bombing?”

“Maybe he got cold feet right before the attack,” said the President.

“That is certainly a possibility.”

“Maybe he staged this to look like a kidnapping, when in fact, his friends were the ones who took him?” asked Suba.

“That is also possible, although our agents said the abduction did not look fake at all. Plus, the kids were not taken. I doubt any father would leave his fifteen and fourteen year-old alone in a strange city to fend for themselves. In any event, he was right about his last warning. I would just not be able to sleep at night if I did not inform you of his next prediction.”

Suba laughed. “Thank you for the head’s up, Detective. But I think the President will wait until you get us something a little bit more solid than the ravings of a college professor and predictions from 500 years ago.”

“Very well, Madame President. Thank you for your time.”

Jensen felt hot under the collar and stupid. His credibility was hanging by a thread. He needed something solid. He went back into the control room and pushed his people to dig for more.

 

Morse woke up inside the van, his head throbbing. They must have knocked him out with a punch to the face. It was hard to focus in the dark with his head hurting so badly. He looked around. They were clearly moving, but something did not feel right. The van seemed like it was stationary. When his eyes became focused in the darkness he figured it out. He was inside the van, but the van was inside the back of a large eighteen wheel truck. He looked around quickly inside the van for his kids. Where were they? Now, he remembered. When they took him, they had left the children.

His mouth was covered in duct tape. His hands were tied behind his back with a clear plastic zip tie and his ankles were bound together with rope. He needed something sharp. He thought of everything he was wearing. Nothing was really sharp. Well, there was one thing. His shirt collar strips. He was wearing an Oxford business shirt. Instead of buttons at the collar, the shirt had small metal strips that inserted in his collar to keep it straight and firm. Perhaps if he could get those strips out, they would be sharp enough to cut the plastic. But hard as he tried, he could not think of a way with his hands bound to unfasten the strips from his collar.

He racked his brain, which hurt. “Think,” he told himself. He sat in the darkness of the van for another half hour until he got it. The cigarette lighter. If he couldn’t cut the plastic, maybe he could melt it. H scooted on his rear into the front seat and, with his hands towards the steering console, reached for the cigarette lighter and pressed it in. After a few minutes he felt his way for the lighter and removed it. It was hot. He carefully placed the hot cigarette lighter against the plastic.

“Ow!” he said. Doing it this way would also burn his wrist, but there was no other way. He kept doing this, burning the plastic, and then removing it seconds later. After a few minutes, he could feel some give in the plastic. It was weakening. He put the lighter back in and re-charged it. When it was hot again, he kept burning his way through. Eventually, the plastic gave way and his hands were free. He used his free hands to untie the ropes around his feet.

He searched in his pocket for his cell phone to call his kids. His phone, his keys, his ID, his money—everything was gone. He tried to open the doors of the van but they wouldn’t budge. He wondered how they locked the doors from the outside. He tried to smash through the window of the van with his hand several times but he wasn’t strong enough. He needed something hard and heavy. The tire jack, that should work. He climbed his way into the back of the car and tried to open the plastic panel holding the spare and the jack, but he could not find where it opened. Perhaps the user’s manual would say where the jack was located.

He climbed into the front seat and opened the glove compartment. Inside the glove compartment was a user’s manual for the Chevy conversion van. When he took out the user’s manual, a folded, two-page piece of paper fell out. Morse inspected the paper. It was directions to a street address in Miami, Florida. 14780 Hibernia Lane, Miami Florida. The “FROM” address was Miami Dade International Airport. Morse pocketed the two-page paper and then looked up the location of the tire jack. There was a black knob he had missed which he needed to turn to take the panel off. Morse jumped back into the rear of the van and found the knob and the plastic panel came off.

He unscrewed the nut on the threaded post holding in the tire jack. He took it out and felt it in his hand. It seemed sturdy enough. He slammed the tire jack with full force into the side window and it cracked. After two more smashes, the glass shattered into thousands of pieces. He climbed out the window of the van and stood on the floor of the truck. He looked at the outside of the van. Some type of metal device was wedged into the doors, holding them shut from the outside. He looked around. The kidnappers had not heard him yet. He went to the front of the truck and listened. He was hoping he could hear where the kidnappers were taking him, but he could hear nothing but the sound of wheels hitting pavement. He walked to the back of the truck, hoping to try and pry loose the back latch, but he could not get it to open. It was locked from the outside.

Then he looked back to the van. If he could get the van to drive out the back he could smash the doors open. The van wheels were resting inside wedges cut into a raised wooden platform. He would need to lift up the van off the platform. The jack could work again for him.

Morse first put the gear shift into Neutral. Then he took all three parts of the jack and assembled them together. Acting just as if he were changing a spare tire, Morse jacked up the rear of the van. After a few minutes, he had the back of the van lifted up. Now he needed something to plug the wedge holes with. He looked around. Near the back of the truck saw two long and wide metal boards which had obviously been used as a ramp to drive the van into the truck. Morse took the first metal board and laid it sideways across the wooden platform so that the metal covered the two rear holes in the wooden platform. Then he let the jack down. When the van came down, the back tires rested on the metal board, not inside the holes of the wooden platform. Morse then went to the front end of the van and used the jack to raise the front tires. When the van was raised again from the front, he took the second metal board and laid it across the holes in the front and gently lowered the car on the jack. When the front wheels touched, the van started to slowly roll back and forth. Suddenly, the van started to roll very slowly backward on the platform. When it got to the back of the wooden platform, the back tires came down on the floor of the truck with a thud and the van stayed there, half on and half off the platform. Morse quickly jumped to the top of the platform and put all his weight into pushing the front of the van off the platform. Nothing happened at first, but then the truck accelerated, and the van came rolling off the platform, where, at very low speed it contacted the rear door of the truck. “Perfect!” though Morse.

Then Morse took the wooden platform where the van had been resting, and the two metal boards and pushed them all the way on their side at the very edge of the side of the truck. This way the van would have a clear path to roll backwards and forwards unimpeded inside the truck. Now all he would have to do is wait for one good stop for the van to go crashing into the front of the truck, and one good acceleration to send the van hurtling to the back of the truck. Morse dove back in through the window of the van and buckled himself into the middle seat. He chose the middle seat because he figured that if the van made it out on to the highway, he would probably get creamed by an oncoming vehicle driving behind the truck. The middle was the safest place in the car. He waited. After about three minutes, the truck driver suddenly put on the brakes, and the van went rolling towards the front of the truck, smashing into the front wall.

 

One minute earlier, Antonio Sanchez, one of the three sons of Osama Bin Laden tasked to blow up the Superdome, drove his large truck past Highway Exit 9. He had made it all the way to Alabama, and no one had stopped his truck. Allah be praised. Things were going well. Surely, if Ammar or the American told the authorities anything, he would be caught by now. He had not heard any noise from the back of the truck so he assumed the American was still sleeping. Just then, a woman suddenly cut in front of him. He slammed on his brakes. These American women did not know how to drive. As soon as he hit the brakes, he heard a huge crash from behind him. What could that be? He saw another exit 2/10 of a mile to the right. He needed to get off the highway immediately and figure out what Morse had done back there. He hit the accelerator, heading for the exit.

 

As soon as he hit the accelerator on the truck, the van went hurtling to the back of the truck where it smashed through the door and went flying out onto the highway. Cars slammed on their brakes and swerved out of the way to avoid the oncoming van. The van fishtailed when it hit the highway. Morse looked out the front window as scores of cars came at him at high speed, honking, swerving and skidding. The van quickly decelerated. Morse was slowly heading the wrong way down the highway. Morse unbuckled and dove into the driver’s seat where he was able to slowly steer the van, rolling in neutral, onto the shoulder. He dove out of the window of the van and ran down the shoulder, waving his arms for help.

 

Sanchez looked out his rear window and saw what had happened. This was not good. He wanted to pull over and go kill Morse, but he couldn’t risk it. Police would be swarming here in a minute. He had to get off the highway and get a new truck. He saw that this exit, Exit 10, had a truck stop. He swerved toward the exit and got to the ramp just in time. He pulled around a grove of trees into the truck lot. There were dozens of tractor trailers parked on the lot. Across the lot was a small diner. He parked his truck. He quickly duct taped the back doors so they would not arouse suspicion and headed toward the diner. When he went through the door, he pulled up a chair next to a Hispanic man.

“Crazy out there today, isn’t it?” Sanchez asked.

“You’re tellin’ me. I have been driving for sixteen hours straight, I’m over my hours, but my boss says I will be fired if I don’t get to New Orleans by tonight.” He pulled out his Hours of Service Logs. “They don’t call these ‘funny papers’ for nothing.’ I guess I will say I drove for eight hours today, that sound about right?”

“Sanchez laughed. Sounds right to me. Hey, listen, I have one load of apples, it weighs practically nothing, and I have to get to New Orleans tonight, but if I stop here, I can see my kids tonight. My bitch of an ex-wife hardly ever lets me see them. If I paid you $50, do you think you could take ‘em for me?”

The other driver considered. “Let me see how big the load is.” As they walked out of the diner, Sanchez said, “Antonio Sanchez. What’s your name?”

“Manny Davis. That’s my truck over there.” He pointed to a large green truck that said “BFS.”

When they got out to Sanchez’s truck, Manny saw the duct tape and said, “Hey, what happened to your truck?”

Sanchez pulled out a gun with a silencer. “Give me your keys.”

Davis has a second of panic on his face. “Hey, mister, I don’t mean any trouble, you can have the truck, just let me go, I have three kids.” He handed Sanchez the keys to his truck.

“They will miss you.” Sanchez shot Davis in the head. Moments later, Sanchez pulled the green truck onto the interstate heading south towards New Orleans. The whole pit stop had only taken three or four minutes. There were no police yet. That was good.

 

Morse was able to flag down a man in a blue pickup. “You OK, mister?”

“I am in terrible danger! Can you take me to the next exit?”

“Sure,” said the man. “Hop in.” Morse jumped in the front seat, his eyes darting around to see if the gunman was coming after him.

“I was kidnapped and I escaped. I need to call the police. Can I borrow your cell phone?”

“Sure, no problem.” The man handed him his phone.

“What highway are we on? Where are we?”

“You are on Highway 59, five miles south of Montgomery, Alabama.”

Morse dialed 911. “Yes, my name is John Morse. I am on Highway 59 five miles south of Montgomery. I was kidnapped in Washington DC in a black van and the black van was put inside the belly of a tractor trailer. One minute ago I just escaped by ramming the black van out through the doors of the tractor trailer and onto the highway. If you come to the scene out here, you should find the black van. A nice driver on the road driving a blue pickup, license number….” Morse looked at the driver.

“EBT-657” said the man.

“EBT-657 just picked me up and is taking me to the next exit. I request police assistance at Exit…uh, let’s see, where are we? Exit 11, I think. Also, Detective Jenson at the Secret Service needs to be aware of this. I have a lead for him to follow that is a matter of national security involving a potential terrorist attack. Can you call him?”

“Sure, where is your kidnapper now and what does he look like?”

“Hispanic or Arab is all I can tell you. Medium build, that’s all I know. I only got a quick look at him. I don’t know where he is, I think he kept driving.”

“OK, Mr. Morse, when you get off at Exit 10 there is a McDonalds right there. Just stay in the McDonald’s and we will come and get you. What is this terrorist plot you are referring to?”

“I will tell the Secret Service Detective all that.”

“Is the plot here in Montgomery, sir?”

“No, I do not believe so.”
“OK, will be right over to get you.”

“Great, thank you.” Morse hung up and turned to the driver. “Can I make one more call to my kids?”

“Sure, no problem. Hey, I hope you are OK.”

Morse dialed Zach’s cell phone. He answered on the third ring.

“Zach?”

“DAD! Where are you? Are you OK?”

“Yes, Zach, I escaped. I am OK. I am in Montgomery, Alabama. Where are you and Zoey?”

“We are in the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Washington DC hanging around the lobby. We did not know where to go.”

“Thank God you are OK. Did any one follow you?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“OK, here is what you need to do. I do not have any credit cards on me, so you are going to have to call Grandma. You have her number, don’t you?”

“Yes.”

“OK, tell her what’s happened, and Grandma can call the hotel and get you a room with her credit card. Then tell Grandma to fly to Washington, DC as soon as she can and get you two. I will be home as soon as I can.”

“Why don’t you come home now?”

“I will. I just need to meet with the FBI and Secret Service and warn them about this attack on the Superdome. I have a lead for them to follow. It’s an address in Miami. Then I will be home.”

“Dad, don’t try to be a hero, just come home.”
“I will, very soon. It’s all going to be OK.”

Zoey grabbed the phone. “Hey, Dad.”

“Hi Zoey!”

“I have the bag with the Nostradamus stuff.”

“You do? Oh, Zoey, you are wonderful! Here is what you need to do. Go to the hotel clerk and tell them you need to keep the bag in the hotel safe. They will give you a key. Then you can give me the key later. I don’t want you to have to worry about that bag on the flight home. It has caused us enough trouble already.”

“Hey Dad? Did they hurt you?” asked Zoey.

“Not at all, Zoey. I am fit as a fiddle.”

“OK, good. Be careful Dad. We love you.”

“I love you, too.”

The man in the blue pickup dropped Morse off at the McDonald’s where he waited for the police to arrive.

Antonio Sanchez was driving out of the truck stop onto the highway when he saw the truck had a police scanner. Hmm, he thought. That is helpful. He turned on the police scanner and started monitoring the emergency band. The Dispatcher was talking about the black van on the highway.

“Also, Unit 12, can you pick up the kidnap victim, Mr. Morse, at the McDonald’s on Exit 11 and take him to the station. He says he has an important lead for the FBI on a major terrorist plot.”

Sanchez sighed. He could not let Morse give them whatever lead they were talking about. Exit 11 was just ahead. If he got there quickly….

Sanchez pulled the green truck off Exit 11. Just past the McDonald’s was a Shell Station with a big parking lot. That would have to do. He pulled the green truck into the back of the parking lot, hopped out and ran back to the street. He ran as quickly as he could back toward the ramp coming from the highway and waited for the first police car to come. About a minute later, a lone police car, Unit 12 of the Montgomery Police Department, came down the ramp from the highway and turned right, heading towards the McDonalds. Sanchez ran into the street waving his arms, his gun tucked into the back of his pants.

“Officer! Officer! Help!” The police car pulled over. There was only one officer in the car. That was good.

The officer rolled down his window and leaned over. “Are you John Morse?”

Sanchez leaned in the window and pulled out his gun with the silencer. Before the officer could react, he shot him in the face. Then he ran to the driver’s side of the police car. Shoving the officer over into the driver’s seat, he got in the police car and turned on the lights. He took the officer’s hat and glasses and put them on. Then he quickly pulled into the McDonald’s parking lot, where he saw Morse waiting. He rolled down the window half way.

“You John Morse?”

“Yes,” said Morse. “Thank God you’re here.”

“Get in the back,” said the officer.

Morse got in the back of the car. There were no interior locks and no way to open the police car from the inside. There was a mesh screen between the officer’s compartment and the back seat.

“Are you with the Montgomery P.D.?” asked Morse.

It was then that Morse noticed the slumped officer in the passenger seat with the blood stained head.

“NO! Help!” He tried to open the doors but was unsuccessful. “Help! Let me out!” he yelled, banging the windows.

Sanchez pulled out of the McDonald’s lot and quickly made his way back to the highway, where he headed south to New Orleans, with Morse still screaming from the back seat. Twenty miles down the road, Sanchez found a rest stop on the side of the highway. He pulled off and drove over to the edge of the lot, near a clump of bushes. He quickly undressed the police officer, who was about his own size. He changed in the car, swapping his outfit for the police officer’s. He put his jeans and shirt on the officer’s body. Then he walked around to the passenger’s side and opened the door. He dragged the officer’s body out and dumped it in the bushes, out of sight. Then he got back in the car and headed back onto the highway. Just then there was an announcement over the police radio.

“Unit 12. What’s your status? Did you find the kidnap victim?”
Sanchez picked up the radio.

“That’s affirmative. En route to the station with the victim. 12 out.”

“10-4.”

The Montgomery Police Department would not realize for another 45 minutes that Unit 12 had been taken. By that time, the police car had pulled off the interstate and was taking the back roads into New Orleans.

The body of the dead trucker, Manny Davis, was found at about 6 p.m. by a trucker pulling into a spot near the place where Manny had been killed.

Later that night, at 10 p.m., two local teenagers who used the rest stop on Highway 59 as a lover’s lane found the police officer’s dead body in the bushes. By midnight, there was a nationwide manhunt for the killer/kidnapper Antonio Sanchez. No one knew he was actually one of the young sons of Osama Bin Laden.