Police in Huntsville, Alabama are under scrutiny regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of a Black woman, Christina Nance, who was found deceased in the back of a van in the parking lot of the police department. Christina Nance was discovered by a police officer on October 7, 2021, in an “unoccupied” van that was parked near the rear of the parking lot at the Huntsville Public Safety Complex. At the time her body was discovered, Christina had been missing for 5 days.
Deputy Police Chief DeWayne McCarver stated in a news briefing last Friday that Christina’s body was discovered when the police officer noticed shoes outside the unused police van. The van doors were unlocked—on a vehicle that is supposed to remain locked while parked in the lot. “All city vehicles should remain locked any time they are not in use or occupied. Sometimes you just have to say that was something that shouldn’t have happened. It did.”
Closed circuit TV footage showed Christina Nance wandering around the parking lot for a few minutes before getting into the van, alone and not seemingly under any duress. The same footage shows Nance alternatively opening and closing the windows on the van multiple times between September 25 and September 28th, which was the last time the window moved prior to the discovery of her body. Unfortunately, because the van was originally purposed as an inmate transport vehicle, the doors on the back do not open from the inside. It is unclear how Christina Nance managed to occupy the vehicle for so long without anyone noticing in what has been characterized as a “busy parking lot.”
The Madison County Coroner, Dr. Tyler Berryhill, has reported that no foul play or bodily trauma was discovered on autopsy, but the official cause of death will be determined by the State Medical Examiner “once additional studies, including toxicology, are complete,” according to a press release. Deputy Chief McCarver stated that investigators have treated this case as a criminal investigation from the onset, despite being unable to know the circumstances surrounding her entrance into the van.
Ben Crump—the civil rights attorney who represented the families of both Breonna Taylor and George Floyd—has announced that he will be representing Christina Nance’s family and their interests as the investigation continues. “We will get to the truth of what happened to Christina Nance, the young Black woman found dead in the police van in front of the Huntsville Police Department. We lift up christina’s family with prayer as they mourn this devastating loss.”
In cases like Christina Nance where the circumstances of a loved one’s death are murky or undetermined, it’s imperative that families seek additional counsel when it comes to an unsolved death investigation. Especially in cases where law enforcement may have an interest in a particular case outcome, families may feel more comfortable getting an independent set of eyes on their loved one’s case to ensure that every rock is being turned over in search of answers. In cases where remains are found on or inside police property, objectivity and integrity are the two greatest attributes of a comprehensive death investigation.
In the case of a private investigator, they are independent contractors with no bureaucratic ties to the police department who can deliver the same investigative methodology as law enforcement. Many private investigators are former military and law enforcement personnel who have similar toolchests for unsolved death investigations. Private investigators have access to similar databases and possess similar professional experience. Because they are not tied to any jurisdiction, private investigators can also follow leads out of state and coordinate with multiple law enforcement agencies to ensure that subjects pursued in the field are brought to justice.
If you family needs a second opinion on a solved or unsolved death investigation, call Lauth Investigations International at 317-951-1100 or visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com for a free quote.
An unsolved homicide investigation demands multi-disciplined, seasoned investigators who are prepared to turn over every rock in search of answers to bring closure to that victim’s family. However, for a plethora of reasons, homicide investigations can go cold. Once all leads are exhausted, law enforcement, with a heavy heart, packs away the files and relocates them to a warehouse populated by hundreds of other cold cases from the jurisdiction. To prevent their loved one’s case from gathering dust on a shelf, many families opt to have an independent private investigator conduct an unsolved homicide investigation in order to get the due-diligence and clarity their family deserves.
There are many reasons why local law enforcement may be unable to close an unsolved homicide investigation. While none of htem are comforting to a victim’s family, there are very real issues that can hamper an unsolved homicide investigation from the very beginning.
Lack of experience
It’s not uncommon in “sleepy” counties or jurisdictions for law enforcement to be unprepared for the complexities of a homicide investigation. These are the communities you think of from a more innocent time—when people didn’t lock their doors and violent crime was nonexistent. Put simply, law enforcement trained and conditioned within certain jurisdictions may lack the diverse experience to properly conduct an unsolved homicide investigation.
Lack of resources
In the same vein as insufficient experience, if a particular jurisdiction lacks resources vital to an unsolved homicide investigation, the chances of closing the case are limited. Resources can indicate many things such as labor power of officers and other law enforcement personnel, necessary scientific equipment or professionals, and the proper administrative support network to keep the entire process moving.
Even the most proficient and equipped law enforcement departments can expect to run into roadblocks during an unsolved homicide investigation when caseloads for homicide detective exceed reasonable expectations. In cities and municipalities where the homicide rate is high, a single homicide detective might be carrying as many as 30 cases at a time. This forces the detective to significantly divide their attention equally (or otherwise) across their caseload. As a result, evidence and witnesses disappear, and the quality of leads diminishes significantly with the passage of time.
Law enforcement personnel must adhere to their jurisdiction—meaning that their powers of investigation and arrest only extend to the boundaries of their jurisdiction. The higher level the investigating agency, the wider their jurisdiction. If a person commits murder, then promptly leaves the state, it complicates the search for authorities. In the most egregious cases, individuals might commit violence or murder and then flee the country beyond the reach of local police.
In the interest of ensuring their loved one’s case gets the attention it deserves, families of homicide victims commonly retain a private investigator in order to get a second pair of eyes on the case. Calling in a private investigator to work simultaneously with law enforcement in an unsolved homicide investigation ensures that there is no stone left unturned in the search for truth. The best results occur when police and private investigators work in tandem—police investigating the leads that are most appropriate to their skillsets and resources while private investigators pick up any slack. Private investigators typically only work on between 3-4 cases at a time. Through their licensure by the state, they have access to research databases on par with that of law enforcement in order to conduct background checks, witness location, and field investigations. Their autonomy is only limited by the states in which they are licensed. Private investigators who are licensed nationwide have the ability to follow a lead wherever it takes them—even if that lead goes out of the state where the homicide occurred. This means fewer dropped leads and an increased chance of success in bringing closure to a grieving family.
If your family needs help with an unsolved homicide investigation, reach out to Lauth Investigations International today at 317-951-1100 for a free consultation. Our team of private investigators is comprised of former military and law enforcement, and we carry a glowing A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Call today or visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com
Do you need help with a theft investigation to find stolen property? Closure may be closer than you think.
Property theft can happen anywhere, but when it rises to the level of grand larceny, an investment in its return may be prudent. Of course every jurisdiction has its own unit dedicated to property theft—but not every unit has the resources or the manpower in order to handle the demands property theft poses in a certain jurisdiction. Not to mention that the nature of stolen property cases always presents unique challenges in tracking both the perpetrator and the property itself as it changes hands. As such, many victims of grand larceny and other forms of theft have trouble recovering their property through bureaucratic channels. When these challenges arise, victims may feel the need to get a second opinion.
Hiring a private investigator to find stolen property is a way to bring new professional perspective to your case. Private investigators and law enforcement use many of the same tools in their investigative toolbox. Many private investigators are former law enforcement officers who apply their professional knowledge to the private sector—only private investigators have a slight edge. Law enforcement officers can handle between 30-40 cases at any give time, which makes it difficult to give each case the attention it deserves. However, private investigators typically handle between 4-5 cases at a time, leaving a lot more time for due-diligence and field investigations. There is a great deal of canvassing involved with a theft investigation, including neighboring businesses and private residences, and local pawn shops in order to track the stolen property. Investigators cannot possibly hope to do that for every case when they are handling an excess of 30 cases at once. This means that crucial witnesses and evidence can be lost, leading to significant stagnation in case progression.
Another benefit to hiring a private investigator to find stolen property is their lack of jurisdiction. Because they have no powers of arrest, it can be easier to get relevant subjects and witnesses to be forthcoming in the investigation and result in additional leads. Once the property is located, private investigators can serve as a middle-man. Without powers of arrest, private investigators can facilitate the successful return of the property. Many subjects are willing to return the property in order to avoid the police.
At the conclusion of the case, private investigators provide clients with comprehensive reports and context to ensure the client understands the outcome. Private investigators may also be inclined to offer professional advice so the client can prevent future thefts. This doesn’t just go for personal property, but corporate property as well. Things like fixtures, equipment, and product are all targets of theft, and each one deserves the specialized approach that a private investigator can bring.
If you need a private investigator to find stolen property, call Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote and hear about how we can help. We are staffed by former military and law enforcement personnel, and carry a glowing A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Call 317-951-1100 today or visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com.
Corporate entities and organizations the world over go to great lengths to protect their intellectual property and self-built foundations of knowledge. In this vein, contracts that protect against non-compete violations allow employers to invest in developing the skill set of their employees without fear that they will turn around and take a pay-off from a competitor, or even set up shop offering the exact same service up the street.
The repercussions when a non-compete contract is breached can be costly and complex to navigate. This means that taking every step to mitigate violations is prudent planning. With that in mind, read on to discover Lauth Investigation’s top tips for minimizing the risk of non-compete violations—and what to do if you suspect something underhand is already afoot.
Keeping Non-Compete Contracts up to Date
Laws change, roles change, and the needs of any given business will inevitably change too. Ensuring that non-competes remain practical and legally applicable can help you avoid future vulnerability. Because of the unique nature of each organization’s operation and each employees role, non-competes must be tailor made.
Factors such as locational jurisdictions, business or asset acquisitions, and what is considered an industry-specific reasonable duration of contract must all be taken into account. In contrast, a cookie-cutter approach to non-compete contracts can be risky, as any strategic holes may disincline the courts from upholding the contract in question. Also keep in mind that—when updating non-competes for current employees—it is vital to ensure a consideration is provided in return for their renewed agreement.
Ensuring Security Is Locked Down
Even with the most air-tight non-compete agreements in place, the risk always remains that an employee will decide that breaching their contract is worth the consequences. Temptation to accept a bribe in return for providing access to computer systems, documents, or designs is always a possibility. One of the ways in which companies can reduce this risk is by making security a top priority. Having electronic and on-site security provisions regularly reviewed—and making employees aware of both measures in place and their own responsibility—can be a reminder that they risk getting caught in the act when temptation strikes.
Staying on Top of Corporate Culture
A thriving corporate culture not only means satisfied employees and larger profits, but also enhanced company loyalty. In contrast, when toxic corporate culture is allowed to fester, organizations run the risk of their employees feeling far more inclined to turn on the hand that feeds them. Diligently monitoring the health of workplace culture offers multi-faceted protection. If tackling corporate culture for the first time, a Corporate Culture Audit can be a great place to start.
Being Proactive When Employment Ends
When an employee quits or is terminated, an exit interview provides the perfect opportunity for a non-compete refresher. Reminding of ongoing legal obligations can ensure that former employees are clear on the legal repercussions if they choose to breach their contract. It also provides an opportunity for them to disclose their intention to work for a competitive company—the omission of which may impact their credibility if a non-compete violation occurs in the future.
Reaching Out to a Competitive Employer
When a former employee does go to work for a competitor, the prior employer may request their consent to inform the new employer of the standing non-compete contract. Equally, if suspicion is growing, the prior employer may decide to reach out independently to ensure that the competitive business is aware that legal obligations are in play. In such instances, swift action can minimize damage.
Safeguarding Client Relationships
When valuable clients are involved and concerns exist that a former employee may not have positive intentions, proactive protection of customer relationships can be vital. Informing customers that the former employee in question is no longer working for the company and immediately connecting them with new representatives can reduce the risk of client theft and non-compete violations.
When You Suspect a Non-Compete Violation
When it comes to non-compete violations, time is usually of the essence. Swift action can effectively minimize both financial and reputational losses, while reducing the potential complexity of litigation. When suspicion arises, a skilled private investigator can be an ultimate ally—launching diligent corporate investigations, carrying out surveillance, and information gathering—as they build a case that will allow you to take immediate action. If a possible non-compete violation is on your radar or you require help in assessing your current level of risk, contact Lauth Investigations for immediate assistance.
As someone at the helm of a corporation or organization, you likely have a clear vision of what a smooth team work-flow looks like. You know that when executives and employees fall into a synergistic rhythm of getting things done, mountains can be moved. However, when that cohesive energy becomes elusive, it can be difficult to know what to do next. What causes that optimal functionality to flourish or fail? Fundamentally, the answer lies within shared culture. When productivity starts to sour, pin pointing how to improve corporate culture is just the ticket for getting things back on track.
What Is Corporate Culture?
When we describe company culture or organizational culture, what exactly do we mean? In essence, this type of culture can be defined as the personality of any given organization. It is the values, attitudes, beliefs, and motivations that are shared by everyone involved. The impact of this can be found within the way coworkers connect and collaborate, the way customers and external associates are treated, and the efficiency and innovation seen across the board.
The last decade has been abuzz with talk of businesses striving to improve their corporate culture. Driving this trend is data indicating that stronger internal culture delivers enhanced employee engagement, greater talent attraction and retention, and a powerful boost to the bottom line. Some businesses fall into the trap of imagining that culture can be corrected with the sweeping introduction of new perks or a change in office aesthetics, but in truth the key is more human than that. Forging unstoppable culture means strategically empowering and uniting employees. So, let’s explore how to improve corporate culture from the ground up.
Corporate Culture by Design
Before tackling existing culture and identifying how to shift it for the better, it is vital to lay out a blue print. This begins with revisiting the core values, mission statement, and employee value proposition of your organization, and confirming that they align not only with your business goals, but also with your corporate culture goals. Strong organizational culture is built upon both shared intentions and a shared sense of identity. Defining each of these clearly serves as an optimal launch point for infusing your team with a solid sense of direction.
Engage Your Team in the Creation Process
If your current corporate culture road map is lacking, deviations from optimal practices can become predictable, and the need for costly corporate investigations may follow. An effective way to encourage your most tenured team members, executives, and HR personnel to invest on a personal level in correcting this is to invite them to participate in the creative process required. Surveys and interviews will allow you to enlist the help of your human assets as you identify the current strength and weaknesses of existing culture, and the values that will serve as guiding lights moving forwards.
Modeling Corporate Culture
When it comes to both forging and reinforcing company culture, leaders must never forget that all eyes are on them. “Do as I say and not as a I do” will not stir motivation or emotional investment, but leading by example certainly will. In practical terms, this means not only modeling the behavior and attitudes that you want to see in your team, but also recognizing and elevating positive behaviors, and constructively calling out negative ones. Celebrate team wins, and take advantage of the potential 59% reduction in turnovers that employee recognition can provide.
Forge Trust With Operational Transparency
When it comes to employee satisfaction, morale, and motivation, communication is essential. Keeping employees abreast of targets through timely updates allows them to see the strategy behind their daily efforts. When open communication, clear objectives, and employee recognition are combined, leadership and team members alike are given the ingredients required for cooperative and innovative thinking. Implementing dependable opportunities for employees to both give and receive feedback allows you to track employee engagement, stay ahead of problems, and utilize opportunities that would otherwise remain unseen.
Call On an Expert
Whether you are wondering how to improve corporate culture in order to strengthen your organization, or are facing down an impending corporate investigations crisis, external expert assistance can provide an immediate path towards favorable outcomes. Specialists in corporate culture from Lauth Investigations are primed to objectively analyze the current cultural landscape within your business, and help you lay out a game plan that delivers transformative results. Learn more about corporate culture audits, the support we provide for workplace investigations, and more, by contacting us today.