When a local girl named Katie is kidnapped in the Potomac Mills mall only weeks after another child is kidnapped and murdered in a similar kidnapping, the BAU moves in. The mall is locked down while the FBI searches the stores, but it's a painstaking process. The parents are hysterical, while the girl's cousin, Jeremy, has a panic attack as he tries to remember the last time he saw Katie.
A search dog locates a 24 karat gold necklace that was ripped from Katie's neck in the trash, which leads Hotch to reassess the situation. He now believes that the kidnapping a personal act of rage, and he sends the team to search the family home. Morgan identifies signs that point to Katie being molested, so Hotch separates Katie's cousin Jeremy and Uncle Richard to question them. While Reid grills Jeremy, who clearly knows something, Hotch pulls the truth out of Richard. He's been molesting the girl, but swears he wouldn't kill her. Prentiss realizes that Richard and his wife, Susan, are separated. Susan is the one who wanted to kill Katie in the hopes that her absence would cure her husband of his sickness. She finally confesses where she's hidden the girl, deep in the basement of the mall. Though Katie has no pulse when they find her, the medical team is able to revive her with Hotch's help. As Katie is taken to the hospital with her parents surrounding her, Jeremy alone must deal with the aftereffects of both his parents' misdeeds.