As much as we’d love to say that all missing person cases are solved by their police investigators, that sadly isn’t so. There is comfort in knowing that numbers of missing person cases have declined since the introduction of portable communication technologies, but still—last year’s data shows us that of the 521,705 missing person cases reported in 2021, more than 20,000 missing person cases remain open.
This can seem like a small percentage until a loved one lands in those statistics. But if you are one of the desperate few who have been told that police can no longer assist, hope remains. A private investigator for missing persons can throw unlimited resources at picking up the trail—even when the authorities have frustratingly deemed it cold. Let’s explore today what to do when the police can’t find a missing person or are unwilling to try, and why sometimes a private investigator can offer more promise than even the authorities.
Why the Police Sometimes Drop the Ball on Missing Persons Cases
For distraught family or friends of someone who has gone missing, it can feel impossible to comprehend why the police might move onto other tasks or show little motivation to locate your loved one. Understanding this challenging reality begins with knowing that the role of the police is to investigate crimes so that they can be prosecuted, while triaging their various roles and responsibilities with finite resources.
As you may well have been reminded, to be missing in itself is not a crime, and even if you feel sure that something untoward has occurred, without evidence, the police may not deem the case worthy of prioritizing. Similarly, if other criminal matters on their call sheet are seen as more pressing, resources may be diverted away from your missing persons case and onto chasing another matter.
The police will likely weigh certain criteria as they make these decisions, such as whether the missing person is a child, elderly, or disabled, and whether suspicious circumstances point to them being at notable risk. But what do you do if the police decide that your teen is simply a runaway, your spouse decided to leave covertly, or there isn’t enough evidence to chase? In these moments, with the right professional assistance and resources, there is still a way to reignite the investigation.
How to Contract a Private Investigator For Missing Persons
When the police can’t find a missing person, you might decide its time to rev up the urgency and recruit a private investigator for missing persons. This type of professional won’t be bound by the law enforcement chain of command and can commit fully to finding your loved one. In any missing person case, time is certainly of the essence, so the right investigator won’t waste a moment before taking action.
When searching for a missing person, not any old private investigator will do. Tracking a person who is missing—whether they were taken or are hiding for an unknown reason—requires a very distinct skillset. Evidence gathering, surveillance capabilities, multi-state licensure and the experience required to take the search international if required are all sensible credentials to seek out. In all of these areas and more, specialists from Lauth Investigations draw upon more than 40 years combined experience in successfully tracking and locating missing persons. Better yet, we are a large but family owned and run operation, dedicated to serving every client with the compassion and urgency that missing persons investigations require. If you would like to consult with our team, reach out today for a no-obligation chat. We will gladly advise you on your options and do everything in our power to find your loved one if you place your faith in us. Learn more about what we do.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office is still searching for 16-year-old Kiely Rodni, who disappeared from a campground in Tahoe, California almost a week ago. Kiely Rodni was last seen at approximately 12:30 AM on August 6 near a campground in Truckee at massive party with more than 200 young adults in attendance. She was reported missing when she failed to turn up for a hike with friends the next morning.
The search has entered its fifth day, with the case being treated as an abduction because Kiely’s silver 2013 Honda CRV is also missing, and her cell phone dropped out of service since her disappearance. Over 260 law enforcement personnel have been canvassing the area to develop leads in Kiely’s disappearance to no avail, but law enforcement believe that someone in the community could still come forward with new information. In a press conference on Wednesday, Nevada County’s Sheriff Office captain Sam Brown told reporters, “We believe that someone knows. Someone saw her but they’re not coming forward.”
Those who attended the party at the campground are being urged by law enforcement to come forward with any information about Kiely’s whereabouts or disappearance. Kiely’s mother, Lindsey Rodni-Nieman also appealed to the public to help her find her daughter, “We are desperate for any other teens to come out and share the last pieces of the story that nobody seems to be able to piece together,” she told the Independent. “If we could just have that piece of the story of who did she leave with, when, which way did she go. I’m imploring the teenagers and the parents of the teenagers.”
Jagger Westfall, Kiely’s boyfriend has also revealed details about their last interaction together—that he told her to avoid doing “anything stupid” during her night at the campground, and adding that he has previous taught her how to protect herself and “get out of sticky situations.” Despite his belief that Kiely is still alive somewhere, Westfall also told The Independent that he’s desperate for confirmation, “I really need her back. I really just need to know that she’s safe, that’s all I need at this point. I really want to hug her again…I don’t know where she is. We don’t have anything to go off of at this point. But I fully believe that she’s alive and well.”
It can be difficult to imagine the sort of person who would take advantage of a family in their time of need. What sort of person would attempt to make a quick buck exploiting vulnerable people when they are in crisis? Unfortunately, It’s not unheard of when it comes to missing person cases. Desperate families fall victim to missing person scams perpetrated by criminals looking to make a quick buck. Families of missing persons must be vigilant of those who would help them search for their loved one for a price.
Vickie Metcalf was like many mothers with missing children when her daughter Alissa went missing 2015—desperate for answers. Unfortunately, she would also fall victim to one of many missing person scams. Alissa Freeman went missing on her 18th birthday when she disappeared while taking out the trash. At the time, Alissa was listed as an endangered missing person as investigators believed her to be in immediate danger. It wasn’t long after Alissa disappeared that VIckie received a Facebook message from a woman who claimed to have seen a woman matching her daughter’s description working as a sexworker in Atlanta, Georgia. Her fears exacerbated with the possibility of her daughter being trafficked, Vickie was willing to entertain the woman’s plan of buying Alissa from the traffickers for the total price of $70,000. However, this claim turned out to be false when the FBI was able to determine that the IP address associated with the messages was traced back to a Russian extortion ring with scores of Facebook accounts created for scamming the victims.
It’s also common for missing person scams to be carried out through the United States Postal Service. Through the U.S. mail, there was a scam perpetrated by an individual who claimed to run a “recovery bureau” who claimed to find missing persons and reunite them with their loved ones. A California man became the victim of the so-called recovery bureau when they contacted him claiming that they could locate his former wife and children. When the man traveled to Michigan to meet with a representative of the recovery bureau, his suspicions were aroused when he was prompted to hand over $20,000 before any information was given about his missing family. Postal Inspectors were able to conclude that the ex-wife and children had never been in Michigan, and the representative had no information on their whereabouts.
No matter what the circumstances, missing person scams can be devastating to families in trying times. Unsolicited offers from third-parties to help find missing loved ones should always be met with a healthy level of scrutiny. When these parties make promises of finding loved ones for a price, families should report this behavior to the authorities to verify their information and legitimacy. Families of missing persons hoping to launch an independent investigation should only seek the assistance of a licensed missing person investigator.
If you need help finding a missing person, contact Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on how we can help you find answers in the case of your missing loved one. Call 317-951-1100 or visit us online at www.lauthmissingpersons.com.
A TikToker with over 10,000 followers was the subject of a missing person investigation following a report made by her parents with the Coshocton County Sheriff’s office. Georjlyn Hayes, 20, had been missing since July 12, following a realization by her family that she was not in Columbus or Cincinnati, but had posted a TikTok of her being stranded in Kentucky instead.
In an effort to assist her daughter, Brenda Hayes sent money to the missing Tiktoker through CashApp, but was alerted when the payment was received by someone in a different time zone. Hayes told NBC4 that a girl who was not her daughter had been answering Georjlyn’s phone, and the outgoing voicemail message had been changed to a person named Cory. Since she’s been missing, friends and family have been attempting to contact Georjlyn through various forms of social media, asking questions only she would know the answers to—and getting incorrect responses. Calling out the mystery user has only resulted in blocked profiles and radio silence.
A particularly haunting aspect of the missing Tiktoker’s disappearance has been her previous experience involved in another missing person case. Back in 2018, Georjlyn was part of the search party for Sammy Walters, a 15-year-old boy who was discovered floating in a pond in Coshocton County. Georjlyn worked with the organization Golden Hearts, a Voice for the Voiceless. The same organization was called in to help search for Georjlyn. Its founder, Lena Wilson, told NBC4, “Our concern is that when someone is reported missing and dropped out of sight things may go from search to find the missing person to all-too-often a recovery effort, not a search any longer. We are hoping and praying this case ends with her being found and safe.”
However, investigators were able to confirm last week that they did find Georjlyn Hayes in Columbus. She is back in touch with her family and has been declared safe.
Investigators and volunteers alike have been scouring the White River area of downtown Indianapolis in search of a father who disappeared with his three children last Wednesday. The IMPD missing persons unit is asking the public’s help in locating Kyle Moorman, 27, and his three young children, Kyle, Kyannah, and Kyran, all of whom are under the age of six.
The last time the family heard from Kyle Moorman and his children was when they pulled away from the 1000 block of South Sherman Drive in Indianapolis, driving a 2009 black Saab with green headlights. According to the family, Kyle told them he was taking the kids fishing with him around 11:00 PM on Wednesday night—not exactly an unheard-of tact in the world of fishing sports. Still, Kyle‘s family reported that he did not pack diapers, clothes, or crucial medications that were prescribed to his children. They fear at least of the children may be in medical distress and in need of assistance.
While the IMPD missing person unit continues their search for the father and his children, the family continues to press forward in their own search. A search of Kyle’s known fishing spots was conducted along the White River, while other parties began to fan out into the area in search of anything that could help bring investigators that much closer to the location of Kyle and the children.
Kyle Moorman is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs 125 pounds. He has brown hair and hazel eyes.
His son, Kyle Moorman II, is 3 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 40 pounds. He has blonde hair and blue eyes.
Kyannah is 2 feet tall and weighs about 15 pounds. Investigators say she has blonde hair and blue eyes. Kyannah was last seen wearing a striped pink and blue romper.
Kyran is 2 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 25 pounds. Kyran has blonde hair and blue eyes. Kyran was last seen wearing a diaper and a striped shirt.
IMPD is asking anyone with information to call 911 immediately. You can also call the IMPD Missing Persons Unit at 317-327-6160 or call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477 or (TIPS).
There is a crisis growing in the realm of criminal justice and missing persons. According to Statista, as of the beginning of 2022, there were 521,705 missing person files in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. As changes in criminal patterns continue to emerge in the thick of the pandemic, the problem is projected to get worse as law enforcement resources are drawn elsewhere. However, experts have proffered that one of the best solutions to the growing crisis is a similar, highly-accessible database to NCIC known as the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) . However, the glaring roadblock is the underutilization by law enforcement. So what are the major differences between NCIC and NamUs?
One of the chief differences between NCIC and NamUs is the level of access to the public. The National Missing and Unidentified Persons Systems is a federally-funded online database for missing, unidentified, and unclaimed persons in the United States. While NCIC is only available to authorized law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, NamUs has varying levels of access that allow everyone from law enforcement to private citizens. Law enforcement and criminal justice agencies have the same respective level of access afforded to them in NCIC, but with NamUs, families of missing persons can also enter their loved one’s information into the database. Because NamUs is a database that aggregates information from law enforcement, criminal justice agencies, coroners, and families of missing persons, it’s often regarded by cold case experts as one of the greatest resources available to law enforcement and other investigating agencies. The shocking part? It is one of the most underutilized resources available to law enforcement.
There is no federal or state mandate that compels law enforcement and criminal justice agencies to enter information from their open missing person cases into NamUs. There have been repeated effort to pass legislation in this matter from cold case experts who wish to see the database—people like Dr. Erin Kimmerle, a leading expert in cold cases who runs the Florida Institute of Forensic Anthropology and Applied Science at the University of South Florida. She says that law enforcement must be utilizing NamUs, because not only are the state and national databases often out of date, but NamUs actually allows users to submit pictures and DNA samples from the public that can help law enforcement narrow the search, “It’s huge and a lot of cases get solved that way. Someone sees something they recognize, an afgan blanket or a sweater.”
Across the U.S., only ten states require law enforcement to use NamUs. States like Florida are still permitting law enforcement to enter data into NamUs on a voluntary basis. According to Kimmerle, the idea of it being voluntary leaves the quality of data entry wanting, “When it’s voluntary, there’s information in there, but not all the information, so you’re really limited, especially when it comes to unidentified persons. We have to know who we’re looking for.”