is known as the place to go when you need to find someone. That’s because we know how to find missing persons. Although not a last resort, we are often part of a slim slice of hope; a tiny sliver that someone has held on to for a long, long time.
- The mother whose son left home 20 years ago.
- The child whose birth parents are a mystery.
- The man whose sister was adopted 35 years ago from a tiny rural town.
- The father who abandoned his wife and children.
- The grandmother whose grandchild was relocated to another state after the death of her child.
We often hear an emotional story and are handed a few tattered photographs. The reasons are many that have turned a wish to reconnect into a need to actually find a missing person and an appointment with our investigators. It could be:
- a medical issue.
- the search for an heir.
- a change of heart.
- a glimpse of mortality.
- guilt and a desire to make amends.
Finding people takes creativity and imagination as well as solid investigative skills. That is especially true when someone has not been in contact for decades. Often, we don’t have a current photo or anything that represents any facet of the missing person’s current personal or professional life. So that makes a people search a difficult task, although it can be very rewarding for investigators as well as the person initiating the search.
That being said, not every missing person search has a happy ending. We may be successful in finding a missing person, even after decades, but they may not want to reconnect for whatever reason. And it is our job to convey that message. Sometimes knowing they are alive and well is enough. Other times it is a blow that the missing person investigation was successful, but that the subject wants to remain lost.
When we find a missing person and there is a reunion, we sometimes are on hand to facilitate a meeting or phone call and the joy for all is evident. One incident was when two sisters talked for the first time.
They shared a mutual father but never knew the other existed until his death. When he died, one of the daughters, Mary*, discovered that her father had actually had another family in another state. He’d traveled extensively while she was growing up but never had she ever considered that she had a sister “out there” somewhere. Now that she knew, she wanted to find her. Mary had already lost her mother and had no other family.
We found the sister, Betty*, and she agreed, hesitantly, to a conversation with her supposed half-sibling. Her mother had died several years before and Betty had no other family either. She had always believed that her father had simply abandoned her and her mother. So to hear this news was pretty unbelievable.
We had already scanned photographs of their father to confirm that these two women were indeed sisters with the same father.
When the phone call began, Betty was very timid, letting Mary do all the talking. She talked mostly about her father and then Betty began to share stories that were common to the stories Mary shared. It wasn’t long before they were both talking and crying. They talked about each other and their lives, too. And then they ended the call, but not before Betty gave Mary her contact information and agreed to meet in person.
When we are asked to find a missing person, we take the task seriously and follow every lead. Our success rate is well above the average. But we make no promises. We protect the rights and privacy of everyone involved.
We really do know how to locate people and find missing persons. The rest is up to the people involved.
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations
*Not her real name.