Hiring a PI for Unsolved Homicide Investigations

Hiring a PI for Unsolved Homicide Investigations

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.

Case load

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.

Jurisdiction

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

Precious Time: Hiring a Private Investigator to Locate Your Missing Teen

Precious Time: Hiring a Private Investigator to Locate Your Missing Teen

Every week there are new stories in the news about teenagers who have either run away or been kidnapped. When parents see these tragedies play out through media coverage, there’s usually one common thread running through their minds, “This could not happen to my child.” Despite statistics on the demographics most often affected by missing or runaway teens, no family is immune. Parents of a missing child or teen will most certainly have never found themselves in these frightful circumstances before and be at a loss for how to proceed. In addition to filing a report with police, the parents might also consider hiring a private investigator to conduct an independent, concurrent investigation. Finding missing teens is not always the speciality of an individual law enforcement agency, which means your child could fall through the cracks. Finding missing teens is not easy, especially when they do not want to be found. That’s why many families rely on the independent tenacity of private investigators to find their missing teens. Should you hire a private investigator to locate your missing or runaway child?

An Overwhelming Task

The Office of Justice Programs estimates the first 48 hours after your child goes missing are the most crucial in the timeline of any investigation. During these moments, your instinct might be to go find the child yourself or help conduct searches; however, as a parent or guardian of a missing child, your information is the most crucial. A 1982 congressional mandate requires law enforcement to immediately take a report following the disappearance of a child under the age of 18. However, recent reports estimate the excess of some 800,000 missing persons cases reported every year, 85-90% of those cases are individuals under the age of 18. What this statistic tells us is law enforcement, in most parts of the country, are overwhelmed by a caseload (with some departments averaging over 40 cases per investigator) leaving your missing child as a file amidst a stack of equally devastating missing child cases. As law enforcement agencies across the country remain stretched, missing child cases—especially ones where the child appears to have run away—are not always the first priority, as investigators attempt to perform a triage regarding which case requires their attention the most. Private investigators only average between three and four cases at any given time, meaning your child’s case will be at the top of their list of priorities.  During the crucial FIRST 48 hours, having a private investigator treat your case as a priority can be the difference between acquiring invaluable information and losing a lead.

Constitutional Red Tape

One of the glowing advantages of hiring a private investigator to find your missing child or teen is the fact PIs possess far more autonomy than the average law enforcement officer or investigator. For instance, when a suspect has been identified, law enforcement often must secure a warrant for them to be tracked as the investigation unfolds. Paperwork and bureaucracy within the chain of command can cause the wheels of justice to turn slowly in regards to local or state law enforcement. Not only are PI’s not required to file this sort of paperwork, but they can also do so without the supervision of a governing law enforcement administration, so the case progression is not stalled for lack of warrant or administration approval.

The Binds of Jurisdiction

With a private investigator conducting an independent, concurrent investigation, there will never be any issues of jurisdiction when pursuing leads. Say your family lives in Indiana, but while on an out-of-state family vacation, your child goes missing in a crowd. As missing and abducted children across state or even international borders, local law enforcement exponentially lose power to follow leads maybe illuminating the child’s whereabouts.  It is also not uncommon for two or more law enforcement agencies to enter a tug of war when it comes to who has jurisdiction over a particular case based on the specific circumstances. This can lead to the loss of leads or time as agencies hash out the details. Private investigators are never bound by jurisdictional bureaucracy. They can travel between states following the trail of a missing child, all without having to file any paperwork or obtain special permissions from superiors.

While law enforcement may have a wealth of experience and exclusive tools at their disposal, it’s important to remember that these civil servants are often overwhelmed with an immense case-load and can only do so much when it comes to the constitutional and jurisdictional boundaries they cannot cross. Private investigators have the expertise and similar tools of law enforcement, while also having the time to treat your case as a top priority.

Carie McMichael is the Communications and Media Specialist for Lauth Investigations International, writing about investigative topics such as missing persons and corporate investigations. For more information on missing persons topics, please visit our website.

Why Private Investigators Have an Advantage Over Police

Why Private Investigators Have an Advantage Over Police

Why Private Investigators Have an Advantage Over Police

 For months, the family of 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez wondered if they would ever have answers in his mysterious disappearance. On the day he disappeared, he was left in the care of his father’s girlfriend, Emily Glass. In the missing persons report, Glass told investigators on February 17th, 2018, she saw Lucas playing in his room around three in the afternoon. She then took a shower and fell asleep. When she awoke around six in the evening, Lucas was nowhere to be found.

Law enforcement in Wichita investigated for months, unearthing no credible leads into Lucas’ disappearance. Months later, on May 24th, locals were shocked after a private investigator blew the case wide open by informing law enforcement Emily Glass had led them to the decomposing remains of little Lucas under a nearby bridge. Why would Glass, after dealing with law enforcement for months, only then break her silence regarding her knowledge of the little boy’s body? The answer is as simple as this: Private investigators have advantages law enforcement do not when it comes to conducting concurrent independent investigations in criminal and missing persons cases.

So how is a private investigator’s approach different from the approach of a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency? The first thing to consider is the caseload of most law enforcement agencies. From the moment an initial report is made, in both criminal and missing persons cases, law enforcement have the meticulous and overwhelming task of gathering evidence to build a case that will secure justice on behalf of the victims and the state. Crime scenes need to be mined for evidence by medical examiners and crime scene technicians. Detectives and other investigators need to canvass witnesses—sometimes dozens of people—in the area who might have seen or heard something. Now imagine the workload of one case multiplied by 40 or 50 times. An audit conducted in Portland Oregon in 2007 reviewed law enforcement data from Portland itself, and nine other surrounding cities, to conclude the average caseload for a detective in Portland was a median of 54. This is compared to a 5-year average of 56 cases. Knowing statistics like these are similar in law enforcement agencies all across the country, it’s easy to see how the progress of cases might slow to a crawl. Agencies are overwhelmed, and this is where private investigators have the advantage. Private investigators may only handle one or two cases at a time, giving them their full focus and attention. Wichita law enforcement might have faced similar challenges of an overwhelming caseload when it came to investigating Lucas Hernandez’s disappearance. An article released by the Wichita Eagle in mid-December of 2017 revealed, as of publication, there were still ten homicides from the year 2017 remaining unsolved as the new year approached.

Another compelling advantage for private investigators might initially sound like a disadvantage: Private investigators have no powers of arrest. It seems counter-intuitive that a private investigator may use the same tools as law enforcement, ask the same questions, and may even come to the same conclusion as law enforcement without the ability to arrest a suspect for the crime. However, the case of Hernandez showcased exactly why a private investigator—and their inability to arrest—broke the case wide open. Jim Murray of Star Investigations told KMBC News in Kansas, “We’re less of a threat sometimes to people that we’re talking to because we have no powers of arrest,” said Jim. “We can’t arrest them.” This could explain why Emily Glass finally led a private investigator to Lucas’s body, because she knew they could not put handcuffs on her in that moment.

Los-Angeles-Private-InvestigatorUnfortunately, family members and locals will never have the truth about what happened to Lucas. In the wake of the private investigator’s discovery, autopsy reports were found to be inconsistent with what Glass told both police and the PI, but before the People could build a case against her, Glass was found dead from an apparent suicide. However, were it not for the efforts of the private investigator, Lucas’s father may never have had answers in his son’s disappearance.

Carie McMichael is the Communications and Media Specialist for Lauth Investigations International, writing about investigative topics such as missing persons and corporate investigations. To learn more about what we do, please visit our website.

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