Editor’s note: Caitlin’s journal ended abruptly on the evening of Sunday, May 24, the night before George Floyd was murdered. Now it’s over two months later, the beginning of August, and obviously a lot of things have happened in the time that’s elapsed since we started posting Caitlin’s journal entries. It was an editorial decision on our part to let the journal run to completion before jumping in to say what had happened to Caitlin. You can start at “Caitlin’s Story Continued, 1” to catch up.
The weight of the world seemed to be sitting on my shoulders as I drove home with Lola bumping around in her travel cage in the back seat, Caitlin’s journal beside her. My across-the-street neighbor, who’d crept into the ransacked house where Caitlin had been staying with a drawn gun, SWAT style, was full of concern on the return drive. By now, he knew as much about Caitlin’s saga as I did.
“What are you going to do with that key fob, little lady?” he asked in his Texas drawl.
I looked down at the key fob, rattling next to my phone in the console’s cup holder. “I have no fucking clue, John. Apparently people have been murdered over it, so I don’t exactly want it in my house.”
Two hours earlier, Nicole and I had had a desperate conversation, regarding what to do with Caitlin. For sure she couldn’t stay at either of our houses with Covid raging — Nicole’s above sixty and I have a six-year-old son to protect. And perhaps even worse than Covid, Caitlin was in serious trouble. She was being hunted… but by whom? The Chinese government? We couldn’t be sure. The only thing we did know for certain was that the people chasing her were after her husband and his sister’s Covid vaccine research. For some reason, despite her horrible situation, Caitlin refused to let us contact the police.
Our plan for Caitlin was to set her up in a tent in the woods behind my house. The rear of my property backs up to a train track that runs along a greenbelt where there’s earth you can dig into and plenty of shade; in fact, a lot of homeless people live back there in tents. I can often smell smoke from their campfires, and sometimes I hear them playing music. As an avid camper, I have all the gear Caitlin could possibly need to be “comfortable” for a while. And she’d be close by, so I could bring her food and supplies each day. It wasn’t an ideal plan, but we didn’t have a choice. Caitlin had informed us she had no one, not a family member or even a friend, she could stay with. My client’s house had been the only choice, and now that cover was blown.
My phone rang over the car’s speakers, startling me out of my thoughts. As I clicked the button to answer, Lola screeched “HELLO!” from the back seat.
“Is this Randi?” someone said in a gruff voice.
“It is. May I ask who’s calling?”
“My name is V. You don’t actually know me, but I’m a friend of Caitlin’s and I’m very worried about her.”
The person’s voice was deep and raspy. I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman, but somehow it was oddly familiar. And I was flooded with relief. If this was a friend of Caitlin’s, she might not have to live in a tent after all! “I’m so glad you called!” I gushed. “Caitlin’s had a terrible morning and I know she’d love to hear from you.”
“Where is she now?” the caller asked. I knew I’d heard that voice before, but where?
“She’s actually waiting for me at my house,” I answered. “But, listen, she can’t stay with me because of Covid and she has nowhere to go. I was going to let her camp out behind my house, but maybe you’d be willing to let her stay with you instead?”
The call had been dropped. That happens a lot when I’m driving down that particular stretch of Highway 360. But when I grabbed the phone to call the person back, I saw the number the ‘friend’ had called from was restricted. Suddenly a rash of goosebumps broke out over my skin.
We’ll be publishing this story on Mondays and Wednesdays until it’s told in its entirety. We highly recommend starting at the beginning with our series of videos, when we first announced that Caitlin was missing til when we finally found her and met in person for the first time. If you’d like to start in the middle with her journal entries, click here.