“Rollins,” Benson says without hesitation once she’s debriefed her detectives on the situation. “I need you and Carisi to head down to Georgia to work with the Glynn County Police and the FBI immediately. Find her.”
Melody Sachrine, a woman accused of child abuse in Manhattan had absconded with her daughter upon her release from jail on bail pending her hearing. The horrors she had inflicted upon her daughter were shocking even to the seasoned SVU detectives. They needed to find Jill, and keep her safe from her mother. There had been a confirmed sighting of her along I-17 near Brunswick down in Georgia less than an hour ago. And she owned multiple properties on the Golden Isles of Georgia’s Southern coast. They knew she was down there.
“Copy that,” Rollins says. She and Carisi head out to the airport together.
“My aunt’s dyin,” Carisi says as they sit together on the plane. They couldn’t get aisles across at the very last minute – they had been lucky just to get two seats together. So Carisi, ever the gentleman, had taken the middle seat and given Rollins the window seat.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” she says.
“Yeah, my uncle, he’s real torn up about it.”
They sit there in melancholy silence for a bit, Carisi looking uncomfortable as hell, and not just from having taken the smaller seat. Finally, Rollins breaks it.
“You want to talk about it?”
“No, not really. It’s just been on my mind, you know. How sad he is. How sad that would be. To lose someone slowly like that.”
“I know,” she says and touches his hand softly. “But he’ll get through it.”
“Will he?” Carisi asks as he turns toward her with the most haunted look in his eyes.
It had been a long day on the ground with the Glynn County Police and the FBI, but no luck, only speculation as to where Melody had taken her daughter, where she was hiding her. She had properties on Jekyll Island, St. Simon’s Island, Little St. Simon’s Island, even Sea Island. It went on and on. Some were single family homes and easy to search, while many were vacation rentals with multiple units. Even though the Golden Isles were sleepy, there were so many places to check and things were so spread out that it was a logistical nightmare. And it didn’t help that Melody was from a prominent local family so that many residents who may have known something about the woman’s whereabouts felt it best to withhold information from the authorities.
Many hours after dusk the Glynn County Sheriff takes Rollins and Carisi aside.
“You two should get some shuteye. We’ve got some fresh officers over from FLETC to relieve some of us tonight. Nice to have a Federal Law Enforcement Training Center so handy,” the sheriff muses. “Don’t worry, they’ll wake you soon as they find anything.”
“Thank you,” Rollins says and she and Carisi get into their rental car and head back to Brunswick.
“Would be nicer to stay on this Island,” Carisi muses, staring out into the dark, remembering the lush vegetation he had seen on their drive out here to Jekyll earlier that evening.
“Yeah, good luck finding any place cheap around here.” Rollins says sarcastically, knowing there isn't any. The whole island is practically one big resort.
“I have an idea,” he says. “Pull over.”
He takes out his phone, does a search, dials a number. “Yeah, can I speak to someone in reservations, please?”
“Uh, Carisi, who are you calling? We already have reservations for tonight . . .” Amanda says quietly as he waits on hold.
“No we don’t.”
“I forgot to get that all set up like Benson asked me to,” he says nonchalantly and shrugs. “Besides, this place I just called looks nice.”
“The Jekyll Island Club.”
“The big white Victorian resort?”
“Carisi, hang up. We’ll never get that approved. It’s too expen–“
And before she can finish he’s off hold and sweet talking the woman on the other end of the line, managing to get a whopping last minute rate of 40% off for two rooms. Rollins just looks at him and shakes her head. “I don’t know how you do it.”
“’Don’t you know you attract more flies with honey, sugar?’” he says with the worst imitation of a Southern accent she’s heard in a long time.
She grumbles and shakes her head, pulling back out onto the road, this time heading to the Jekyll Island Club.
“I thought you’d know that, being from the South and all,” he continues.
She just rolls her eyes.
The accommodations are really nice. Small, not overly modern, and quite charming. Snuggled under a quilted coverlet, Amanda drifts off easily.
In another wing of the hotel, Carisi takes some time settling into his room, checking out all the amenities the hotel has to offer - ones they aren’t going have time to use. He also checks out the soaps and lotions in their little souvenir bottles, a picture of the Jekyll Island Club embossed on each and every one of them; reads about the hotel’s status as a Historic Hotel of America; checks out what’s going to be served in the Grand Dining Room the next day; and finally turns on the TV. He falls asleep watching a documentary about how Yellow Fever had periodically ravaged the Golden Isles back in the antebellum era.