One day Mackenzie takes a walk in the woods to see the beauties of nature. While she is resting by Haven Lake, a man kidnaps her and takes her to a warehouse in downtown Detroit. The police come multiple times but the kidnappers have the right weaponary to fight them back. Will the police come back again and successfully help Mackenzie and many of her friends escape?
Tracked and Taken- Chapter 1
Tracked and Taken
It was a warm October day, and I wanted to see the beauties of fall. “Bye, Mackenzie. Call me when you’re done,” my mom cheerfully said to me as I stepped out of her car, though she didn’t know it would be the last she saw of me for many, many months.
“Bye mom. Love you!” I closed the car door and started walking into the woods on the mowed trail. Another car pulled up when I got there; I thought it was just a person coming to see nature. I kept walking. The trail was covered with the looming shadows of trees and their decorated yellow, orange, and red leaves.
I walked until I got to the part of the trail that overlooked Haven Lake. I sat down on one of the benches to rest for a while. I heard some noises coming from the woods and concluded that it was the other person or animals running around. I walked onto the lake’s dock and put my feet in. The water was cold but felt good after a long walk on a warm day. I heard the crunch of leaves on the ground come closer to me. It was definitely the person that got out of the car.
I turned around and saw a tall skinny man walking toward the benches. He kept walking to the dock and stood close to me. My mother always said I was a nice young lady that loved to express her feelings and always tried to make new friends. It showed at this point when I talked to the man. “Hello, how are you?” I asked politely.
“Doing wonderful. How about you?”
“Good. Let me guess, you came to enjoy the nature in the fall?”
“Of course. It’s so beautiful at this time of the year. What is your name?” the man asked.
“Mackenzie. And yours?”
The man responded fiercely, “My name doesn’t matter. What matters is that you know you’re coming with me!” He started to pat me down. I was freaking out. I, of course, had no idea this would happen. He tapped my pockets and found my phone. He threw it in the woods.
He lifted me up and started running toward the parking lot. I was screaming and yelling, doing whatever it would take to make him leave. I was doing like my mom had told me to in this type of situation. I was hollering, kicking, punching. He wouldn’t let go of me. We got to the parking lot and he shoved me in the back of his van. It was setup like a police car. It had a strong piece of glass between the front and back seat. I tried to unlock the van and open the door, but I had forgotten about child safety locks.
He backed out of his parking spot at a rapid speed. I was so scared. There was nothing I could do. I was trapped. I was numb with fear. I had been tracked and taken.
He kept driving into downtown Detroit. It was about 6:45 p.m. and starting to get dark. My mom might have been wondering where I was and would probably go to the trail thinking I didn’t have cell connection. She would try to call my phone again and would hear a faint sound. She would walk toward it, afraid, and find a phone without Mackenzie. She was an intelligent person. I knew she would figure it out, especially after she saw the tire marks from the car fleeing from the crime scene.
Buildings flashed by on either side of me as we entered the city. I had given up fighting and escaping long ago. There was no hope for me unless the police found us.
My kidnapper pulled into a dark alleyway with a door at the other end. It was so much like the movies; I thought for a second that I was just watching one, not living one. He slammed on the brakes, and I almost got whiplash.
“Get out of the car, now!” he said it so hungrily, so violently, I figured I better cooperate or there would be major consequences.
I got out of the car silently without disobedience. He yanked my shirt and dragged me into the warehouse. It was dark and gloomy; it was exactly like the movies. He flipped the light on and I saw a group of other girls tied up, just awakened from their sleep. There were 14 girls. Now 15. They looked healthy, almost as if this kidnapper treated them well; that was a plus. He tied me up and walked into another room.
I heard the man talking to another person. I wasn’t sure who it was or what he was doing here. The girls started asking me questions about how I got there. They told me most of them had been here for two years. And it was almost three. That scared me; a serial kidnapper. Twelve girls stolen within 3 years. I would never get out of there.
Informed- Chapter 2
Suddenly the man walked out of his office with that friend of his. “I am Shawn. Most of you girls have heard this speech many times, but this is for our new girl Mackenzie that I kidnapped from the woods today. This is my computer specialist assistant, Brandon,” the main kidnapper stated. “You will be here for a very long time. Most of these girls have been here nearly three years. My others are in a different room waiting to be-”
I gasped at that last statement. “You have more? Why do you do this to all of these innocent girls?”
“Who said that?” Shawn said. Nobody answered. “Mackenzie?” he inquired.
I sighed in my head. He figured it out. Shawn replied, “This is my life. You had your hobbies, I have mine.” Then he and Brandon walked back into their office. He was going to kidnap more innocent girls. And maybe boys. I was sure he was on the list of Detroit’s most wanted. He was a serial kidnapper. The cops knew who he was, but didn’t know what he did or how he did it. That was the problem. I started to ask questions about the girls in the other room. “How many are there?”
“At least seventeen,” Lisa said. Lisa was the first one to be kidnapped in our group. She said they were all girls and he hadn’t kidnapped boys. That she knew of.
It quieted down in our room so I tried to listen to Shawn and Brandon talking. I didn’t hear much but I heard bits and pieces. Boys, kidnap, Jacob, Aaron, another warehouse, Friday night, football game. I put all of the words together. He was going to kidnap a group of boys, put them in another warehouse that he most likely shared with two people named Jacob and Aaron. He was going to kidnap them at the football game on Friday night that my high school varsity football team, Blaken Northenwood, played our rival Unity Christian. The boys would have no idea. They would be running around playing football behind the bleachers. Then, silently and stealthily, like a ninja, Shawn would come up behind them and take them away into a warehouse.
“We need to come up with a plan, fast,” I whispered hurriedly. “To get out!”
“What are we supposed to do? We tried for nearly three years. We’re never getting out!” Lisa shouted angrily. Then the door opened.
“You’re not getting out!” Shawn yelled back. “We won’t allow it! Never in a million years.” Brandon ran out of the office.
“Hurry! Run, hide the girls! The cops are coming! I hooked up to the systems and-,” He brought the radio out with him and they said it again, ”224 squad to warehouse 2479 South Emery Road. Serial kidnapper, Shawn Joelz. Guessing thirteen to sixteen girls in one room. Fifteen to eighteen in another.” I only listened. I didn’t try to remember everything. I was excited and scared at the same time.
Shawn grabbed Lisa first, who was kicking, shoving, and screaming at him. He hefted her into a van. One by one, he loaded the others into the van, but when it was my turn, I kicked him right in his soft spot. Brandon rushed to his side when he collapsed to the floor in agony; Brandon got the same result. I ran as fast as I could to the van and got in the driver’s seat.
Captured Again- Chapter 3
The bad news: I didn’t know how to drive. The car was already started, so I didn’t have to worry about that. I had a basic idea of driving from watching TV, but I’d never seen anyone drive while tied up. Luckily, Lisa sat behind me and shouted what to do as she knew how to drive. Her dad had taught her, she said. But then Shawn came and murdered him right in front of her eyes and took her away. So Shawn was a serial kidnapper and had killed who knows how many people?
I was pretty sure I was driving on the wrong side of the road. Eventually a police car started following us, sirens blaring. I attempted to pull over, but the police rammed into my bumper, sending us rolling into a ditch. My head slammed into the steering wheel, then the ceiling, then into Lisa’s head.
I don’t remember what happened after that. The next thing I knew, I was in a dark, unfamiliar warehouse, my head pounding.
“Psst! Mackenzie! Are you awake yet?” I heard Lisa’s voice in a hushed whisper next to me.
“Uh...I–sorta,” I replied in a dazed manner. I was confused and disoriented. How did I get there? Who brought me here? What did they want with me? I thought.
“Shawn and Brandon caught up with us in that stolen police car just to make you pull over. They brought us back here and tied us to chairs so now we can’t escape, or, at least, not without a lot of loud scraping and obvious attempts.”
“This is lovely. Just great. What are they going to do with us now? Are they still going to kidnap the boys?” I asked.
“I don’t know about us, but as far as I know, they’re still going to kidnap those boys.”
“We need to find a way to stop them,” I continued to say. “Maybe slowly make our way to where they’re plotting and find out what their plans are?” I mentally planned it first and it would work. Just as long as they didn’t catch us moving around or open the door while we were listening.
We started to move our chairs to the office slowly and quietly. “Lisa, you go first,” I said quietly. She gave me the okay sign and then she started to intrude on their conversation. I did the same, slowly, quietly, carefully. We both stopped about ten feet away from the office because we didn’t want to look like we were interrupting or trying to escape. Even though we were doing exactly that. Right after we got set by the door, it opened. “Hide the girls,” Brandon said loudly, “They’re coming! The squad and backup said they were only three minutes out! Leave the girls. We run!”
I actually felt somewhat relieved when they opened the door to the warehouse to see them leave us behind. “Oh gosh! The cops are gonna find us!” The whole warehouse erupted in noise after we heard the van zoom away. After we quieted down we heard some people talking very softly. I couldn’t make out their words. All at once the door to the warehouse came crashing down on the floor. The cops came in and first asked if anybody was hurt. “No,” Lisa answered, “But the guys left. There are two of them named Shawn Joelz and Brandon. We don’t know Brandon’s last name. I don’t know where it is, but they said they were going to the boys’ warehouse to take them away.”
“Thank you very much. The ambulances are on their way just in case. The fire department will be here shortly to unlock all of you.” They went in and searched the office. They found loads of. . . nothing. Shawn and Brandon had taken everything with them. They must have taken their weapons, if any (there had to be at least a few), and plans and files on Brandon’s laptop, with them.
The fire department showed up a few minutes later, and I don’t see why the police couldn’t just untie us when they got there. It seriously took three minutes for all of us to get untied.
The police were getting ready to take us back to the station when one of them collapsed. The remaining police formed a protective circle around the other girls and me. One by one they fell. It was disturbing, just standing here watching them possibly die. I stood there in shock, frozen, thinking that I should either run or check to see if they were still alive. But if they were alive, and if my prediction about who was shooting was correct, then they would die if I went over there. I would also end up like them if I ran from here.
“Mackenzie, they’re just tranquilizer darts. They’ll be fine. This has happened many times before,” Lisa whispered almost inaudibly.
“Are you sure?” I questioned, uncertain. The officers looked like they were barely breathing.
Shawn and Brandon jumped down from the twenty-foot ceiling very gracefully. I was impressed; I wouldn’t ever be able to do that without screaming and/or breaking a bone. Apparently they had done this many times before because no one else seemed awestruck.
“If any of you move, you will get shot with one,” Shawn threatened.
“And if you fight us, you will get shot with one,” Brandon added.
“Yes, sir,” said one of the girls quietly.
“Shut up, I don’t need a response,” growled Shawn.
The cops were still down on the ground. Shawn talked to us about what would happen next time and the cameras that they would be installing. Brandon would be able to watch the cameras anytime he wanted to. We would never get out.
As he was talking Lisa sighed and then spoke, “I hate you!” She yelled it really loud. As she said it she started to get up and run away. Before she got out the door, Shawn shot at her with the dart gun. She must have forgotten. She was passed out on the floor and would be for another hour or so because Shawn shot two darts. As he was talking about what would happen if we tried to help Lisa and/or try to escape when they are not looking something came to me. The camera would not be there until next week. Today was Tuesday and I heard Brandon talking about the cameras getting here next Wednesday. Brandon and Shawn finally walked back into their office and closed the door. Quietly I heard Brandon say, ”We are screwed,” That was it.
Then I heard Shawn yell loudly, “We’re gonna steal more!” Shawn and Brandon came running out of the office with a gun in their hand and handcuffs in their pants.
Kidnapped by the Police- Chapter 4
Kidnapped by the Police
They kept running out of the warehouse and I heard the lock engage on the door. The van turned on and started to zoom away. Lisa was awake by now. They were in the office for a while. I looked over at Lisa and said, “What’s the plan?” She looked over to the police officers on the floor. “Oh my gosh! They forgot about them,” Lisa told me they would wake up in about 15 minutes. Right now we gave everybody a job. Some went into the office for clues, some looked around the building for clues. Lisa and I went to the cops and grabbed their radios. We clicked the button to talk to the station. I said, “Hello. Hello. This is Mackenzie. I was kidnapped about a month ago by Shawn Joelz. Cops were sent here to get us but they got shot by tranquilizer darts. They are still down but will probably be up in 15 minutes. We need ambulance just in case and lots of quiet police backup.”
“Okay. They are on their way. Stay in the building,” The receptionist said. “If the cops wake up tell them to keep guard at the door. Stay calm. They are on their way.”
When the other cops showed up they started banging on the door. The two cops that were originally there opened the door because they said they recognized the voice. There were a bunch of police cars parked out front with a barrier on both sides blocking the entrance to the warehouse. There were also two large vans closest to the building. I was going home! I was so excited as were all of the others. The cops came in with the FBI and started in the office for clues. I was done with Shawn and Brandon. The FBI and police interviewed me and one question they asked was, “Do you happen to know the license plate number for the van they are driving?”
“No. We never got— Oh wait! When we tried to escape the first time. We got in the van and I did look. 763-DHM,” I said very excitedly.
“Got it!” The investigator said. Then he got up and walked out of the warehouse. I walked out with him like he told me to. “Check the plates on the van they have. Tell me the owner and where he lives. And hurry!” We walked back inside and told all of the other girls to go get in the vans that were in the parking lot. They grabbed their belongings, which wasn’t much, and then got in the van. The vans were bulletproof so we couldn't get shot by Shawn or Brandon.
The barriers were broken for just a second so the two vans could get out and take us to the police station. A little bit after we pulled out of the lot, about five minutes, we saw a very similar looking van zoom by. It was going the direction we just came from. “That was Shawn and Brandon!” I yelled loudly.
One of the van drivers got on the radio and said, “Hello. Hello. We just saw Shawn and Brandon in their van on the road,” He paused for a second. “They are coming to the warehouse! Load up and look out!”
That was it for us. We would get the story of it later at the police station when they get arrested and it was all over. We continued on our way to the police station. It was late afternoon, so the streets were starting to get busy. Rush hour in Detroit was really bad.
Once we got to the police station they put us in a room full of
bunk beds. They gave us fresh food and some new clothes to wear. They said they would call us out one by one to call our parents. Lisa was the first one to be called. She came back in after a few minutes and told us her mom was on her way to get her. I was next. I walked out into the hallway and down to the chief’s office. I called my parents barely able to remember their phone number. “Hello. Mom? It’s me, Mackenzie. I am at the police station. I was kidnapped in the woods that day. Can you come get me?” I wanted to sound like it was normal or something.
“Oh my goodness! You are safe. I was so worried about you. I will be there yesterday! Love you!” She hung up right away. The girls continued to call their parents. When our parents showed up we met up with them. Lisa’s mom and dad were first. When my parents showed up I ran to them and hugged them like it had been decades since I saw them. It really felt like it was that long. None of us left until everybody’s parents showed up.
We all said our goodbyes and exchanged phone numbers and addresses. I made some pretty good friends while I was in that warehouse for a month. I planned to meet up with them. We were still saying our goodbyes and the chief of police walked in. Did they fail or did they capture those evil kidnappers? I thought in my head. The FBI walked in behind them. Followed by my kidnapper Shawn dressed in the jail uniform and then Brandon right behind dressed the same.
We all started to jump up and down in excitement that they were in the place they are meant to be. In jail. In the craziness I faintly heard Lisa say, “Got ya.” Everybody finished their goodbyes and then everybody started to walk out the door to head for home. It sounded so weird to say home. Was it even a thing after that? Shawn and Brandon stood on either side of the doorway as if they had to say their goodbyes. I was right behind Lisa and she said to them, “Got ya!” I smiled as I walked past the door.
At Home Again- Chapter 5
At home Again
Once I got home I cuddled into my own bed that I hadn’t slept in for at least a month. I was watching TV. The news. The story was not on yet but I was sure it would hit international news in an hour. When the news turned on I was excited. “Good evening. This is CBS Detroit. Tonight we hear an incredible story from Midwest correspondent Chad Jones about the escape of many girls that had been kidnapped a little under three years ago. “Mom! Here it is!” I yelled. I heard the footsteps coming down the hall. Chad started to cover the story at the police station and at the warehouse. He covered what happened when Shawn and Brandon showed up at the warehouse. “Shawn Joelz and Brandon Samson were driving down South Emery Road on their way back to the warehouse and saw the big group of cops in front of the building.” The camera turned to show all of the cop cars. “They came crashing into the cop cars. Only minor injuries have been reported. More updates on this story tomorrow at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 o’clock. Thank you.”
It was so amazing to be home with my family again. All cuddled up in my bed. The love of a family makes life beautiful. “Good night Mom and Dad,” I said, “Love you.”
“Good night honey. We love you,” My mom said. My mom and dad each gave me a kiss and walked out of my room. I was back at home again with the love of family, good food and nice clothes.