She displayed a handicapped tag prominently, locked her car and checked with a police officer who happened to be parked right behind her. He assured her the spot was legal. Clinton put her credit cards, cash and makeup in a pocketbook and left it in the trunk, carrying a small purse into the dinner. It was 5:30 p.m.
When she emerged from the dinner at 11:30 p.m., her black 1994 Lexus was gone.
The police officer who responded to Clinton's distressed call told her that the Secret Service had done what many Washingtonians have grown begrudgingly used to:
They ordered numerous cars removed from the area as a security precaution because President Obama was speaking at the dinner.
It should have been simple for Clinton to find her car - police told her that relocated vehicles are typically towed to different spots within a few blocks - but this time police had not kept track of where they had moved it. The Lexus was lost.
District police searched for the car for two hours Saturday night, circling the neighborhood again and again. Clinton, who is a travel consultant, and Gardine Tiggle, the friend who invited her to the dinner, waited at the spot immediately outside the convention center where Clinton had parked the Lexus. Clinton has the handicapped tag because her husband suffered a stroke.
By 1:30 a.m., police had searched a one-mile radius of the convention center and found not a trace of the car.
Embarrassed about the missing vehicle, an officer called area hotels and helped Clinton find a room for the night. On Sunday morning, police resumed the search. Still nothing.