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Missing Persons from a Private Investigator’s Prospective

A missing person is a person who has disappeared for usually unknown reasons. In order for a private investigator to find a missing person you will need to provide them with as much information as possible. It would be helpful if you could provide the private investigator with name, date of birth, social security number, age, last address known or anything else that you might consider helpful. However, if all you can provide is a name a private investigator can still find the person you are looking for, even if they have remarried. Just keep in mind that the less information you have the longer it might take for the private investigator to find the person you are looking for. It is also much harder for the private investigator to find someone if they are running from the law. Though, no matter what the circumstances the private investigator will exhaust all resources in order to find who you are looking for. A private investigator has a number of different resources that the "common person" does not have access to. Private investigators have access to the most modern technology and databases that will help provide the information they are looking for. Some of these databases can only be used by private investigators, so the "regular person" would never have access to this information. They also have easier access to the large amounts of public records and information that is out there. Plus, last but not least, the skills they have acquired over the years as a private investigator gives them a great advantage over someone who doesn't have the professional experience.

As a retired Police Investigator the critical time period for the start of investigation is "immediately". Especially when the subject is a missing child, the first 24 hours after disappearance, (not from discovery), can make the difference in finding a living subject or a dead subject. And while there is a lot of information that can be gained from a dead subject's body in terms of prosecution of a perpetrator, the goal is finding the subject alive. This is more a function of time than almost anything else. Many agencies will not even consider starting an investigation until the person, if an adult, has been gone more than 72 hours. Until recently, the FBI would not get involved unless the missing person was believed to have crossed state lines or if a federal crime was involved.

In December, 2010, I worked on the Phylicia Barnes case in Baltimore, MD. Her disappearance was extremely suspicious, and there was no question that a criminal act had occurred. Unfortunately Ms. Barnes was found murdered on April 22, 2011 in the Susquehanna River in Eastern Maryland.

You can launch a missing person's investigation to find:

  • Long lost loved ones or family members who have voluntarily disappeared or run away.
  • Fugitives you need to find.
  • Debtors for your money.
  • Missing persons who have been gone a long time and are part of a cold case.
  • Runaways and minors who have been kidnapped.

(Tony Avendorph, a private investigator and a Marlton resident, brings 40 years of experience and distinguished service as a retired police officer to all venues of private investigative work. Questions and suggestions on future articles may be directed to Tony Avendorph Associates, LLC at 240-417-9657 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

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