"I'm glad we finally get to go home, I'm exhausted." Nick Stokes said to Sara Sidle as they sat on the benches in the locker room.
"Me too, that was a tough case, and having to work an extra six hours didn't help any." Sara replied.
"Alright, see you tomorrow Nick, I'm getting out of here." Sara said as she stood up to leave.
"Alright Sara, see you tomorrow." Nick said as he put a couple more things in his locker and then he too stood up.
They were just about to walk out of the locker room when Russell walked in with his field kit and folder in his hands.
"Sorry guys, no one is going home, we just got a call, a missing child. It's all hands on deck, and I mean everyone, days, swing, grave, no exceptions. Follow me, the three of us can drive up together, I'll fill you in on the details as we drive."
"What are you still doing here?" Nick asked Russell as the three of them walked to the Denali after Nick and Sara had grabbed their kits.
"I got called in, I got here just a few minutes before I found you two." He answered.
"Ok so what do we got?" Sara asked once they had reached the car as she hopped in the back seat while Russell got into the drivers seat and Nick in the passenger seat.
"Jasmine Andrews, two years old, has gone missing from the Sunset Campground. Her parents say that they were barbecuing hot dogs and took their eyes off of her for a split second and she was gone, here is a picture of her." Russell said as he handed Nick the folder and then he started the Denali.
Nick took one look at the precious child and he felt ill. She had pretty, long, blonde hair and bright blue eyes, although she physically did not look like his own daughter, also named Jasmine, the sweet mischievous grin on her face reminded him a lot of his little girl. Also this child and his own daughter were the same age. His heart went out to her parents, he couldn't imagine, nor did he even want to imagine his own sweet, innocent child missing.
"Nick, are you going to be able to handle this? If not you can sit this one out." Russell offered, after seeing the distressed look in Nick's eyes.
"Huh? No, I'll be fine, I have to help find her." Nick said, looking and sounding determined.
He passed the folder to Sara in the back seat.
When the three of them arrived at Sunset Campground it was already a madhouse. A ton of law enforcement officers as well as what looked to be fellow campers had come to help find the missing toddler. Russell parked the car and then the three CSI'S found Jim Brass.
"What can you tell us Jim?" Russell asked.
"I interviewed the parents again, they stuck to their story, they sounded genuinely distraught but I've learned that some people are good actors so who knows if that's the truth. Catherine, Greg, and Morgan are already out looking for the child. There is a command post over there, go ask them where you should start searching."
Russell thanked Brass and then he, Nick, and Sara went over to the command post. They were directed which way to start searching and then they immediately set off. Nick wasn't real familiar with the area but what he did know about it was that it had a lot of animal activity, and it got really cold at night, especially this time of year, so time was of the essence, if Jasmine wasn't found soon this case could have a tragic outcome, if it didn't already.
When Russell, Sara and Nick, came around the big tree Nick was distraught because there was a stream. Nick thought about how much his own daughter loved to swim, he guessed that most children that young enjoyed it, he hoped that the little girl did not decide to go for a swim by herself, if she did, he shuttered to think what probably happened.
They searched the stream, and to their relief they didn't find the child's body floating in it. They continued searching the couple mile radius the command center had told them too and found no sign of anything at all pertaining to the missing little girl. They all grew frustrated, Nick in particular, he just kept thinking about his daughter Jasmine, he also thought about the anguish the missing little girl's parents were going through and he wanted nothing more then to find her and return her safely to them. They continued walking along, searching intently for any piece of evidence that would lead them to the little girl.
"Guys look." Sara said as she pointed a little ways down from where they were standing.
Sara had spotted a child's headband, although they had no proof that it belonged to the missing girl, they were pretty sure it had too, if not it was a huge coincidence, and CSI'S did not believe in coincidences. Nick picked up the headband, it was a small one, his daughter had one very similar. She loved to wear it, she'd make him or his wife put it on her and then she would prance around the house.
The headband gave the CSI'S new hope, they now began to search with a new vigor. They came to a big tree and when they went around it Nick saw something and Russell and Sara saw it seconds after Nick had.
"No, no, no." Nick said as he took off in a sprint, with his two colleagues right behind him.
There, lying by another tree about fifty yards away was a child, she wasn't moving. Nick reached the child quickly and then immediately got down on his knees, he felt for a pulse and to his relief the child opened her eyes just a silver.
"Hi dada." She said with a little sleepy grin.
"Hi sweetie." Nick cooed softly.
The child then opened her eyes all the way. She had a shocked and frightened look on her face when she realized that this man was not her daddy at all.
"It's alright, I'm gonna bring you to your daddy, and mommy." Nick said as he carefully picked her up with his gloved hands.
Other then being a little dirty the little girl looked to be fine, that is until Nick looked at the knee of her pants, a little blood had seeped through her pants.
"Did you get an owie?" Nick asked as he gently touched the top of her leg, he was careful not to get anywhere near the actual blood so he wouldn't hurt her.
"Owie." She said.
"You got an owie, what happened?" Nick asked softly, he was almost afraid to hear the answer.
"I fall down." The little girl said with a sheepish and adorable grin.
The same grin that had reminded Nick of his own little girl the second Russell had showed him her picture. Jasmine then wrapped her arms sweetly around Nick's neck as if he was her favorite uncle instead of a complete stranger. Nick smiled at her and Sara and Russell smiled at one another, this was one sweet sight to see.
Nick had always been good with children but since his own little girl had been born he took his love for children to a whole new level. Nick radioed for 911 and then he carried the child to the command post, it would be much easier for the ambulance to get to the child that way because the terrain wasn't as rough there. Sara and Russell stayed back where Jasmine had been found to look for evidence, and contain the scene, just in case there was a more sinister explanation of why the child had gone missing.
Nick rode with Jasmine to the hospital and her ecstatic and very relieved parents met them there.
The doctors determined that other then being a little dehydrated and the scraped knee she had sustained she was just fine.
"I can't thank you and all your colleagues enough." Jasmine's mother said as she wrapped her arms around Nick.
Nick smiled at her "We were just doing our jobs, and seeing Jasmine back safe with her parents is all the thanks we need." He assured her.
Nick then called Catherine to tell her to come and pick him up. After she had, Nick called Russell and asked if he and Catherine should go back to the scene to help out, but Russell said they weren't needed so Catherine drove Nick back to the lab so he could get his truck and go home.
On the way home Nick was all smiles, it was so nice to such a great ending to what could have been a horrific case. Nick had learned long ago that good outcomes with his job were few and far between so he savored the cases that did turn out better then anyone could have hoped for. When he walked into his house his little girl came running up to him.
"Hi dada." She said as she impatiently extended her arms out to him so he would pick her up.
"Hi kiddo." He said as he picked her up, put her on his shoulders, and then walked into the kitchen.
"Hi Nicky, did you ever find that poor little girl?" his wife Jackie asked as she sat at the kitchen table feeding their baby boy a bottle.
"Yeah, and she's just fine" Nick said as a huge grin spread across his face.
"That's wonderful." Jackie exclaimed happily.
She got so excited that she accidently jerked the bottle right out of the baby's mouth. The baby gave her an annoyed look.
"Oops sorry Sweetie." She said as she immediately stuck the bottle back in his mouth.
"How did you hear about the case?" Nick asked.
"I heard it on the news." Jackie replied.
Nick nodded in understanding. A few hours later Nick called Russell to ask how the investigation was going. Russell told him that the day shift had taken over, but he had just gotten word that the investigation had been completed. The day shift had determined that the little girl had simply wandered off, no foul play had been involved. For Nick, hearing that there was an innocent explanation of why the child had gone missing was the cherry on top of the sundae, he couldn't have been happier or more relieved. He spent the rest of the day with his family as they all enjoyed a quiet night at home, and when it was time for Nick to go back to work that evening he was still invigorated about finding the little girl alive, he left his house for the lab with a bounce in his step.