When we left off last, Professor Veronica Weathers had received a frantic voicemail message from one of her students, Staci Fowler. Staci had been on the trail of some sort of expose when she and several of her friends disappeared. The message made it sound like Staci was being hunted by someone in a town called Garretsburg.
We pick up with Veronica driving in her car. She has her video camera going on her dashboard. She explains that she tried calling the police to let them know what she had heard. Unfortunately, that turned out to be a dead end. The police contacted their counterparts in Garretsburg and were told that everything was fine. Without further evidence, they couldn’t do anything.
So now, Veronica took it upon herself to dig up that evidence. She’s heading to Garretsburg with a camera of her own to see what she can find. Maybe she’ll be able to find something that will get the police to act.
Next we see small snippets of her arrival in Garretsburg. It’s a small town, a population of about 4,000. There are deep woods outside the town, a brick church near the downtown, a few pleasant parks. There’s only one motel to speak of. Veronica goes there first. While filming, she goes to the front desk with a picture of Staci. She asks the attendant if Staci stayed at the motel. The clerk barely glances at the picture but informs Veronica that no one has stayed at the motel recently. Veronica presses the clerk, but she insists that Veronica leave.
Veronica does, but she goes around to the back of the motel and finds a dumpster. She sets the camera aside and sifts through some of the trash. She quickly finds what she’s looking for, namely a bag with a tag that has Staci’s name on it. The contents of the bag are missing.
Vernoica sets out with her camera into Garretsburg. She shows Staci’s picture to some folks in the local diner and asks if they’ve seen Staci or her friends. Everyone claims to have not seen them, but there’s an underlying tension to the townsfolk. It’s clear that they don’t appreciate this outsider asking questions. When Veronica goes out to a local park to ask some of the mothers gathered at the playground, she spots the sheriff’s car parked a block away and it’s clear that she’s being watched.
Most of the mothers at the playground ignore her, but one little boy seems ready to help. He claims to have seen Staci and her friends and says that they got themselves into trouble. When Veronica asks where they went, the boy claims to not know but says that if she goes out of town and finds the “bad place,” she might find what she’s looking for. One of the mom’s shouts and the boy runs away, along with the rest of the kids.
Veronica gets in her car and drives to the edge of town in the direction the boy pointed. She finds a dense woods and goes in, wondering aloud how she’s going to find this “bad place.” But then, she spots something in the underbrush. She brushes away some dirt and dead leaves and discovers it’s a camera bag. The tag marks it as belonging to Leon Johnson, one of the missing college students. She opens it and discovers that the videocamera is in there, along with a portable hard drive. She pulls it out of the ground and gets back in her car. She drops the camera on the dash, revealing that the sheriff is right behind her. She throws her car into drive and roars away. The sheriff follows her for a while until she manages to lose him on the freeway. She wonders what she’ll find when she gets the camera back to her office.
So what will she find? Come back next Friday to see what Leon’s camera reveals.