Here at we are witness to the best in people as well as the dark underside of human interactions. We have front row seats to stories and actions that some people might not ever see or be able to understand. While they are human stories filled with a wide array of emotions, we are involved in gathering facts and finding out the truth.
Often our work involves attorneys who are working with an estate. We are tasked with finding a missing heir or unknown heirs for the estate. However, sometimes estate work requires a different kind of investigation. Take this story for instance:
Soon after their mother was admitted into hospice, Janet and Kim’s long-lost uncle Scott suddenly began to visit the dying sister he hadn’t seen in at least a decade. Both sisters believed money motivated their uncle to suddenly be so concerned about his sister.
The sisters feared that their uncle might successfully get his heavily medicated sister to sign some kind of legal papers. After all, Scott had been estranged from the family for nearly three decades. When he suddenly appeared 10 years ago, his visit was less than 24 hours. He attended his father’s funeral, had a brief chat with his only sibling about their father’s will, and disappeared again when he learned that his sister inherited the majority of their parents’ estate. Though Scott also was included in the will, he would receive only a small amount. Now that Uncle Scott had once again shown his greedy face, the sisters had openly discussed the issue with their mother and they all three hoped for a way to protect their mother and the financial decisions she had made a few months earlier.
Janet and Kim truly believed that their uncle was attempting to manipulate his dying sister. They requested that investigators find a way to prove what they passionately believed to be true. Electronic surveillance equipment and a listening device were installed in a tissue box in their mother’s room with their mother's consent. The tissue box was innocently placed on the shelf in the hospital room, pointing directly at the chair where Scott sat when he visited.
One investigator was close posing as a member of the housekeeping staff. Wearing a covert surveillance camera, she just happened to need to run the dust mop and clean the bathroom when Uncle Scott arrived for a visit.
With cameras and listening devices in place, his intentions became obvious. He made small talk and patted his sister’s hand while the investigator was in the room, but once the investigator left, he began to discuss legal arrangements with his sister and she knew what he was trying to get at, so she got him deeper and deeper into the discussion, even though it upset her. The fact that the entire episode was recorded showed the change in his demeanor and actions when left alone with his sister.
Just to make it clear, the investigator posing as housekeeping returned to the room, stayed just a few minutes and then left again. Scott returned to his discussion with his sister and all events were captured, including his actual words.
All the information and recordings were turned over to Kim and Janet’s attorney. As in many cases, investigators don’t know what happens after we file our report, because our job is done. We hope the end result, with truth in hand, is justice.
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations