To: Thomas Lauth, Private Investigator and parents seeking assistance
From: Liz, mother of Brandon
Date: December 9, 2009
Being the mother of a missing son, was by far the most agonizing and heartwrenching 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 I 8 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 son’s 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,