Elle heard the sounds of a car outside and turned to look through the picture window. A white van pulled up and parked on the street in front of the house. The logo for WEAU television was printed on the side of the vehicle.
A woman stepped down from the passenger side of the van at the same time a man descended from behind the steering wheel. He walked around to the cargo door and retrieved a video camera.
Elle glanced around and spotted the envelope from the photographer on the counter. She took it and ran out the front door.
She pulled out a picture of JJ and held it out in front of her as she headed toward the lady reporter. The woman motioned for the man with the camera to start filming. He pointed the lens directly at Elle.
“This is my brother, JJ.” Elle’s voice was loud and clear as she reached the curb. She held up one of the pictures and drew in a deep breath. Her heart was pounding.
“Someone took him at the Dunn County Fair this morning, and we want him back. He’s a good little boy, and we love him so much. If anyone has seen him, please, please, call the Menomonie Police Department.”
“What’s your name?” the lady newscaster asked.
“My name is Elle Burton, and this is a picture of my brother, JJ.” Elle held the photo up higher for the camera.
“We need all of you to help. Someone must have seen something. Please bring my brother home safe. My daddy died last year in Afghanistan, and my mommy can’t lose her baby too! Oh, please help us!”
“Your father was a soldier?” the newscaster asked.
“He was a hero. He saved a lot of people’s lives. I know he’d help if it was one of your kids who got kidnapped. He always told me that no matter what happened, it was our duty to help other people. I lost my dad because he was in Afghanistan trying to help make a better world for all the little kids over there. How can anyone not help when kids are in danger? Please, help us now.”
Elle looked up at the newscaster. “I guess I don’t have anything else to say.” Without hesitation, she turned and ran back up the walkway to the house. She burst through the door and dropped the pictures back on the coffee table.
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