Ten year old Cate Hale is abducted from her rural Alabama home while her sleeping mother and stepfather are killed, their throats slashed. Although the BAU realize that time is of the essence since most abducted children do not survive past the first 24 hours, Cate is later released, physically unharmed. The BAU believe her release was due to the fact that she has epilepsy, which the unsub did not know of prior to her abduction. Cate recounts that her abductors were a family: a mother, father and son around her age. From Cate's stories of the abduction and later evidence found, the BAU piece together that the abduction and murders have a ritualistic nature to them. During the investigation, a second young girl in the area is abducted, her parents also killed in a similar manner. It isn't until Garcia does a search of past similar cases - abducted young girls with their parents killed - that the BAU begins to understand the full nature of this case and the rituals involved, in addition to who the mother abductor potentially could be.