From : Ms. Mallin, mother of Brandon
Date : December 9, 2009
Being the mother of a missing son, was by far the most agonizing and heart-wrenching experience I have ever had. When my “adult” son disappeared on his 18th birthday, without any sort of notice to family, naturally we were shocked and very concerned for his safety. As a young man with neurocognitive impairment and MH difficulties, my son had been receiving intensive community based MH services and was accordingly, registered as a disabled and endangered missing adult. My local police department placed a statewide bulletin and registered him missing but very quickly, it became apparent that there was not going to be an active, aggressive investigative search for my son. A non-profit organization recommended the services of a private investigator and Thomas Lauth was contacted.
At a highly emotional time, I found the contact with Mr. Lauth to be quite reassuring. His experience in investigations of missing persons is quite impressive and without pressure, he outlined the stages of his proposed investigation costs and projected number of days to successfully locate my son. We agreed upon a contract and the search began.
Thomas was very methodical in the initial stage. I answered many questions about my son so that Tom could develop a working theory. I trusted his judgment almost immediately because he has worked so many similar cases. It was speculated that my 18 year old son was on the streets of Baltimore city (we live in PA) without any supportive social structure, and had most likely became a victim of human trafficking. Through a series of previous phone conversations Mr. Lauth and I were able to piece this together. As a cognitively impaired individual, my son thought he could fly to Oregon to meet a friend with nothing more than $100.00 in his pocket. (He left home with no clothes, ID, medications etc) and somehow ended up in Baltimore. In my mind, Brandon could never survive this ordeal and I was desperate to rescue him.
Days later, I met Tom in Baltimore MD and immediately felt at ease. He swiftly made contact with the Baltimore city, missing persons unit, nonprofits that provide outreach to victims of human trafficking and Tom personally spent a great deal of time walking in neighborhoods where my son would most likely be. He recommended that I petition the civil court for an emergency evaluation of my son, who could then be picked up by police if seen. I could not have physically or emotionally handled any of these tasks without the support and direction of Tom.
As Tom had predicted, my son was located a day later and was brought to the Hospital in very bad shape. Clearly traumatized by the ordeal, my son offered enough information to conclude that he was being coerced and controlled by others as a prostitute. I am convinced that without this intervention, my son was at extreme risk for death, or trafficked to other major cities around the world. I will never forget the service provided to my family by Thomas Lauth and his genuine concern for my son.
My son continues to experience much difficulty back home and follow up contact with Tom has been very helpful. His knowledge and expertise clearly saved my life. I am honored to provide a letter of reference for this remarkable man who is such a strong advocate for adult missing persons. My experience is such that I do not recommend relying solely on a local police department to locate a missing person, particularly with mental illness. The risk for exploitation or other harm is simply too great and hiring an experienced private investigator is more likely to bring a loved one home again.
With sincere hope for the return of your loved one,
To whom it may concern,
Our daughter started slipping in her senior year of high-school. She became very secretive about her life, she was missing school, and seemed to be on drugs. It was impossible to have any kind of conversation with her, she was so much on the defensive. We tried 2 different therapists and an outpatient drug program. Nothing worked. She somehow graduated and we were trying to talk about the future with her, but she was always very evasive. At the beginning of the summer, she chose to go back to a camp where she had been for the last three years, the last year, as a counselor in training. Since she made up her mind at the last minute, there was only space for a kitchen helper. She went. She lasted 4 weeks again and then got a friend to pick her up and bring her home. Things were the same, her staying out and not coming back for a few days. Then she would come back, sleep a lot and be very disheveled and unapproachable. We had a trip going back to see family and friends coming up and 2 days before leaving she declared that she could not come with us, this was no longer her life. We tried everything for her to come along but she was so stubborn. We were losing our patience. It had been a year of constant tension and confrontations. We could not tie her up and force her on the airplane ! On her 18th birthday, she left. After awhile, letters from attorneys in L.A. came to our house, offering their services. I started talking to a pi and he said for me to think of what she could have done in the past that would trigger this. Then, we got more letters. I called again and that when we found out that she had been arrested a few times for prostitution and had been released from a jail that afternoon.
We tried many times to find her and to think of ways to get her out of there. She finally called right around Thanksgiving. She stayed with us until January 3rd and then took off again. This time we called Thomas Lauth and started working with him. He was very thorough trying to understand the history of our situation and acted very quickly. After a few telephone calls and e-mail exchanges, he came to see us and got a lead. He had asked us to prepare letters and pictures to give to our daughter. That turned out to be a brilliant idea. All three of us flew to Phoenix and on our first night there he found our daughter and the only thing that we were able to do was to give her that folder with the letters and the pictures.
On two other occasions, Tom traced our daughter where abouts, and every time we managed to have contact with her which, I think, was the reason why she eventually came back. Knowing that we were not giving up.
When we felt hopeless, Tom would encourage us not to give up. His amazing perseverance and promptness to act is what saved us.
To whom it may concern,
Re: Lauth and Associates
I wanted to take this opportunity to formally commend and recommend the services provided by Tom Lauth (Lauth and Associates). My family and I recently worked with Tom regarding my sister and nephew who had been missing for almost two years. Tom was the second investigator who worked the case. Based on the excellent service we experienced, I sincerely regret that we did not work with him initially. I found Tom to be extremely knowledgeable, professional, and emphatic. I immediately felt comfortable in confiding in him. In response, Tom offered a complete plan, with accurate cost disclosures and regular substantive updates.
Most importantly, Tom did exactly what he promised to do, on time and within the estimated budget that we initially discussed. Thanks to his efforts, we were able to speak with both missing parties for the first time since spring, 2003.
Tom is an absolute gem. I strongly recommend him to anyone who may find him or herself in the unfortunate circumstance of losing contact with a loved one. Thus, my family and I have no hesitancy whatsoever about continuing to use his services, as we move into the next phase of the investigation. Thank you again for the referral and for providing a much needed public resource service. God Bless!
Andrea D. Townson
THANK YOU THOMAS LAUTH
Recently my son was missing and we had nowhere to turn, until we found you. He had taken off for work and never got there. No one knew where he was, the police couldn’t help us because he was of age. I called the missing children’s hot line. If any parent is in our situation I recommend highly that they call you. You were so helpful and kind to us. You understood just how worried we were. You met my husband in Mass., where we finally figured out where my son was. You stayed there until he was found and let us contact him. Your kindness and professional manner was of great comfort to us in our time of need. It is so hard to not know where your child is. Anyone going through these hard times needs to know there is an organization out there that cares and handles the problem for you.
You don’t know what you gave back to us. My son means the world to me and getting him back made my world complete again. I want to thank you form the bottom of my heart and hope that anyone else missing a child will call you, you are the best.
I understand that you are currently working with Thomas Lauth on a program for missing children. Given this, I would like to share with you a little bit of my relationship with Tom.
A few weeks ago my 17 year old daughter ran away from home. This was not the first time she has done this. I contacted the police and they tried to look for her. I knew they would not be able to find her, she has gotten very street smart. I can’t describe into words just how awful I felt during this horrible ordeal. There were so many horrors that ran through my mind. I knew I had to find someone to help find my daughter.
This is where I met Tom. I hired him to help find Alicia. He was very kind during the entire investigation and he put my nerves at ease on more than one occasion. I could sense that he had a deep caring for children. While always remaining very calm he also portrayed a strong sense of caring for my child, even thought he had never met her. I believe he went way beyond the call of duty at the time of Alicia’s apprehension. Let me explain. Within a week of my hiring Tom he found her. She was at a home in Indianapolis where the police say there is known gang activity. He very carefully checked the house out while I contacted the police. Only one Indianapolis officer was sent out on the call. Tom had the officer meet him a block away from the home so he could show them her picture. The officer asked Tom to guard the back door so she could not escape through it. This was not in his job description and I feel that he did this at great risk to his own safety. Fortunately, Alicia was apprehended and everything went ok. Tom called me immediately to tell me she was safe and to fill me in on the details. Now my daughter is safe and sound at Teen Challenge in Wyoming. Tom called a couple of weeks after the ordeal to see how we were doing. I felt this was very thoughtful. It is clear to me that he really cares about children and is committed to his work. If you would ever like to contact me to ask me any questions please feel free
Carolyn M. Berghois