November 26th, 2017

  • spantoo

Hiding a girl inside car's under-floor storage bin

Hi all. First thing first, I'm new not only to Little Details, but to LJ, and I'm not the brightest when it comes to learning how to post in sites I don't know and the such; so, I'm sorry in advance for any mistake. Also, English is not my first language (in case you couldn't tell already).

When and where: October 2014, Louisiana (USA)

What: Some villains in my story kidnap a little girl. They have a car and they planned everything in advance, though they have to rush the actual execution. I'm not going into too much detail: just know that people will assume the girl died in a huge fire and trying to discover she's not would take some time, allowing the kidnappers to leave undisturbed. There is still some possibility that they will be pulled over by the police at some point (the fire looks like a terrorist attack, so they could stop cars in search of suspects); so, they need to hide the girl somewhere safer and less obvious than inside the trunk.
I need the girl to stay alive and mostly unharmed (they travel on a highway for most of the time and never exceed speed limits, so it's not going to be a bumpy ride). She's unable to free herself.

Who: - the villains are a team of four, so I don't need a third row of seats (see below); they can pass for an American happy little family;
- the kidnapped girl is 12 y.o., 146 cm (57.5 inches or about 4’9’’ I suppose... I'm crap at conversions) and extremely skinny (definitely underweight).

Keep in mind that I'm mostly ignorant about cars. I'm not set on a specific car model, but I have already opted for a not-too-conspicuous minivan or crossover SUV. Trying to find a practical and believable solution, I learned that some minivans have spacious "hidden" under-floor storage bays behind the third row. I searched for various 2013-2014 models having this specific feature, and I found some promising ones, like the Dodge Journey, the Nissan Pathfinder, the Kia Sorento... My problem is that it's hard to tell the size of such under-floor storage bins from pics, and I can't find any actual data about it. It's already hard enough to find the width of the cargo area, since manufacturers and reviewers alike seem prone to giving only the volume (cubic feet). My bigger concern is depth, though I think that some use that space for the spare wheel...
Villains could slightly modify the under-floor storage space to make it fit better their needs, though they can't greatly improve its size (for obvious reasons).

So, what I'm asking is:
- do you think it's doable? and believable enough?
- can you suggest me any car model(s) that would work best in my scenario?
- do you think that, in the remote case that police would pull them over, they would search that storage bin? (Police would not be looking for a missing girl, anyways.)
- can you offer any alternative solution? I'm totally open to different ideas.

Research: I tried googling different combinations of words like "2014" "minivan" "under-floor storage [bin]" "size" and, after a bit, added model names once I found the ones that looked the most useful to me. I even checked some of the user manuals... but I found them confusing, so I may have missed something.
I can't directly experiment (and doing it would be way too creepy...)

Writing this post took forever... Thank you in advance!