The ‘rose murder’ was now ‘murders’ and the case was linked to now five other killings across the United States. The FBI was getting involved with news of two similar homicides in Japan. Hank attended endless meetings analyzing evidence, hearing lectures from criminal psychologists about the driving forces of the criminal psyche. The leading theory was that a network of vigilantes, probably men; the boyfriends, fathers and brothers of sexual victims were the assailants; probably conservatives in favor of the death sentence.
Because the crime scenes were so similar and spread out across the nation the internet was dredged for chat rooms or forums that might be used to share information about the killings. But something so apparent was not what they should have been looking for. Hank had come across a website while doing some web research of his own. He was still technically on the case but aside from attending briefings and being CC’d on emails his time was being relegated back to his usual city detective work.
The detective couldn’t remember what he’d typed into the search engine but an accumulation of the psychobabble and his conversations with Nadine had somehow led to the world of Lolita’s. A fashion movement originating in Japan in which primarily girls and women dressed in elaborate outfits glorifying the Rococo and Victorian era as well as working to make themselves look as juvenile as possible. Hank couldn’t convince himself that the style was unattractive. There was an allure to the innocent little girl look. Part of his attraction to Nadine was youthful appearance and her seemingly innocent helplessness that encouraged her to rely on him.
The Lolita community was almost entirely made up of young girls and there was a plethora of internet forums, fashion blogs and even a few magazines dedicated to it. It became an obsession masked as a hobby for Hank off the clock. He lurked the forums and communities, looking for anything that would materialize the link he knew existed between the girls that felt compelled to dress like children and those that preyed on juveniles.