We’re dedicated to providing your family with answers in your time of crisis.
Missing Persons and Unsolved Homicides
Unsolved homicides often start out as missing person cases. A loved one doesn’t come home when expected, or stops calling and cannot be reached. A report is made and an investigation ensues with little progress. In a tragic turn of events, their remains might be found, or they might be declared legally deceased by law enforcement. Any outcome other than the missing person’s safe return leaves a family and friends behind without answers. At Lauth, we’re passionate about finding those answers for your family and connecting you with resources for families of missing persons.
After 30 years in private investigations, Thomas Lauth and his qualified team of missing person investigators know the toll that unsolved homicides can take on families. Police departments with jurisdiction do their best under the best of circumstances, but sometimes they are simply ill-equipped to handle the demand of unsolved homicides.
The first thing to consider is the caseload of most law enforcement agencies. From the moment an initial report is made, in both criminal and missing persons cases, law enforcement have the meticulous and overwhelming task of gathering evidence to build a case that will secure justice on behalf of the victims and the state. Crime scenes need to be mined for evidence by medical examiners and crime scene technicians. Detectives and other investigators need to canvass witnesses—sometimes dozens of people—in the area who might have seen or heard something. Now imagine the workload of one case multiplied by 40 or 50 times. This gives the perpetrator ample time to make an escape and further complicate the search. The trail goes cold, leads try up, witnesses disappear. All of these things can be death by a thousand cuts for a homicide investigation, leading to its permanent residency in the cold case files. To prevent this, many families hire a private investigator or other kind of independent investigator to conduct an investigation in tandem with law enforcement to ensure that no stone is left unturned.
When law enforcement believes they have exhausted all leads and have yet to find the missing person, the missing person might be declared legally dead. This was the case of Kristen Smart, who went missing from her college campus in 1996. After years of searching for her, she was officially declared dead in 2005, almost ten years later. Declared deceased or otherwise, Lauth missing person investigators know that doesn’t give families answers. We continue searching for your missing loved one until we can give you the answers you need to find peace.
Hiring a Private Investigator
When you hire a private investigator to take a look at your loved one’s case, you get the benefit of a fresh pair of eyes. Police detectives can develop professional biases or tunnel vision while working on a homicide case. Leads and witnesses may go unexplored as law enforcement applies its main theory of the case, and eventually disappear. That’s why some families opt to have an independent investigator take a look at their missing loved one’s case.
Independent investigators, like private investigators and missing person investigators, are independent of a system that has historically failed families with faulty procedure and methodology. They have no departmental bias, or inherent conflicts of interest. They have no loyalty to a chain of command that might otherwise preclude them from investigating certain leads. They use very similar tools as law enforcement to generate leads. They have similar education and training in gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, analyzing crime scenes, and tracking potential suspects.
Another compelling advantage for private investigators might initially sound like a disadvantage: Private investigators have no powers of arrest. It seems counter-intuitive that a private investigator may use the same tools as law enforcement, ask the same questions, and may even come to the same conclusion as law enforcement without the ability to arrest a suspect for the crime. However, the case of 5 year-old Lucas Hernandez showcased exactly why a private investigator—and their inability to arrest—broke the case wide open.
Little Lucas was reportedly last seen at his home in early 2018, when he was in the care of his stepmother, Emily Glass. Glass told law enforcement that Lucas had been laying down to take a nap, and when she went to check on him, he was missing from his bed in broad daylight. A search was conducted for Lucas near the home and near his school, but no qualified leads emerged. What did become apparent was that Emily Glass was abusing drugs, and may have been passed out at the time of Lucas’s disappearance. It became the belief of many that Lucas had simply wandered off, unsupervised. As suspicion swirled about Glass and her involvement in her stepson’s disappearance, police were unable to conclusively tie her to the crime without his remains. Glass was not cooperating with police, leaving Lucas’s family with nothing but questions. However, it was finally a private investigator who got Glass to break her silence in the case. Glass led private investigator, Jim Murray, of Star Investigations to her stepson’s remains, which she hid under a bridge nearby. Murray told KMBC News in Kansas, “We’re less of a threat sometimes to people that we’re talking to because we have no powers of arrest,” said Jim. “We can’t arrest them.” This could explain why Emily Glass finally led a private investigator to Lucas’s body, because she knew they could not put handcuffs on her in that moment.
At Lauth, we’ve been dedicated to providing your family with answers for over 30 years. We’ve helped families across the nation get justice for their murdered loved one, and helped law enforcement close cases that would have otherwise remained open. We are not interested in profiting from your family’s tragedy, and therefore, only charge flat fees for our missing person cases. With Lauth, you get the comprehensive, due-diligence your loved one deserves, along with bulletproof integrity and detailed reports so your family can get closure at last. We regularly network with other missing person nonprofits, who provide support to families with missing loved ones in crisis.