A year later, it remains one of the oddest criminal cases in recent years in Harford County. On July 24, 2012, Vi Ripken, mother of baseball living legend Cal Ripken Jr., and first lady of the Ripken baseball family, went missing from her modest home in Aberdeen.
Just about 24 hours later, a neighbor noticed her waving a white sweater out of her car window. It turned out she had been abducted at gunpoint, bound and confined to the back seat of her own car, and driven to locations in the greater Baltimore area before being returned home.
In the aftermath, the Aberdeen Police Department, which took the lead on the investigation, released photographs of the abductor and a suspect vehicle taken by security cameras, as well as a sketch based presumably on Mrs. Ripken's description and the security photos.
In the immediate aftermath of the crime, it seemed like an arrest was but days, if not hours, away.
Interviewed by Baltimore Sun reporter Yvonne Wenger as the anniversary of the crime approached, Mrs. Ripken said: "Whatever was on this person's mind, I can just be thankful I wasn't hurt ... The why and everything else maybe will come one day."
Or maybe it won't. Some crimes just go unsolved.
Meanwhile Mrs. Ripken has, according to Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce President Steve Johnson, gone back to her usual routine and "still gets out and walks around."
A rule of thumb that applies to many crimes is that if they aren't solved in relatively short order, they're never solved. While it appears that's the direction this case is headed, anyone who has any recollection of seeing something askew on July 24, 2012 that might relate to the kidnapping is asked to call police investigators at 410-265-8080.
Maybe the result will be learning the "why and everything else" of a particularly bizarre, and chilling, crime.