Doting Romani parents allow their fourth-grader to walk to school by himself for the first time. They're nervous about it, but their son says he's ready. At school, Nico's picked on for being Romani. Students call him a fortune-teller and spit on him. Later, he leaves school and accidentally drops one of his mittens on the street.
Amaro and Benson learn that Nico's been kidnapped. He was last seen after school outside of Caswell Academy. Amaro and Benson talk to Nico's parents who describe an over-achieving, well-adjusted kid who didn't have many friends because of his Romani heritage. Rollins and Fin talk to Nico's teacher and schoolmates. It's clear Nico's a teacher's favorite, but the other students pick on him. They even make fun of Nico's mother, a fortune-teller.
Fin and Rollins question Al, a man who got into an altercation with Nico's father, Tomas, only months before. Al won't talk. Detective Dumas enters and asks Al if Nico's disappearance has to do with the Rom-Baro, a high-ranking Romani man who believes in grudges and vigilante justice. Al won't say a word. Later, Benson and Amaro ask Nico's parents about the Rom-Baro. Nico's mother bursts into tears, and Tomas finally spills the beans: he hadn't been paying his tithes, and perhaps the Rom-Baro reacted by kidnapping Nico. Tomas says he only stopped paying up because Nico's private school is so expensive.
Fin and Rollins ask the Rom-Baro about Nico's disappearance. The Rom-Baro says that Nico's parents are outcasts, so they can't expect protection or concern from the Romani community. He says he didn't kidnap Nico, but he's not entirely convincing. Later, Nico's parents share some good news with the SVU team: they think Nico's still alive. They've been calling his cell, and although his inbox used to say "mailbox full," now it's accepting new messages. Perhaps Nico has been listening to - and deleting - the messages. Maybe he's still alive!The SVU team learns that someone is calling Nico's phone and checking and deleting messages via the internet. The IP address leads the team to the wrong home; they find a man and his son in their apartment. The boy is not Nico. Later, the team learns that the man was Mr.
Griscomb, a reporter for the Ledger. He's investigating Nico's case too and only hacked into Nico's voicemail to try to find clues. Griscomb says that only Nico's parents had left messages on Nico's phone. He also hacked into some other phones and says that a woman called the Rom-Baro upset; she claimed the other Romani people thought her son Mark abducted Nico. Benson tells Nico's parents that a reporter hacked into Nico's phone, so the deleted messages don't necessarily mean that Nico's still alive. Later Amaro and Nico ask two neighborhood kids - Courtney and Emma - about Mark. They say he's a creepy guy who lived in his mother's basement until the day before. They capture Mark in the park and bring him in for questioning.
Amaro and Rollins interrogate Mark. He's clearly mentally-challenged, and he's terrified of his controlling mother. He's about to confess to something when his lawyer - the Rom-Baro - barges in and halts the questioning. He leaves with Mark. Later, Rollins and Amaro speak to Courtney and Emma who claim they saw Mark holding Nico's rabbit's foot the night Nico went missing. Rollins and Amaro use this information to get a warrant. They enter Mark's mother's house and find Mark living in the basement. Under his mattress, they find Nico's rabbit's foot. Later that night, the team gets word that Nico was found dead in Manhattan. Tests show Nico died the night he went missing. He has cigarette burns all over his body. He was tortured to death and strangled with his scarf. Later, Nico's parents identify the body. They're obviously overcome with grief, but that sadness turns to rage. They want to know why Mark hasn't been thrown in jail yet. Trouble is, Mark's DNA wasn't on those cigarettes. Later, Nico's mother, Nadja, takes matters into her own hands when she tries to set Mark on fire. When Benson talks to Nadja she says of Mark: "He tried to burn my son."
The SVU team tries to figure out how Nadja knew that Nico's body had been burned with cigarette butts. Rollins has a theory: perhaps Courtney and Emma told her! After all, they seem to know quite a bit about the case and about the prime suspect, Mark. Surveillance footage shows the girls following Nico just before he went missing. Under questioning, Courtney and Emma's story doesn't add up. Emma finally admits that she watched as Courtney killed Nico for being a "dumb gypsy" whom nobody would miss. When Rollins and Amaro question Mark, he admits that the girls came to him the night of Nico's disappearance. They even planted Nico's rabbit foot.