Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 16 starts off on a rather rocky note-no killings and what first appears to be a rather suspicious move by one of the future victim's relatives. Then we realize that this will become an abduction case, where everyone will seem to become a suspect.
Gabby, the four-year-old little girl had been left by her mother Kate with her sister Sue to go on a vacation. However, things turn sour as Sue drops by a convenience store and leaves Gabby in the car. In less than five minutes of buying food, she realizes that Gabby is gone.
A needle in the haystack
The BAU team is then called in to handle the case, given that the leads are far and few in between for finding Gabby. Between the possibility of her estranged father taking her and a stranger-stalker abducting her, the BAU team tries to chase all leads possible until they land on one of Gabby's father's druggie acquaintances.
Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 16 finds its climax when the BAU team suddenly discovers a disposed body that belonged to none other than Gabby's father.
More likely to be hurt by the one you love?
As the search for Gabby becomes a race against time and with the lack of a sure suspect drives the BAU team to suspect even the members of Gabby's family.
At one point, even her cousin Sue becomes a suspect after her actions become very telling of the possibility that she can be the offender. Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson) even takes one for the team to prove that Sue has hidden rage--a symptom that would hint at her criminal tendencies.
Afterwards, a switch seems to have been flipped in Sue. Family secrets start to unravel, where Sue spills the secret of her father's molestation, one which Kate denies happening.
Online baby trading
What first appeared to be a simple case of abduction had allowed the Criminal Minds BAU team to discover an online "baby trading" gig, one where Sue had participated to give Gabby away.
With the help of Garcia's (Kristin Vangsness) tech skills and Blake's (Jeanne Tripplehorn) sharp distinction of the word "lightbug" from talking to Sue, they were able to track down an underground market for adopted children in America.
The bottom line is that Gabby is not the only baby that has been adopted and "re-homed." It's an online group that poses as a solution for problem kids by offering advice--but a dark side also exists, one where anonymous strangers can pose as families in order to get access to kids.
And then we see Gabby in a car along with two more kids who are obviously not the kids of the couple driving the vehicle.
With only a dark blue van as their clue to finding Gabby, the team rush over following Garcia's intel. They were able to track Gabby's newest "mother," who is anything but the motherly figure that children are supposed to look up to.
In the end, the BAU team was successful in reuniting Gabby with her mother, and saving at least two more kids from the horrors of the underground dealings that adults force them into.
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