Private investigators work many types of missing person’s cases including: kidnappings, runaways, fugitives, and more. Sometimes people want a loved one found, a brother, friend, or child. Other times, people need to track someone down for payments or a debt owed. No matter the case, hiring a private investigator is often the best bet when it comes to locating a missing person, especially if that person doesn't want to be found.
When a person goes missing, most people's first thought is to contact the police. While this is indeed a good first measure, there are some things that make it more difficult for law enforcement to find a person than a private investigator.
First, a person must be missing for 24 hours in most cases before a police report can be filed. Even then, so many people are reported missing each year (according to the FBI, National Crime Information Center (NCIC), on average, more than 800,000 people) it's difficult for law enforcement to devote much of their resources.
Private Investigators, on the other hand, can fully devote their time to specific investigations. There is no statute of limitations on finding a missing person for private investigators. They are often hired to help find missing persons for so-called “cold cases” because their hands are not tied by politics, bureaucracy and budgets. Similarly, unlike law enforcement, private investigators can travel across state borders, or across the country, to follow a lead that turns up without worrying about jurisdictions.
When trying to locate a person, things like Facebook, Google, Ancestry, LinkedIn, etc. are good tools to start. However, while you as an individual can use the Internet to search public records, investigators have access to research mechanisms and contacts that the public does not have access to. Additionally, investigators use their years of experience to search in real time without relying on dated and possibly inaccurate information. It is also important to note, nothing can take the place of good old fashion investigative techniques and pounding the pavement. Private investigators generally work independently and are able to make quick decisions on leads, often making decisions necessary for an individual case that are outside the capabilities of law enforcement. These decisions include tracking a potential suspect without requiring a warrant, questioning witnesses and interviewing suspects.
Private investigators can conduct background checks, searches for court and other records, search financial records, investigate work and employment information. The ability to identify coworkers, business associates, and friends can lead to helpful information, and conducting surveillance is key to finding people who might not want to be found.
The following are investigative activities licensed private investigators may assist with:
- Identify and document circumstances of the missing person’s disappearance
- Investigate potential crime scene and video / photograph documentation
- Interview potential witnesses and suspects
- Develop lists of potential associates
- Communicate with law enforcement details of the case that can assist in making a missing person report or assist an existing police investigation
- Systematically canvas area, question local community members, businesses, etc.
- Identify additional resources
- Provide guidance
A missing person’s investigation is a thorough examination of circumstances involving a missing person’s disappearance and every stone must be turned when time is of the essence. To get more information on how we can help with your case, read more Here.