Angie McDonald’s father was a nervous wreck when he came to our office. Angie was a rebellious 17-year old who had run away four days earlier. “Mac” McDonald had filed a report with the sheriff’s office, but there had been no sign of Angie. She had run away before, but this time was different; she had developed a fondness for marijuana and “bad boys,” specifically an older man, J.P. Kenner, known to local authorities as a confidence artist with a knack for avoiding prosecution. Kenner denied any knowledge of Angie’s whereabouts. Mac, unfortunately, had made a nuisance of himself by staking out Kenner’s house and harassing Angie’s acquaintances, all of whom denied any knowledge of where she was. In desperation, Mac contacted Trace Investigations.
We notified the sheriff we were going to assist the McDonald family, and that we had convinced Mac, we hoped, to leave the investigation to the professionals. A surveillance team was set-up in Kenner’s neighborhood, where some of Angie’s friends also lived. Meanwhile, a field team distributed missing person flyers and conducted interviews of neighbors. One of the neighbors told us she thought Angie was in the neighborhood, moving from house to house to avoid detection. Two days later, late one night, our surveillance operative spotted a young female walking from Kenner’s house to the home of one of Angie’s friends, a short walk across two back yards in the dark. Our investigator walked up to the door of the house, noticed lights on in the back and spotted Angie and a friend inside. We phoned the police. Angie was returned to her parents, who had her committed to a drug rehabilitation program. J.P. Kenner was arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor and harboring a runaway.
Our client was a personal injury law firm in Texas. They had lost track of their client, a plaintiff in an insurance case who had moved to Indiana during the claims process. The firm needed to contact her to discuss a possible settlement agreement on her claim. Her phone number no longer worked and mail had been returned to the firm. Their in-house investigator had been unable to skip trace her. Because of the rural area indicated by her address, we recommended a field investigation. Arriving in the area, our investigator discovered the mail address was a rural county road on the county line border but which was actually located in the adjacent county, not an uncommon situation as far as U.S. postal addresses are concerned. The address was a vacant lot on a farm where a mobile home had set. We found the property owner and discovered the subject had moved back to Texas a few weeks earlier. He was able to give us the name of the town in Texas where she had moved, which was near the city where her attorney’s offices were located. We contacted our client and his investigator was subsequently able to find their client.
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All names have been changed for privacy concerns.