Josette, a pretty, vivacious, and personable twelve-year-old, is angry with her mother over a delay in driving her to a girlfriend's house. When her mother returns home from work, Josette is not there or at her girlfriend's house. Friends, neighbors, and family members mount a diligent search and talk to people who might have seen her, but they learn very little. Nobody knows anything about what happened to Josette--or so it seems. Police learn that Josette's dislike of her mother's boyfriend caused family tension, and her estranged father lived thousands of miles away. Josette had told her closest friend she wanted to run away. A retired teacher swears she sees Josette in a mall department store. Police are sympathetic, but their investigation is limited: They see Josette as just another runaway youngster. Finally, a shocking discovery demands that police reexamine their theories of Josette's disappearance. As the truth slowly unfolds, the tragedy deepens.