This is a missing people investigation case story. First, all stories are true. Names and addresses may be changed. The release of these stories have been authorized by the clients. These pictures included in this story were actually captured the same day the investigation took place.
Missing People investigations can be defined many of different ways. It could be a missing child or elderly individual who went missing after a walk. It could be a biological parent that one would like to meet. It could also be an old friend or loved one that one wishes to reconnect with. No matter how you define a missing person investigation they range in level of difficulty for the investigator working on the case. I have been conducting missing people investigation now for almost 15 years. Every missing person case is different. I thought I would share a case with you.
The Missing Fugitive
I don’t enjoy getting cases right before vacation, but it seems to happen every time. This vacation was something I was really looking forward to, Christmas in Paris. A man out of Chicago called me two days before my flight and said he needs to find a lady who has committed title fraud. This lady was a character. She was able to take $150,000 from a complex title scheme that was way over my head. Thank god, my job was to find her and not do the forensic accounting. He wanted me to locate and serve her with the legal paperwork. Jobs that would normally be less than difficult but not only did he have no idea where she was but O’ the United States Marshals were looking for her also. I really should have told the guy I could not take the case, but thought to myself, you got this! Could I really locate a fugitive before the U.S. Marshals did?
This little guy was captured before I started my investigations.
This was not the regular run of a simple database search, no sir. This was going to be a tough one. I was able to gather up information that the subject may have come to California to hide out with family. I had to locate the family first. During my research, I found that the family was not like her. She was a white collar criminal, schemes and scams that took money in a “clean way”. Her family on the other hand were, um, blue collar criminals. The type of criminals that take money with a baseball bat. Great! I’m going to be killed before Paris.
The search for missing people like this case usually starts with looking at family members. I was able to locate an address using this method. I found her family just east of Apple Valley. Now Apple Valley might sound nice but trust me, its dirt and Yucca. I decided to pay a visit. I thought, to myself, the desert is a good place to die. My plan was to just use a pretext to knock on the door and see who answers. Well, no one answered. I checked with the neighbors (who were 1.5 miles away). They knew nothing and if they did they weren’t telling me. The neighbors appeared that they might have been cooking meth in the garage, but I digress. After checking with my local source at the Sheriff’s office I was able to confirm that the family did live there but they have not seen my subject. I was also advised to be careful when visiting the area by the house.
I went back to the house I did not see anyone or any vehicles. These guys were not going to fall for a simple pretext door knock. I thought, how will I get some useful information? All I wanted was to gather a little bit of info; I never imagined I would ever get the goods and catch her. I parked my car directly next to the driveway, popped the hood of my car and poured water in the engine. After about two hours and two gallons of water for theater, a green van pulled up. The van stopped in front of the driveway and a very, very… very large black man exited the van. “What up?” he said. “Don’t know, car will not start”, I replied nervously. “Names, Justin”, I said. “Tyrone”, he replied. I knew that the subject’s brother’s name was Tyrone. Before we could continue our conversation, out of the corner of my eye I observed the golden goose, my subject! She peeked out of the front door of the house to see what her brother was doing. I could not believe it! I had to hide my excitement and continue to look disappointed that I was broken down in the middle of the desert. “Do you mind if I use your phone?” I said. “Sure, come over to the front with me.” He replied. I thought, ok great, I forgot to tell my wife the address I was visiting and if something happens, it’s going to be awhile before anyone finds me. But, I really needed to close this case out… I mean it’s a vacation to Paris. As he and I walked to the front door, he yelled, “Sharon, bring me the cordless!” Wait, Sharon? That’s my subject’s name! I thought is she really going to come to me? I always have any legal paperwork with me rolled up in my back pocket or tucked under my belt behind my back. Any good investigator knows they should always have the paperwork they are trying to serve on them, especially with a subject like this. She opened the door quickly. I could clearly see that was her; there was no doubt at all. As she handed her brother the phone, looking at me, I grabbed the rolled up paperwork in my back pocket. I slowly raised the paperwork out to her and said, “Sharon, this legal paperwork is for you, consider yourself served”. I then turn around as quick as I could and ran. I ran so fast I knew I was going to hurt myself if I fell. I swear I could feel them chasing after me. I knew that Tyrone was reaching for his Glock, aiming his sites on my back. Only if I could get to my car, I should be ok then. I slammed the hood of my car and jumped in, started the engine and made more dirt fly up then an off road racer. I look over towards the house; they were just standing there staring at me like I was some kind of idiot. They never even moved an inch. The next day Sharon was arrested by the local Sheriff and Marshals. I got to go to Paris.