The truck driven by Amber Hagerman's abductor was seen outside a laundromat near the Winn-Dixie plaza before the girl was snatched.
Police theorized it was an impetuous crime of opportunity since Amber had no established pattern of riding her bicycle there at that time of day.
The man likely watched Amber and Ricky ride into the parking lot together. He pounced on the girl just moments after her brother left to ride back to his grandparents' home.
Eyewitness Kevil said he watched the man drive west out of the parking lot and disappear.
The abduction was front-page news in Texas. Police were hopeful that other witnesses would step forwardperhaps someone who had seen the feisty girl struggling with her abductor as he tried to drive.
Police and the FBI formed a special task force to investigate, and the girl's smiling image became omnipresent in the Dallas Metroplex.
Coincidentally, a local TV station had been working on a story about Donna Hagerman's struggle to get off welfare, and the station released videotape of the girl to other media outlets.
Her image became so widely known during the investigation that the local police chief would later call Amber "Arlington's child."
But the investigation would have no happy ending.
No additional witnesses were found, and the pleas of Amber's loved ones went unheeded.
Four days after the abduction, a man walking his dog spotted Amber's naked body in a creek bed near an apartment complex in north Arlington. The girl's throat had been slit.