What is the right way to find a missing person? When it comes to professional investigators like those in law enforcement or in private practice, the answer may change depending on who you ask. It’s crucial to report a person missing with law enforcement so that information about their disappearance can be distributed regionally or even nationally, increasing the chances that they might be recovered. However, missing person cases also require the independence and personal attention of a private investigator to increase the chances of a missing person to be found. It can leave the families of missing persons wondering—what is the right way to find a missing person?
It is difficult to answer this question, because despite patterns among missing person cases in the United States, every single missing person case is different and will require different disciplines and methodologies depending on the circumstances of the disappearance. Families can find themselves split or unsure of who to trust to find answers in their loved one’s disappearance. The complicated truth is that this may not be a question of law enforcement or private intelligence. Missing person cases can have dozens of variables that require multi-pronged approach, and singular strategies can easily miss important details that could be lost forever.
When a loved one goes missing, the first step is calling the police and filing a missing person report. This ensures that an official file on the missing person has been started with investigating authorities. If the missing person is picked up by law enforcement, or their remains are discovered, the police are able to trace them back to the family and finally deliver closure in their case. Police and law enforcement have access to the nation’s best resources in intelligence operations and have the support of their colleagues in uniform as well as an administrative support staff. However, law enforcement may not have received comprehensive training required in a missing person search, or they do not have the adequate amount of man-power to meet the demands of their casework. As such, important leads can go unnoticed, or in the worst-case scenario, a search for the missing person never gets past the intake interview. That’s because missing person cases require swift, personalized attention that law enforcement is systemically not designed to give.
Private investigators are the second prong in the approach towards missing person investigators. The right way to find a missing person requires swift action, verified resources, and personalized attention. While private investigators may not have access to as many resources as law enforcement, they still have access to verified databases and other resources that allow them to develop leads in the missing person cases. With the help of those databases and their years of experience in investigations. Unlike law enforcement, private investigators are allowed to leave the jurisdiction where an investigation began in order to follow clues where they may lead. When an investigation would take law enforcement out of their jurisdiction, they may not be able to investigate. That means more leads and relevant witnesses are lost. Private investigators can follow up on leads as soon as they receive them, and increase the chances of the missing person being found. The case load of a private investigator is also a fraction of what police detectives typically carry, which means they are able to give the missing person case the level of attention that it deserves.
Utilizing the police and private investigators to search for your missing loved one is one of the best ways to cover all your bases. It’s the investigative equivalent to getting a second opinion and making sure that no one investigator will get tunnel vision with regards to the investigation. The right way to find a missing person is to have a multi-pronged approach in order to ensure that no valuable evidence or witness testimony will be lost in the process.
If your family is unsure of the right way to find a missing person, call Lauth Investigations International today at 317-951-1100 or visit us online at www.lauthmissingpersons.com.
According to stunning new allegations by prosecutors, Paul Flores killed Kristen Smart following attempts to sexually assault her in her dorm room on the night she went missing. This week, investigators, family members, and true crime fans are all feeling some semblance of progress in the case of missing Cal Poly student, Kristen Smart after Paul Flores, a long-time person of interest in the case was arrested in connection with her disappearance. Smart disappeared in 1996 after she left a party with her friends and never arrived back at her student dormitory. Since her disappearance, investigators have been looking Flores, who was reportedly the last person to see Smart before she went missing.
The public’s fascination with the Kristen Smart’s case goes back to 1996 when she first went missing. The Cal Poly student was on her way to a party the night she went missing, May 24, 1996. She was supposed to speak to her parents on the phone before she left her dorm room for the party, but her parents never heard from her. Kristen ended up at an off-campus party where she became heavily intoxicated and passed out on the lawn of a neighboring house. Kristen was leaving the party with friends when Paul Flores came up on them and offered to walk Kristen back to her dorm. Kristen was never heard from again, and Paul Flores has always been identified as the last person to see her alive.
The theory that Paul Flores killed Kristen Smart came from the presumed timeline of Kristen’s last movements the night she disappeared. Since Flores was the last person to be seen with her, it stands to reason he would have information about her disappearance. However, over the years, Paul Flores has proven to be a tough nut to crack. Despite the fact that Flores remained ingrained in discourse around the case for the next 20 years, he was never formally charged by law enforcement, and invoked his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination when deposed in a wrongful death suit in 2005 levied by Kristen’s parents. Despite numerous searches by law enforcement, friends, and family, her remains have never been found.
Authorities investigating the disappearance of Kristen Smart have credited a true-crime podcast in part for the progress that has been made in the case. Your Own Backyard, a true-crime podcast that takes a deep dive into Kristen Smart’s disappearance, was launched in 2019 by Chris Lambert, a veteran podcaster who was humble when describing his investigative efforts to the San Luis Obispo Tribune, “The podcast was one part of the whole formula. Even with what I found, I can’t go arrest somebody. I needed [the sheriff’s office] to do their job. I was willing to do what I could to assist in that. You can get varying levels of agreement about what I did directly led to an arrest. My personal opinion was that I was one piece of the formula.” Following the release of the podcast, law enforcement was able to develop leads. Paul Flores and his father, Ruben, was also arrested as an accessory after the fact and is believed to have helped Flores dispose of Kristen’s remains. In a press conference following their arrest, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said to the media, “In 2019, we interviewed several witnesses that had not been previously interviewed and some of that information came to light through the podcast that many of you are familiar with.”
Paul Flores and his father, Ruben were arraigned on Thursday morning. The DA’s office is reportedly requesting a higher bail amount for Ruben Flores set at $250,000. Paul Flores remains in jail, held on zero bail for felony murder.
For the last month, people living on both sides of the Atlantic ocean have been gripped by the story of missing former flight attendant, Sarm Heslop. Sarm Heslop was first reported missing on March 7, 2021 by her boyfriend, Ryan Bane when she vanished while on his yacht in the United States’ Virgin Islands. The investigation has spanned over the Islands and now involves international cooperation between FBI agents and U.K. investigators.
At the time of her disappearance, Sarm Heslop was living her dream of working as a chef in the Virgin Islands. She moved to the Virgin Islands from Southampton, England and had found work on Ryan Bane’s charter yacht while he conducted island tours for tourists on the boat. Sarm was dating Bane after meeting him on Tinder, and found working together to be a way to spend more time together. Despite reports that they were very happy at the time of her disappearance, Ryan Bane waited nine hours to call the Coast Guard after Heslop disappeared from his boat. They’d gone to dinner the night of March 7 on the island of St. John and returned to the yacht. Bane claims that he awoke around 2 in the morning to realize that Sarm was not on the boat. He called 911 to report her missing. He was then instructed to call the Coast Guard, but did not do so until almost noon that same day. Valuable time was obviously lost in the investigation, and to further exacerbate the frustration, Bane refused to let police search his boat. Because of his lack of cooperation, authorities were not able to say with certainty that Sarm Heslop reboarded the yacht when they returned from the mainland.
A month has gone by and there still have been no answers in Sarm Heslop’s disappearance. Her friends and family have taken to the internet and social media in order to spread awareness about her case. People following the case have done so by following the hashtag #FindSarm on major social media platforms. The family also generated a website about her case findsarm.com. Her family has released a statement about the case: “We are shocked and distraught that Sarm is missing. We would like assurance that the authorities in the Virgin Islands are doing everything possible to find her and that the investigation into our beautiful and cherished daughter’s disappearance includes a comprehensive fingertip search of the boat.”
Authorities have not officially named Bane a suspect in Sarm’s disappearance. According to his high-profile defense attorney, David Cattie, who represented Ghislaine Maxwell, Bane has “invoked his right to silence.” Bane is currently residing in the Virgin Islands.
In fortuitous turn of events, an Ozark mother and daughter who were previously reported missing to the police have been located by authorities. Anna and Amora Rossi were reported missing on Thursday, March 22, 2021 under what police initially described as suspicious circumstances.
The following morning, the investigators followed up on serveral leads that developed in the early hours of the investigation. As a result, investigators were able to locate Anna and Amora Rossi. Investigators did not release any details about their whereabouts, but have assured the public that Anna and Amora Rossi are safe and sound.
The Rossi case is just one of hundreds of thousands missing person cases that are reported every year. The difference here is that their case was solved within the first 48 hours of the initial report. Sadly, not many families receive that closure. At any given time, there are more than 800,000 active missing person cases in the United States.
If you have a missing loved one and still have not received answers in their disappearance, call Lauth Investigations International today to hear how our missing person investigators can bring your family closure in the matter of your misisng loved one. Call 317-951-1100 or visit us online at www.lauthmissingpersons.com
The family of Kirsten Brueggeman has been anxious for answers in her mysterious disappearance for over two months. Kirsten was last seen walking away from the Irish Mutt, a local bar, after a night of drinking with her friends. Security cameras last caught her image around 2:00 AM on Saturday, January 2, 2021, walking through the YMCA parking lot at 501 North Shortridge Road, Indianapolis, IN 46219. After months without answers, the family is now offering a $10,000 reward in exchange for information leading to her safe return. Lauth Investigations International has started a GoFundMe on behalf of the family to fund an independent investigation into her disappearance. You can donate to that GoFundMe here.
Kirsten Brueggeman communicated with her mother, Lisa, on the day she went missing, telling her that she wouldn’t need a ride home from work because she intended to meet up with friends at a local bar, The Irish Mutt. Along with several friends, Kirsten left the bar around 12:15 in the morning after a night of merriment. After expressing a desire to go bowling, Kirsten was last seen by her friends headed in the direction of a nearby bowling alley. She was last observed on surveillance camera around 12:20 am.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police department initially reached out to the community in search of clues regarding the missing woman. As the old adage goes, “Someone knows something.” Police were in search of anyone who might have witnessed Kirsten’s movements at crucial junctures in the final moments before she was last seen. The cameras last recorded her image walking south on Shortridge Road in the direction of East Washington Street.
After two months without any answers in her disappearance, Kirsten’s family has retained the services of missing person investigators at Lauth Investigations International. Lauth missing person investigators are in the initial stages of conducting an independent investigation into Kristen’s disappearance. Seeking the expertise of an independent private investigator is not dissimilar to seeking a second opinion when consulting doctors about a medical problem. Having a fresh pair of eyes, or two or three, look over a case is one of the best ways to develop new leads, objectively pursue all existing leads, and develop comprehensive strategies for searches in missing person investigations. Lauth investigators are comprised of former military and law enforcement personnel, and have 30 years of experience in missing person cases.
Kirsten Brueggeman is 5-foot-two-inches tall, weighing about 115 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. When last seen, she was wearing a black, waist-length coat, blue jeans, a gray stocking cap, and she was carrying a white backpack. Anyone with information about Kirsten’s whereabouts should call IMPD Missing Persons at 317-327-6160, or contact Lauth Investigation International’s anonymous tip line at 317-279-6082.
St. Clair County authorities in Michigan have released very few details regarding the investigation into the disappearance and death of a teenager whose remains were discovered last Sunday following a missing person report from her family. Leah Conner, only 16 years old, was discovered by the state police’s canine unit beneath a bridge along a popular hiking trail approximately two miles from her home.
Leah Conner was reported missing last Saturday by her family around 4:45 in the afternoon after she failed to return home from a walk. Leah was a junior at Yale High School. She was a busy team with a diverse list of interests, including cross-country, playing the ukulele, singing, songwriting, and holding a spot on the school’s robotics team. “She had such a beautiful soul,” said Kayla Harris, a family friend, “and I want everyone to know, I want to scream it to the world. She would make you feel very special when she was little. She would give up her toys to another kid to play with. She would rather have you be happy. And that’s how she was with her sisters, too, and her mom. She would just walk through the kitchen and just hug them and say, ‘I love you,’ just because. That is who she was.”
Because the authorities have deemed her death as suspicious, they are not releasing many details regarding the discovery and condition of the body. There is an autopsy planned, according to a statement from the Michigan State Police. “Investigators are still at work on this,” said Lt. Lizabeth Rich of the MSPD. “We aren’t discussing or releasing other details until after an autopsy. Any death in this manner is considered suspicious until an autopsy is completed. But we don’t feel there is any reason for the community to be alarmed. At this time, law enforcement does not feel there is a threat to the public.”
Friends of Leah Conner have set of a Go Fund Me campaign as a memorial for Leah to help pay for costs associated with her funeral, garnering more than $19,000 in only a few short days. Conner is survived by her father, Ian, and four sisters, Hannah, Elizabeth, Keely and Kenzie.
Investigators asked anyone with information about the incident to call the Lapeer State Police post at (810) 664-2905.