For three long days, surveillance tape was an object of obsession for cops in northeastern Kansas, tirelessly analyzing every single frame.
They have good reason for such dogged determination: Authorities say inside a late-model Mazda sedan, two men committed unconscionable acts on a sheriff's deputy.
"As the sheriff you feel responsible for your employees anyway," said Johnson County, Kansas Sheriff Frank Denning. "For something like to this happen, it's very tragic to say the least."
Crime Watch Daily affiliate WDAF in Kansas City reports that 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 7, a young female deputy with only six months on the job stops at a convenience store before reporting for duty. She's still in civilian clothing.
Police say two men in a dark blue Mazda sit, wait and study their unsuspecting prey.
"Neither subject gets out of the car," said Johnson County Sheriff's Captain Brian Hill. "Nobody pumps and gas or throws anything away -- and sits there until our deputy leaves."
Police say the driver of the Mazda then made a move and followed the deputy as she left.
The young deputy pulls into the sheriff's booking facility parking lot and exits her car. But on this night, the rookie cop would never make it to roll call. The men pounce on the deputy, drag her into the Mazda and drive off, and for the next two hours, according to police, the victim is subjected to harrowing acts of sexual assault, including rape and sodomy.
Thirty miles away, the shaken victim is dumped off on a rural road.
"She was let out of the vehicle, told to keep her head covered until the vehicle could no longer be heard," said Capt. Hill.
Lost and terrified, she begins walking on an isolated path, and before long, a sign of sanctuary: the perpetrators had abandoned her near a local sheriff's station.
"She saw the lights of our parking lot and the sheriff's sign at the top of the building," said Jackson County, Missouri Sheriff Mark Sharp.
Cops are on a desperate hunt for the alleged rapists.
"She was able to obtain brief glimpses of the perpetrator and has indicated that in her opinion they were in their late teens to mid-20s."
Police make a public appeal, and thanks to a tip, nab two alleged baby-faced brutes: 21-year-old Brady Newman-Cadell and 24-year-old William Luth. Luth is married, and father of a young child. The Mazda, police say, was registered to his wife.
Both men are charged with aggravated kidnapping, rape and sodomy, and have not yet pleaded.
Crime Watch Daily affiliate WDAF reports the alleged rapists may be involved in the unsolved assault of another woman in the area. According to police, five men gang-raped her while her toddler slept nearby. Investigators say DNA links the two cases.
And now cops fear there may other victims of the alleged rapists.
"Now that these two are in custody, we can empower those individuals to come and talk to law enforcement about what happened to them," said Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe.