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 middle 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.
Caitlin was settled into her little campsite in the greenbelt behind my house and we’d managed to hide the key fob, thank god. We’d also insisted that Caitlin keep her journal with her, even though the poor woman wasn’t happy with that idea. Nicole pointed out tiredly that a lot had happened and now she and I were in danger because of helping Caitlin. Neither of us had read the journal yet and weren’t even sure if we could publish it. Plus, we both thought it would do Caitlin a world of good to continue writing, that maybe it would keep her calm. I worried we were in over our heads but promised to bring more food and supplies the next morning.
At home that evening, I had to face Lola. I’d left her on top of the fridge, out of reach of my very curious Catahoula dog, Puppa, and was dreading the task of moving her from the travel cage into the brass one. When I’d transferred her earlier in the day, it had been a shit show with the bird squawking and flapping her wings and biting me. This time it was easier to grab her from the small cage, but she managed to escape my grip and flew into the living room! Fuck! It took me over an hour to catch her and when I finally did, the bitch took a slice out of my hand, this time drawing blood.
It was close to midnight when I got in bed. I was bone-tired and my body hit the sheets heavily. I was just about to drift off when I saw a shadow slink past my bedroom window, heading into the backyard. WTF?! Puppa saw it, too, and went berserk, leaping from the bed and skidding across the wood floor, her nails that needed to be trimmed clicking wildly. She ran through the dining room and barreled through the dog door. I was right behind her, pausing only to grab a butcher knife off the kitchen counter.
I was terrified that whoever was back there might hurt Puppa. The dog was barking viciously, but when I reached the glass-paned back door, I saw that she had control of the situation. The trespasser was standing on top of a garden bench that sits right in front of my back fence, frantically trying to free herself from Puppa, who held the cuff of her jeans tightly in her mouth and was attempting to yank her down. I could tell it was a woman based on her short, stout figure and the outline of breasts, but it was too dark to see her facial features. I flipped on the yard light, and that must have given the trespasser an adrenaline boost, because she managed to kick Puppa away and hurl herself clumsily over the fence. I stood at the back door in shock while Puppa paced up and down the fence line growling.
Once I’d gotten Puppa back inside, I turned on the burglar alarm and climbed back in bed, leaving the lights on and the knife within reach on my night table. At some point I fell asleep and had a nightmare about a faceless person with a raspy voice who kept saying “Dr. Wang” over and over again. My eyes flew open — I knew that voice! It belonged to the same person who’d called me the day before claiming to be Caitlin’s friend. It was V! And I realized, with horror, why I had recognized her voice on the phone. It was the voice of our anonymous tipster who’d given us the one clue we needed to find Caitlin when we’d first begun our search for her back in April.
I yanked my phone off the charger next to me and punched in Caitlin’s number. “Pick up, pick up!” I shouted uselessly into the phone, but it just rang in my ear. I feared the worst. V had dropped from my fence into the greenbelt a couple of hours before, and from my backyard it was a mere seven-minute walk to where Caitlin was hiding in the tent.
We are 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.