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cademia023

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Emails by reddit u/JohnnyHotshot

Ask anyone who works with law enforcement and they'll be able to tell you that one case that stands out over all the others. Maybe they had to resort to something they never thought they would do, maybe they have doubts about how it turned out, or maybe the case was just never solved at all.

After 38 years in the special crimes unit, I know what case mine is. The case number was 89-1-00316-5, and don't ask me how long it took before I knew the number by heart. Nineteen kids who all went missing over the course of two years. The public was scared, and for good reason. I can still remember some of the news reports about keeping yourself and your children safe at night.

The worst part about this case, the part that has burned it into my memory, were the emails. About a week after the first kidnapping, the police station received a strange email from a throwaway email address. There was no subject or text, just a single video file. The poor secretary who first saw it gave a bloodcurdling scream, the kind that shakes you deep down in your core. It was the missing child, bloody and tortured. Once the video had been sent to my department for analysis, we were able to determine that the child was still alive, but not much else. The video of the room was too dark and poor quality to distinguish the location and the sick bastard who was recording never spoke or showed their face.

This became the trademark of this case, each kidnapping would be followed by an email from a new throwaway address containing a video of the victim. Sometimes you could see a child from a previous video, meaning the kids were not being killed. I wouldn't be too happy, because from what we could tell by the videos, death might have been a release from the fresh hell they were trapped in.

Nineteen videos of tortured kids later, the department finally had enough evidence to make an arrest. An old loner named Paul Schneider was the guy we took in. Despite the poor quality, frames from the videos were be matched up fairly well to areas in his basement. Tools that the forensics team said could be used to inflict the wounds on the children in the video were also found, and Paul had no alibi as he lived alone with no job or family to occupy him. He was sentenced to life in prison, and once he got locked away the kidnappings ended and the emails stopped. They never found the bodies though, and he denies it to this day.

I bring up Case 89-1-00316-5 today, long after my retirement, because today I received a new email. It had attached an image of nineteen dirty, bloody, and weak looking men and women were chained up in a dingy concrete room with a message scrawled in red on the floor.

"Wrong man"
 

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