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Wild Flowers
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Season 13
Number 3
Writer Joe Pokaski
Director Brad Tanenbaum
Original Airdate October 17, 2012
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Previous Episode: Code Blue Plate Special
Next Episode: It Was a Very Good Year

Wild Flowers is the third episode in season thirteen of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

When a girl is shot and killed at a large rave in the desert, the CSI team has to search for clues, find her missing friend and bring the killer to justice.

Plot

Victims: Rosa Flores (deceased), Jacinta Flores (alive)

On the case: D.B. Russell, Greg Sanders, Julie Finlay, Morgan Brody, Nick Stokes, Sara Sidle, Carlos Moreno

Two young women run into the middle of a rave in the desert, but they're followed by a hooded figure who opens fire, killing one of the girls. Dirt on the girl's clothing and a lack of a bracelet point to the girl sneaking into the rave. She has bruises on her arms, indicating someone was grabbing her pretty tight. Sara believes the attack wasn't random and that the victim was targeted. Witnesses told the cops that the victim was with another girl, but she's currently nowhere to be found.

Russell locates the victim's missing shoe and finds a mushroom stuck to it. The mushroom is from the desert region, and he hopes it will help narrow down the girls' point of origin. Elsewhere, Morgan comes across a nitrous oxide tank stuck in the ground with a bullet hole in it. The bullet caused the tank to explode, but witnesses claim to have seen the tank "breathing fire." Nitrous oxide isn't flammable, but when combined with the burned lighter found on the ground nearby, Morgan guesses that someone lit up as the tank was flying through the air.

A stoner tells Sara and Det. Moreno that he heard two bangs and saw the girl get shot. He's of very little additional help, but does give his phone to Sara. In the medical tent, Morgan speaks to a surprisingly lucid medical intern named Amanda Pedroia, who says she hit the dirt when the shots were fired and didn't see anything that could help in the case.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins puts the girl's age at somewhere between 16 and 20 years old. There are signs of persistent, chronic trauma, as the girl has abrasions on her wrists and ankles that are consistent with shackles. Bed sores on her back indicate she was imprisoned for an extended period of time on a flat surface. Presented with this information, the doc comes to a conclusion - their victim was a sex slave who suffered years of neglect. The doc theorizes that the girl could have been running from her captor, which cost her her life. Assuming the missing girl is from the same circle, the team must find her in order to save her life.

In the A/V lab, Greg has compiled over 60 videos taken at the rave and is able to sync them all. He and Morgan zero in on the nitrous tank and find that Amanda was actually dealing nitrous, not "dancing her stress away." After the shots were fired, she's seen tending to the victim, which also contradicts what she told Morgan earlier.

Morgan pays Amanda a visit at the hospital. Amanda is told that distributing nitrous is a class D felony, but the focus is on finding the missing girl. She admits to helping the victim's friend, hiding her in her car where she could take care of her injuries. The girl was freaked out and wouldn't speak, so involving the police would make things worse. Amanda tells Morgan that she's been hiding the girl in the hospital basement until she's well enough to be admitted. Morgan is led to the girl and sees that she has the same abrasions the other girl had. After getting the girl to trust her, Morgan takes photographs of her injuries and takes swabs her cheek for DNA. After doing so, Morgan abruptly leaves and phones Russell. Nearly in hysterics, she tells him that the girl has been found - and that her tongue has been removed.

Doc Robbins comes to the hospital and tells Russell that the girl's tongue was removed non-surgically at least six months ago. A still-freaked Morgan adds that the girl has the same injuries as their victim, indicating they may have been held together. The girl unfortunately can't tell anyone what happened to her, but Russell says that she still has a voice.

Back at the lab, Hodges tells Nick that the mushroom found on the victim's shoe is an extremely poisonous variety found in the American Southwest and in northern Mexico. He adds that fungi absorb anything in their environment, and finds that this particular mushroom has a high concentration of tungsten. There just happens to be a tungsten mine near the area where the rave was held.

Nick and Det. Moreno go to the mine and find the mushrooms in question along with a shoe impression in the dirt nearby. The impression seems to match the size and pattern the victim of the victim's shoe. They follow the trail of shoe impressions up a hill that leads them to Highway 238, aka "Smugglers' Alley." Moreno says he's made a lot of busts on this road, and it’s easy to imagine someone using this route for human trafficking. They can smell cow manure, and Nick finds an RFID tag from a cow on the ground nearby. There’s evidence of a car accident, indicating that a car ran a cattle hauler off the road; based on paint chips, the vehicles are red and blue. Once the truck was stopped, the two girls in the back had a chance to get away.

In the hospital, Morgan gets the girl to trust her by telling her girl personal information about herself. When asked where she lives, the girl draws a picture of flowers in between bars, likely her view from where she was held captive. She confirms that the man who killed her friend inflicted these injuries on her, and Morgan vows that she'll bring the man to justice.

Morgan shows the picture to Russell, but neither one can determine what or where it's supposed to be. Nick relays what he and Moreno found, and he believes that the driver of the cattle hauler is involved in the operation, either as the trafficker (and killer) or a delivery guy. The truck was coming from Bullhead City, and Moreno gets a list of all red and blue cattle haulers that came from there in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, the murder weapon is identified as a .41 Ruger Magnum, and a list of registered owners in the area is printed. One name appears on both lists - an Oliver Ruiz from El Paso, Texas. Russell guesses Oliver is still in the area, as his job is only half-finished.

Henry discovers that the victim and the girl in the hospital are actually sisters. Based on the fact that the girl couldn't even write her own name, the team figures she was abducted at least ten years ago, before she was old enough to go to school. Sara searches the Missing Persons database and finds a possible match - sisters Jacinta and Rosa Flores went missing in Prescott, Arizona in 2001. Morgan can tell from their photos that they have the right girls. The story is that the mother left in the middle of the night with the girls and went to Mexico, but something happened along the way. There's no contact information for the father, but he's been in contact with the Prescott Police Department frequently trying to locate his girls.

Jacinta's father, Adrian, comes to the hospital upon hearing that his daughter has been found after all these years. He apologizes for not coming sooner, as he was on the job replacing an HVAC unit. Morgan and Russell prepare him for the worst, with Morgan saying that Rosa protected her younger sister until the end.

It's found the cattle hauler's shipment reached the end of the line at a feedlot in Pahrump that morning. Oliver was found sleeping in the truck's cab, and he's been arrested and brought to the station for questioning. Ammunition for a .41 Magnum was also found in the cab, but the gun is still missing. There was also something else in the truck - another girl.

Finn and Nick question the girl, showing her pictures of the Flores sisters and telling her that Oliver was going to do the same thing to her. The girl surprises the CSIs by defending Oliver, telling them that he's a good man who wouldn't hurt her. She explains that Oliver is her cousin and he was smuggling her in from Mexico in order to give her a better life. She's never seen the Flores sisters before and didn't know they were in the truck with her until the accident on the highway. The girl recalls a car forcing their truck off the road; a flashback shows the driver of the car asking Oliver where the girls were, and the sisters can be seen running away from the scene. She doesn't know if the driver of the car was chasing after the girls.

Oliver is confronted with the evidence against him and is told that he's the one going down if he doesn't start talking. He tells Nick and Moreno that after being forced off the road, a man in a hoodie ran up to him asking where the girls were. When Oliver replied that he didn't know what he was talking about, the man in the hoodie grabbed Oliver by the shirt. Oliver reached for his gun, but the man ripped it away, pointed it at him and threatened him to keep quiet. There's no secondary DNA on the shirt, but there are traces of a refrigerant used in old HVAC systems. Russell remembers that Adrian Flores works with HVAC systems and realizes that he's the girls' abuser. He quickly calls Morgan to relay the information, but he's too late - Jacinta has been discharged from the hospital and Adrian has taken her home.

Morgan berates Moreno, wondering how his people could just let Adrian walk out, no questions asked. Moreno replies that Adrian is listed as Jacinta's legal guardian, and she was released into his custody at a time when Oliver was the number one suspect. He adds that Morgan is the one who actually called Adrian and "reunited" him with his daughter. Russell forces them to stop arguing and shift their focus to locating Jacinta. Adrian was driving a blue Taurus with Arizona license plates, and an Amber Alert has been broadcast. They believe Adrian is too smart to be going home, but the only thing they have to go on is the obscure picture Jacinta drew earlier.

Oliver recognizes Adrian as the guy who took his gun and threatened him. Nick fills him in on the case and has him retrace his route from Juarez, Mexico to Pahrump. Between stops at two weigh stations, Oliver's truck gained 220 pounds, which must have been when the girls sneaked on. Oliver recalls that he also stopped in Bullhead City.

Morgan and Sara look over a map of the area, pinpointing where the rave took place, where the tungsten mine is located and where Bullhead City is. Since the girls were traveling on foot, the CSIs figure they couldn't have gone far before being chased down at the rave. This leads them to think that the girls were being held in the area of Bullhead City, but they still only have Jacinta's drawing to go off of. Morgan looks at the map and finds a wind farm. They realize that the girl wasn't drawing flowers, but, rather, turbines.

In his trailer overlooking a wind farm, Adrian has recaptured Jacinta and chained her up again. He berates her for getting her sister killed and starts to pour gasoline everywhere. As he starts to play with a lighter, he's alerted to the sound of cars pulling up outside. He steps out and finds that the cops have surrounded his hiding place. Adrian smirks and flips the lighter into the trailer, setting part of it ablaze. Morgan rushes in to save Jacinta, who motions that her father has the key. Nick unshackles Jacinta and carries her to safety, while Morgan helps put the fire out. Adrian is arrested and put in the back of the squad car.

Jacinta silently tells Morgan that Adrian killed her mother after she found out what he was doing to Rosa. Rosa was determined not to let the same thing happen to Jacinta, and she tried to get her to safety; she saved her sister's life. As tears roll down her cheeks, Jacinta grabs Morgan's hand. Her horrible ordeal is over.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Enrique Murciano as Detective Carlos Moreno
  • Victoria Moroles as Rosa Flores (victim)
  • Madalyn Horcher as Jacinta Flores
  • Michael Irby as Adrian Flores
  • Larry Hankin as Old Stoner Dude
  • Dana Davis as Amanda Pedroia/Neon Kitty
  • Jesse Garcia as Ollie Ruiz
  • Zuleyka Silver as Elena Punta
  • William Petersen as Gil Grissom (uncredited)

Notes

  • Despite being credited on this site and on IMDb, Paul Guilfoyle (Brass) does not actually appear in this episode.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 13
Karma to BurnCode Blue Plate SpecialWild FlowersIt Was a Very Good YearPlay DeadPick and RollFallen AngelsCSI on FireStrip MaulRisky Business ClassDead AirDouble FaultIn Vino VeritasExileForget Me NotLast Woman StandingDead of the ClassShelteredBackfireFearlessGhosts of the PastSkin in the Game


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