Free Private Investigators. What You Should Know!

Free Private Investigators. What You Should Know!

Free Private Investigator - Free consultation
California Based – Serving States Nationally!

Martin Investigative Services

Free Private Investigator

If you are looking for free private investigators, that’s fine, but consider a few essential points.

  1. Does the Private Investigator have a State License Number
  2. How long have they been a private investigator
  3. Does the Private Investigator have a team, or are they a solo investigation service?

It is imperative to select a private investigator who can show they can show up in court and that their methods are on par with proper investigative techniques.

From the Desk of Thomas Martin

Free Private Investigator

If you are looking for free private investigators, that’s fine, but consider a few essential points.

  1. Does the Private Investigator have a State License Number
  2. How long have they been a private investigator
  3. Does the Private Investigator have a team, or are they a solo investigation service?

It is imperative to select a private investigator who can show they can show up in court and that their methods are on par with proper investigative techniques.

Cheap Private Investigator Near Me

Here at Martin Investigative Services, we offer a free and private consultation. After 50 years of assisting in surveillance, finding missing persons, locating assets, and corporate investigation services, we know how to protect your financial needs.

How Much Does a Private investigator Cost

Many people who require a private detective are rightly concerned about cost. Private Investigators who are worth their salt, quite frankly, do not do free investigations. A professional private investigation service ensures 100% follow-up, and here at MartinPI, that is your primary objective.

Here is a partial list that we will go over for you on our initial free consultation.

  1. Free Case Analysis
  2. Free Investigation strategy
  3. Free consultation with Law Enforcement

When choosing a private investigator, ask the right questions.

Whether or not you choose Martin Investigative Services, ask the right questions so you can hire a private investigator worth their salt. In speaking with Tom Martin, the best Orange County private investigator, he will determine your investigative needs and ensure your answer promptly while being cost-effective. Tom Martin’s professional manner is courteous, and he will listen to the details and choose the legal action you need to take.

Is a private investigator licensed?

California is one of the more demanding states concerning the requirements for private investigators. Currently, California requires the following to become a private investigator:

  • A criminal history background check through the California Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • 6,000 hours of fieldwork
  • Passing a California administered test

Tom Martin has been working as a private detective for 50 years and has mastered the latest technology while offering free consultations. Your situation is kept as a private matter and all sensitive information is submitted to you and we keep nothing.

Does the private investigator have a background in law enforcement?

A good private investigation company in California will have a background in law enforcement and many years of professional private investigation experience.

Martin Investigative Services has performed background checks, private investigation, surveillance and bug sweeps for our clients.  They have also served difficult process in lawsuits.  They have performed unquestionably and unfailingly to perfection.  We will always call Martin first – and hope he hasn’t been called yet by the other side!

Lisa & Bruce Hughes

Hughes and Hughes, LLP


Set Up a Private and free consultation

The most common surveillance services we perform involve:

  • If you suspect your husband, wife, or partner of infidelity, we can help you prove or disprove your suspicions. If we catch a cheating spouse, the proof can help save you money, help with child custody, and undue burden during legal / divorce proceedings.
  • For companies that suspect an employee of internal theft, embezzlement, vandalism or fraud, we provide employee surveillance.
  • We provide workers comp surveillance to weed out fraudulent worker’s compensation claims.

Find a Missing Person | family | friend

Needing to find a person, a long lost friend, an adult family member?

We know the angst sometimes a lost person brings to a family.  After 50 years of service, we have the knowledge to digitally search at the deepest levels.  Finding someone who doesn’t want to be found is a daunting task.  Here at Martin Private Investigations, we are equipped with the largest databases to help you, find who you’re looking for.

Private investigator to find someone

We have found thousands of missing people.  We search high and low to help find loved ones.

Our private investigators have helped thousands of people trying to locate someone.

Asset Search | Property | accounts

Types Of Asset Searches We Conduct

Be sure nothing is left uncovered when MartinPI conducts an asset search at the start of the investigation process.

Our financial investigations do the following:

  • We research billions of records, not always available in public databases.

Here at MartinPI, we have access to the deepest of databases.  Asset search takes time and dedication. We have thousands of asset searches with great success.  Start and Call (800) 577-1080.


Need to bug sweep your property? If you are a home owner or business owner, learn about the following:

The professional name for a bug sweep is an electronic surveillance detection sweep. This is a full-scale inspection that is performed in 3 phases over 2 days.

Bug sweep service is important to not only find the bugs that may be hidden, but to find the people that planted them in the first place! We guarantee that we will find any and all eavesdropping or camera devices secreted in your home or workplace.

Our private investigators are former Federal agents that have decades of experience with these situations.


Performed and reviewed by former Federal agents.

These days, there are a number of companies and web sites that perform background checks.

More often than not these services offer results of mixed quality by using dated sources that provide only pieces of information, with no quality assurance or professional review.

When you get a background check at Martin Investigative Services, we use the largest database of public information in the United States.

Equally important: Your results are personally reviewed by private investigators who are former supervisory Federal agents.

Surveillance Services

Set Up a Private and free consultation

The most common surveillance services we perform involve:

  • If you suspect your husband, wife, or partner of infidelity, we can help you prove or disprove your suspicions. If we catch a cheating spouse, the proof can help save you money, help with child custody, and undue burden during legal / divorce proceedings.
  • For companies that suspect an employee of internal theft, embezzlement, vandalism or fraud, we provide employee surveillance.
  • We provide workers comp surveillance to weed out fraudulent worker’s compensation claims.

Mexico Investigative Services

Do you need Mexico Investigative Services to find a loved one?  Our team of private investigators can help too.

Our Mexico team is made up of former Supervisory Federal agents who have actually been assigned in Mexico during their Federal careers. Some of these investigators have actually taught the Mexican Federal Police. By combining investigators living and stationed in Mexico with US-based investigators that were given these teaching assignments, we provide investigation in Mexico that is unsurpassed within the current investigative establishment.

Corporate Investigation

Stop employee theft.

Do you think your employees are stealing from you? Do you suspect them of illegal activities at work? Are they sleeping on the job?

There is a relatively simple solution to your problem: Our interrogation and interview services get results quickly.  All information gathered is court-admissible.

Prevent corporate espionage.

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, corporate espionage is commonplace.

We offer full investigations that maintain the integrity of your business security, and include bug sweepssurveillanceinterrogations of employees, employee fraud investigations and more.

Private investigation excellence

The private investigators of Martin Investigative Services are former Federal agents that are experts at providing you proof that is admissible as evidence in a court of law.

Investigators have extensive experience in investigative law and reporting techniques, background investigationssurveillanceinterrogationfraud investigation and litigation issues, and information searches.

Martin Investigative Services gathers only court-admissible evidence and all investigators are considered experts in a court of law.

Let Us help you Bring Your peace back!

Martin Investigative Services - PI Near Me
“Our team of private investigators are are ready to help you. Your privacy is important to us! Serving states nationally.

MartinPI is the Right Private Investigation Team

We Understand the Harsh Reality When Someone is Invading Your Privacy. You Can Stop it Today!
Speak with Thomas Martin today. Our team of private investigators have years of professional experience in finding bugs and the parties responsible for planting them.  Any and all evidence we collect is done so in a fully court-admissible manner – so if you need to go to trial with your case, the evidence will stand up.
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Finding Deadbeat Dads – Learn What to Know About Spousal Support

Finding Deadbeat Dads – Learn What to Know About Spousal Support

Finding Deadbeat Dads
Not Paying Child support

How to Find a Deadbeat Dad

One of the most common requests to come into our offices is to find people who purposefully go missing. Many women are trying to find the father of their children who skipped out and does not want to pay child support, and we’re here to help.

Fleeing from responsibility does not free them from that responsibility.

Call (800) 577-1080 for a Background Check- no-fee consultation

How to Find a Deadbeat Dad

In those cases, we will find out where the deadbeat dad works. Once locating the company, the authorities can take money from his wages to pay for the support. In addition to helping women collect child support, they need to care for their children. We can help women looking for alimony payments they were promised.

When we are trying to find out where the individual works, we will first use our main computer system, a proprietary system that can make it easy to find nearly anyone. It contains all of the publicly available information on the web, but it lets us access this data quickly. Cross-referencing this data with other information from the state, city, and county records gives us a good indication of where the person is working.

This works in about 40% of the cases, and it takes very little time to complete.

Of course, you are probably wondering what happens to the 60% of cases where the system doesn’t find where the person works. In those cases, finding out where he works takes a little more time, but it is possible. It entails surveillance of the subject.

Once we know where he stays or where he currently lives, we can tail him and follow him to work. This lets you know exactly where he is making his money, and we can provide photo and video evidence for you to use with the DA and the courts.


No one gets into a relationship with someone thinking that it will end poorly. However, that happens with many relationships, and the children often suffer from it. Fathers who skip out on their children and do not want to pay to help raise them need to be taken to task and brought to justice.

While everyone may go through difficult times, and it might sometimes be hard to pay, there is no reason to hide over it. Talking it over with the courts can help people come to an arrangement.

Lest you think that only deadbeat dads are the ones who are out there and hiding their place of employment, so they do not have to pay, quite a few others are trying to do the same. While it is far rarer, some mothers who have to pay child support may attempt to hide their workplace. In other cases, someone who has to pay out toward a judgment against them will attempt to conceal their workplace, so they do not have to pay. Some may even try to enter into arrangements with employers, so they are paid under the table and illegally.

We will help to find those individuals as well. Our highly trained and experienced investigators can help you find nearly anyone, no matter where they might be trying to hide.

Fleeing from responsibility does not free them from that responsibility. If you need help finding out where someone works so he can be made to pay for their children or another judgment against them; you can count on us. For a free consultation, all you have to do is send an email or call us today. We are ready and willing to help.

Assets can be hidden in:

  • Offshore accounts
  • Stocks
  • Corporations that can’t be touched
  • Safety deposit boxes
  • Mortgages
  • Bank accounts
  • Employers
  • Boats, cars, planes
  • Family gifts
  • Transferring assets to family
  • Gifts to friends
  • Hiding businesses under illegal names

Find a Missing Person | family | friend

Needing to find a person, a long lost friend, an adult family member?

Asset Searches | Property | accounts

Types Of Asset Searches We Conduct


Need to bug sweep your property? If you are a home owner or business owner, learn more.


Performed and reviewed by former Federal agents.

Client Testimonials

I’ve represented individuals and businesses (international and local) for close to fifty years, and I’ve called on Martin Investigative Services more times than I can count, often on a rush basis, for help throughout the world, on a number of different types of assignments.  I’ve never been disappointed.  I’ve always received swift, cost-effective and USEFUL information, which has wound up “saving the bacon” of our clients and making us shine in their eyes.  I recommend them without any reservation.

Peter M. Callahan

Attorney at Law Callahan Thompson Sherman & Caudill, LLP

Martin Investigative Services is truly one of the best run organizations we have worked with. Fair, efficient and professional. Tom Martin in particular exudes confidence and experience and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. That’s something we can rely on.

Marcia Bankoff

Organizational Resources Specialist, Kreative Webworks, Inc.

Successful people know that to be the best, you model the best. I cannot recommend Martin PI any higher! In a five-minute conversation with experienced people you can save thousands by bypassing sales types. They do this by cutting directly to the heart based on years and years of passionate pursuit of best practices and adding massive value to their clients. They are an invaluable part of my team and Tom is my most valued mentor!

Jason Sisneros

Author of Destiny's Doorstep

Martin Investigative Services has performed background checks, private investigation, surveillance and bug sweeps for our clients.  They have also served difficult process in lawsuits.  They have performed unquestionably and unfailingly to perfection.  We will always call Martin first – and hope he hasn’t been called yet by the other side!

Lisa & Bruce Hughes

Hughes and Hughes, LLP

We have used Martin Investigative Services for three decades. Their work is exemplary; reports are perfect and their testimony is very professional, with great judge and jury appeal. We will not use anyone else for our investigations.

Steven Silverstein

Former Orange County Trial Lawyer, Association Trial Lawyer of the Year

It has been my pleasure to work with Martin Investigative Services over the past 30 plus years on many investigations as well as other security related matters.  When I need answers and I need them fast I know that a simple call will get me answers that are succinct, current and coming from a supremely knowledgeable source.

Bill Bancroft

President & CEO Patrol One

The Pros and Cons of a Private Investigator Career

The Pros and Cons of a Private Investigator Career

Being a PI

A highly-decorated former DEA agent 

Seeing Life Through Private Eyes

Secrets from America’s Top Investigator to Living Safer, Smarter, and Saner

The second book by Thomas G. Martin. Now available.

Life is full of obstacles, and in today’s complicated, hyper-connected world we are all seeking to gain insight and knowledge that will allow us to take charge of our own safety and well-being. As a highly-decorated former DEA agent and leading private investigator, Thomas G. Martin has seen every kind of trouble there is. In Seeing Life Through Private Eyes he provides a wealth of experience, insider information and valuable advice to readers of every background navigating life’s inevitable challenges.

Domestic difficulties and divorce, adoption and runaways, background checks and corporate espionage, home protection and traveling wisely; whatever your issue, Seeing Life Through Private Eyes offers the secrets to living smarter, safer and more securely. And just as a good investigator should, it guarantees readers the most valuable feeling of all: peace of mind.

Pros and Cons of Becoming a Private Investigator

For the prospective PI of the future, let me bottom-line what I see as the pros and cons of becoming a PI.

Do you think you would make a good private investigator?

Do you think having women’s intuition or a man’s gut feel will help you in the world of investigations? Do other people tell you that you would make a great private eye? Do you think you are really good at being sneaky?

All of these things may be of some value at times, but in and of themselves, they are certainly no reason to pursue an investigative career.

Almost every day, someone calls my offices and asks our duty agent How do I become a PI? or How do I get a PI license? I’ve actually written a couple posts about this:

Let alone the fact you can Google this information, the point is, the practical “how to” steps to take are out there and available to anyone.  (I’ll even talk a little more about getting licensed later in this post.)

I think what some of these callers want to glean is something more personal… perhaps what they want to know is What is it like to be a PI?  This entire blog attempts to be fairly realistic about that, so you can go through and read the past six years of posts at your leisure.  There are currently over 300 posts.

If you simply want some of the bigger, more romantic cases, I’ve even made videos about those.  But as I’ve written before, know that much of PI work is sheer drudgery, involving hours upon hours of surveillance, interviews and computer work.

Beyond all these things, I think I have some further perspective: I’m approaching my 49th investigative anniversary of being an investigator (12 years as a federal agent 37 as a and private investigator).  So, for the prospective PI of the future, let me bottom-line what I see as…

The pros and cons of becoming a PI


  1. There are over 100,000 private investigators currently in the United States.
  2. Almost every retired law enforcement personnel gives some thought to getting their PI license.
  3. Many current law enforcement agents and officers are thinking about quitting their current jobs and seeking a career as a PI.
  4. No PI agency will put you on their payroll for three years (for most States) so you can glean enough experience to sit for your license.
  5. Without a PI license, you will not succeed.
  6. If you don’t know how to contact the Bureau in your State that licenses PI’s to obtain an informational packet, then forget this line of work.
  7. There are no PI schools or course that you can take that will enable you to sit for your PI license.
  8. Do not call the top agencies and advised them you will work for free or whether there are internships available as these are not options.
  9. If you have no business acumen, then seek another path.
  10. If you have no “street-smarts” or intrinsically don’t know what that means, then you are not a good fit for the industry.


  1. The work is fantastically different every day.
  2. When you awake in the morning, you never know where you might be at nightfall.
  3. There is plenty of room for new PI’s if they can crack the requirements of licensing.
  4. There is a tremendous void and need for females in our industry.
  5. You can become full-service or specialize in one of the four main genres in our world of corporations, attorneys, insurance companies or the public.
  6. There is no limit to your salary and you can easily earn more than lawyers, doctors and accountants.
  7. You will work with the top-echelon individuals throughout corporate America, the insurance industry and the legal community.
  8. Once established, you can choose you own hours and cases you want to work.
  9. The work can be very rewarding and gratifying.
  10. The body and canvas of what you do and where you work are only limited by your personal skills and marketing techniques.

Practical matters: Getting licensed

Let me use my home State of California as an example for one to be licensed. You first would call the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services in Sacramento and request an information packet on obtaining your PI license. That packet would basically advise that you must have 6,000 documented investigative hours (2,000 a year, 50 weeks times a 40 hour work week, for three years). If you have a degree, the requirements could be lowered to 4,000 hours.

So yes, there is the problem unless you are coming out of the law enforcement community. How do I get my hours if no one will hire me as a trainee? Your best bet is to probably consider starting with a law enforcement agency. In some States, you can work for one attorney only without being licensed to build up your hours. Most attorneys have no need for a full-time investigator. It has been my experience, that the few attorneys who will even consider this option will do so only at minimum wage.

As I approach the end of the fourth quarter of my career, I strongly encourage all of you considering a PI career to do so with all your spirit be it physically, mentally, academically, spiritually or professionally. There are many con men out there trying to get your money for schooling and the “PI Certificate.” That is why I try to be completely transparent and candid here. Although the path to a PI license is arduous and time-consuming, if you know the rules the rewards far out distance the obstacles.

Finally, my second book, Seeing Life Through Private Eyes is now available in hardcover or Kindle. It will also be out in paperback on September 15, 2018. If you want more insights on this line of work, start from the beginning: Chapter 1, The Life of a PI.

One of the reviewers of the book stated, “This book is an invaluable and fascinating comprehensive real-life guide to the life and work of a private investigator. It should be required reading for the 100,000+ private investigators in the country today and all those considering a career in this field.”

This story was originally posted on August 28, 2018.

Can You Identify People Photographed By Serial Killer Rodney Alcala?

Can You Identify People Photographed By Serial Killer Rodney Alcala?

Rodney Alcala Pictures

Looking for Rodney Acala Pictures?  We created this post to help us find out who are these women.  Here are the Rodney Alcala photographs.

Update: Saturday, July 24, 2021: 77 year-old Rodney Alcala died of natural causes.

Serial killer Rodney Alcala was convicted of murdering seven women. But detectives at the Huntington Beach Police Department suspect he’s killed many more than that.

In the 1970’s, Alcala was a photographer.  He took hundreds of portraits of women and children.

In 1979, police discovered a storage unit full of photos.

In 2010, police released 120 of the photos to the public – in hopes of identifying the subjects in the photos.

As of September 2019, 109 out of 120 of the subjects in these photos are still unidentified.

If you want to take a few moments to look through the gallery found here, keep in mind that the photos are now over 40 years old.

If you recognize anyone in the photos, please contact Sgt. Sam Shepherd at the Huntington Beach Police Department: (714) 536-5947.

This story was originally posted on January 14, 2021.

Find a Missing Person | family | friend

Needing to find a person, a long lost friend, an adult family member?

Asset Search | Property | accounts

Types Of Asset Searches We Conduct


Need to bug sweep your property? If you are a home owner or business owner, learn more.


Performed and reviewed by former Federal agents.

Finding Deadbeat Dads – Learn What to Know About Spousal Support

Reconnection Club: Locate Your Adult Child

Thomas G. Martin appeared on the Reconnection Club’s Podcast to discuss how to find an adult child that you’ve lost touch with.  The interview was released on March 9, 2020.

Call for a Free Private Consultation

(800) 577-1080

A transcript of the interview follows:

Tina: Hello. This is Tina Gilbertson, founder and host of Reconnection Club dot com, an online home for parents of estranged adult children. And today, I’m talking with Thomas Martin, president of Martin Investigative Services of Newport Beach, California. Tom is a former federal agent with the DEA, and for the past 38 years, has been the president of his own private investigation agency. He has extensive experience in the field of investigation. But today, he’s just going to be talking with us about how to go about finding an adult child you’ve lost touch with. So, Tom, I wanna thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today.

Thomas: Well, you’re welcome, Tina. Thanks for inviting me.

Tina: Maybe you’d like to tell us a little bit about what you do before I start launching questions at you.

Thomas: Well, I started out as a federal agent with the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in 1969. And as you mentioned in the introduction, that agency turned into the Drug Enforcement Administration, and I was an agent with them for 12 years. And I was injured in 1981, and decided to start a private investigative agency. I didn’t know too much about any other career. I was a fairly decent investigator in those days. So, I figured that this would be the place to migrate my limited skills at that time. And so, at the time, I had two young kids, and I decided that I would take any case that I could get. And we kinda became full service.

And when I left the Department of Justice, they didn’t let me take any of their computers. Go figure that. So, I started my own, and in the summer of 1981 with a floppy disk. And that has now turned into pretty much a world-class database of information that we use for locating people: asset searches, backgrounds, et cetera. So, there’s not too much we don’t do. I’m very fortunate that I have a staff of about 20 people, and they’re former FBI, DEA, IRS, and Secret Service. So, it’s a pretty good outfit.

Tina: Wow. Heavy hitters.

Thomas: Well, we got a couple knuckleheads. As a group, as a whole, it’s pretty good.

Tina: Well, let’s hope that most of the people listening will never need to hire you. Some of them might want to find their kid though, and be thinking about hiring you. But from what you and I have talked about a little bit before we started this interview, it seems that there are things that people might be able to do by themselves just initially, and possibly get in touch with their adult children by themselves. Can you give us some ideas of how people can get started if they no longer know where their child lives?

Thomas: Well, there’s two things that I would recommend to your audience. And these are things that they can do, and it’ll take a little bit of time, little bit of reading, some research. But it will not cost them any money. They will not need to retain our services. So, the company that I referred to earlier that is one of the world’s largest database of public information is called U.S. Unite. I came up with that name because we were trying to unite people around the country, whether they be missing persons locates, or adults and children who have just become disconnected for a variety of reasons, of which you’re very aware and I don’t need to go into.

So, the first thing that I decided to do is that we have this wealth of information, but there’s also now this thing called the Internet. And as that kinda progressed, I remember in the early ’80s or late ’80s, I went to my office one day, and I said, “I wonder if this thing called the Internet is gonna stick around. I don’t know too much about it.” Anyway, I started going on there, as most people did in those days, and I found there were certain sites that you could use to actually find people, and maybe look for assets, or maybe do backgrounds. So, to cut to the chase, there is a website that your audience can go to. It’s called 888 U.S. Unite.

You can also call that number, and we will try to guide you as best we can at no charge. So, you have the ability to go to the website or to call us. I would request maybe that you go to the website. It’s a pretty simple, straightforward website that gives you clear and precise things that you can do to locate your children, and in this case, your adult children, because everybody in our system has to be over 18. Most of the cases that I have worked that are involved with adult children and their parents, they’re pretty easy to find, and you shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money. We can get to that point a little bit later. But on 888 U.S. Unite, read that.

You should be able to locate your adult children, who are in quote mainstream America. Plus, you probably have the three most important things: their date of birth, their Social Security number, or their last known address within 10 years. So, that’s a good site. Secondarily, my first book called If You Only Knew. We put it online, and that book is online also for free. You can go there and read it, and the website is Investigator Confidential dot com. And if you go to there, you’ll see the website lays out all 16 chapters. And if you go to chapter two, you’ll see fairly extensive writings about finding missing persons. And when I say missing persons, your audience, they may not be missing versus missing in action.

They’re just not speaking with one another. So, that chapter in there has a lot of tips. So, between the two, a lot of information, a lot of data. Happy to put it out there. And we get a lot of people sending us notes and emails. Yeah, I found my father, or I found my son. I found my daughter thanks to the tips on there, et cetera.

Tina: Great.

Thomas: And then the third thing you can do is if you get nowhere on that, then you can simply call us. And we can shoot you some emails and our corporate brochure, then you decide if you want to use us. And we’re a very transparent agency. Everything we do, we put it in an email, tell you what we’re gonna do, how long it’s gonna take, what’s it gonna cost. Our locate charge, if you’re not successful, is $350.00 flat rate. And the results come back in 24 hours.

Tina: And that’s if the parent has already gone to 888 U.S. Unite or read that book and chapter two and has been unsuccessful.

Thomas: Right. And there’s no sense spending money first. I mean, I think I might’ve mentioned in our talk before the interview that some private investigators don’t understand why I would put all this good information out there. Well, first of all, it’s the right thing to do. And second of all, a lot of people don’t have $350.00, and can use the information, and can use these websites. And so, all we’re doing are just kinda directing them to where to go.

Tina: Right, and that’s great. What are the odds, do you think, of a parent finding their child just using the website and the resources there?

Thomas: Well, great question. With your audience, I would say if we had 100 parents ask us to look for their adult children using one of the three things I mentioned before, the date of birth, Social Security number, or last known address, we find about 99% of the people we look for.

Tina: Wow. That’s really good. That’s if you guys are doing the work, or if the parent is looking at the website themselves?

Thomas: Well, that’s if we do the work. If the parent is doing it, depending on what information they have, and I don’t want your audience mad at me, but you’d be surprised how many parents don’t actually have a Social Security number of their child. Or two, they have a date of birth, but they’re not sure about the month and day. They remember the year they gave birth, but they don’t remember the month or the day. And then some have been in this kinda fractious relationship for more than 10 years. And sometimes, those addresses get a little stale after 10 years. But I think having worked with a number of parents, from a street point of view, and find their kids, we’re not talking now about somebody with drugs, or alcohol, or mental illness.

This is more of a emotional and spiritual disconnect, and they’re out there. And some people don’t wanna take the time. Some people don’t wanna be bothered with it. Some people don’t wanna go to all the Internets. And then some people really do – this is where we come in – really do need help once they find their adult child. And they get an address off the Internet, whether it’s my site, whether it’s from the book, and their child’s at 123 Main Street. Well, they’ll probably call on Tina, say, “What do I do now?” Because what do you do now?

And the worst thing they can do – and I’m talking as just a private investigator who’s been on the streets for, as an investigator, almost 50 years – the two worst people to try to put this thing together would be the mom and dad with their adult child. They’re gonna need somebody like you, me, a third party, if that makes sense.

Tina: Yeah, there can be a lot of emotions and issues that have been there for a long time and really need to be addressed in a constructive way. So, yeah, it’s not a small deal to relocate your child after some time. But just so that I am clear, let’s say that I’m a parent and I do have my child’s Social Security number and proper date of birth. What would be the chances that using 888 U.S. Unite dot com I could find my child myself?

Thomas: The percentages kinda vary over the years, but the most consistent one has been about 75 to 80% of the time you could be able to find your child if we’re in this genre now. We’re not talking about my son got onto drugs, or my son is a drinker, or my son’s got mental illness. With your specific subject matter, I think that your audience should be able to find themselves. Let’s tone it down to the very minimum. I would think at least 70% could be found on there.

Tina: Wow. So, it’s doable. If your child’s in the public –

Thomas: Oh, it’s very doable. There’s some wonderful sites. I’ll give you a tip here that most private investigators would jump out of their skin. Most of all the data on these websites that the public can access, and certainly ours, is driven by the three credit bureaus.

Tina: Oh.

Thomas: And the three credit bureaus use the top half of your credit report, and those are the things that we’re getting the information from. We buy those. We buy those. So, if we look up your name, I don’t even need to know your name, your date of birth, your Social Security number, or where you live. Your name is kind of unusual enough, and I know you’re in a specific city and a specific state. I could probably find you in a couple hours.

Tina: Wow.

Thomas: And some of the information that comes back is you get an address. Sometimes, you get phone numbers. People don’t have as many land lines now, but you get cell phones. And then sometimes, you get email addresses.

Tina: Yeah. And is it helpful to you if the parent has an email address that was good five years ago, 10 years ago, or even a phone number? Is that helpful to you when you’re looking for someone?

Thomas: It doesn’t make me warm and fuzzy. The single most important thing is the Social Security number. I don’t even need your son or daughter’s name.

Tina: Ah.

Thomas: The reason the Social Security number is so important is some of these disconnected relationships, it goes on for a year, five years, 10 years. And I’ve had many, many cases where the female gets married and changes her last name. So, they’re looking for Mary Smith, and she marries Tom Jones, and now she’s Mary Jones. The parents are chasing a ghost. But with the social, sometimes there are a few websites that you can put in the social. But with ours, we’re actually online as one of the premier investigative agencies to been approved to have access to the Social Security Administration records. And there are some sites that are in the chapter and in the book where you can put in – I think if you have a date of birth for your audience, that’d be the best thing. To cut to the chase, 70% of the time, your audience should be able to find their adult child using the name and date of birth.

Tina: Terrific. So, let’s say they have those. With your experience, what are some considerations for parents when getting in touch with their child, given that the separation may have been at least initially somewhat intentional?

Thomas: Well, I think obviously you’re doing physically, emotionally, spiritually, academically, and every which way, the emotions in these cases I have found are on steroids. I mean, both sides are right. The other side is 100% wrong. And there may be some variance in those figures that I just threw out. But I just encourage people to use a third party. If you get the address of your child or your adult child, and you get a telephone number, I mean, maybe another sibling could help in the process, maybe another relative. I have been very successful in having people write letters.

And the theme that I use for the letters is she’s not 100% wrong, and you’re not 100% right. Can we get some medium ground here and just say can we start over? The grandkids wanna see you. I wanna see you, et cetera, et cetera. So, I just think getting the information of where your adult child is is simple.

Tina: That’s the easy part, you’re saying?

Thomas: That’s the easy part, 100%. And we even help people navigate our site. And it’s set up so easily that I don’t think they will have any problems. But I think maybe somebody like yourself, who has this great website and has worked this – I get a call, do a lot of interviews. I just found it fascinating that this is your genre, and that’s why I told my staff I wanted to do this interview. Because I think any PI worth a salt ought to be able to find their children. But then the hard part starts. We’ve done thousands of adoption cases where we find the birth mothers.

Tina: Yes.

Thomas: Or we find the adopted children that they gave up. And they’re very similar in nature. I mean, well, you talk about knocking on somebody’s door to a man and woman who gave up a baby 30 years. And the first thing you gotta be sensitive obviously is did they tell their current spouse that they even gave it up? The women are generally a little more gentile and will do it, want to meet. The men always think they want money. They’re coming after me for child support. But once again, although I’ve done hundreds and hundreds of them over the past 40 years, I don’t think I’ve had anybody turn it down because it’s a process of how you approach the person and let them know that there is a need for that person to hook up with you, and vise versa.

I’ve had many people slam the door in my face, and then I kinda slip a piece of paper under the door and say, “Well, if I can find you, there’s a lot of guys who can find you. So, you may wanna work with me, somebody who is not just gonna give the information to your child where you live. Let’s work together because this could have a whole different outcome.” Same thing with your audience. We often recommend, if we find that the adult child is now in Denver, Colorado, Minneapolis, Minnesota, then we will try to use our network of former federal agents to have you hook up with them, and maybe have them go out and knock on her door.

Tina: Yeah. So, let’s talk a little bit about that process when your agency is the one that goes about finding the adult child. It sounds like just locating an address or whatever is not the whole of the work that you do. It sounds like you get involved in the reconnection itself to some degree. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Thomas: Well, it’s probably the most important step. And the reason that I do it in these cases is that I found out that we’ve done probably 30,000 marital surveillances. And most PIs do the surveillance, catch the man, catch the woman, get paid. See you later. Goodbye. Well, I found early on in my career that 80% of my clients are women that hired us, and we just told them that their husband is dating their sister, or dating their best friend, or dating the neighbor, or dating whoever, and we have it on video. Now, she’s a wreck, as anybody would be. That’s certainly understandable. She’s got two kids. She may not know about the finances. What are we doing here?

We took it upon ourselves to say we just can’t toss her to the wolves. We’ve gotta bring her back, sit her down, and find out who the best attorney would be, who the best forensic accountant might be. Who would be the best therapist to be? Who’s the best family counselor? Similarly, in your world, we try to talk. But more importantly, we try to listen to what the clients, who are the vast majority of time in these cases, 90% are the parents, we try to listen and filter out my daughter’s the B word or my son is a crazy man. Okay. Let’s forget all the name-calling. And what would be the thing that binds you guys when everything was great? Is it gonna be the grandkids? Is there health issues?

What’s the common denominator here? So that when we go to approach the person, the adult child, we have some kind of ammunition to say, “Hey, you may look at me as just a dumb PI, and I’m not gonna even argue with you that. And I don’t have any expertise. All I’m trying to do is give you the opportunity to reunite with your parents. If you don’t wanna do it, that’s fine. I get it. I’m still gonna get paid for coming out and trying.” And sometimes, although it sounds a little sharp and stark, you have to put the adult child maybe in a position of power to let them make the decision. And that goes to all kinds of profiling. And all of us are taught interview and interrogation.

So, it’s a process. Everybody’s different. I mean I’ve had the door slammed in my face by these guys that want nothing to do with them. And I’ve had guns pulled on our guys. I mean it can get pretty contentious. There’s no question.

Tina: Sure. But what you’re saying about giving the child power is something that’s important, that we do talk about inside the Reconnection Club, is that you really can’t force any adult to do much of anything, especially in a relationship. And trying to understand and honor the needs and viewpoint of the child usually gets parents further than anything else really. So, it sounds like that’s the same kind of approach that you take when approaching an adult child.

Thomas: We try to find out who are gonna be the adults in the room. Because if you’ve done this more than one or two times, which we have, I can tell you we are successful in getting the adult child to say, “Okay.” And I’m not talking about five seconds after we meet them, but maybe after an hour, or half hour, they at least, “Okay, I’ll consider it.” So, the daughter now is considering meeting, or calling, or writing to their mom and dad. Now steps in the husband, “I want nothing to do with your parents.” Okay. So, now, we got Mr. Husband who’s a problem. Or now you’ve got two or three grandkids involved, and they’ve been told that the grandparents are the wicked people of the West.

So, a lot of dynamics going on, and I think that’s why I was so glad to hear about you, hear about your company and what you do, because I think it’s important that somebody who’s done this, you could be that person and that bridge as some of these relationships. You just go in it with great hope, great expectations. But sometimes, just to get them to write or make a phone call, you feel like you hit a home run.

Tina: Absolutely. And I’m wondering how often reunions between adult children and their parents go reasonably well in your experience.

Thomas: Generally, it all depends on who’s bringing the news. If you get a private investigator that just gives them the information, and here’s your son, he’s at 123 Main Street, and the parents call up or show up, as they say, that dog don’t hunt too well. It’s not gonna turn out well, okay? You need a third party. You need a Tina. You need Tom. You need somebody. This whole relationship, as fractured as it is now, certainly didn’t happen overnight. As you know, it could be a year, five years, 10 years, 20 years. So, it doesn’t take that long to reconnect sometimes. But it’s not gonna happen in a day.

Tina: It is a process.

Thomas: It is a process, and the process is kind of like when I was fortunate enough at the Department of Justice to be selected to be a profiler. So, once you know interview and interrogation skills, and you know how to interview people, I mean, I can talk to generally somebody who’s committed a murder, and know within two minutes if they did it or not. I mean that’s a skillset that you learn. And you can also use that skillset, or hopefully get somebody, when you knock on the door and say, “Hey, your parents hired me. They would love to reconnect with you. What do you think would be the best way we could accomplish this? Because I don’t know where your head’s at.” And I can tell you within three or four minutes whether this is gonna turn out good.

Tina: Ah. So, the interviewing skills that you picked up as an agent actually come into play when you’re talking to somebody you’re just finding. Do you feel like you could influence the outcome, or just kinda know where they’re at?

Tina: Well, if I can’t influence the outcome, it’s not gonna ever change. Yeah. I mean, the single most important skill in the law enforcement community, as a federal agent, as a beat cop, across the board, or in private practice as a private investigator, no matter what you’re doing, whether you’re interviewing people, you’re in corporate America, insurance companies, the public, whatever genre you’re working in, the single most important skill is knowing how to interview and interrogate people. If you’re gonna be a cowboy with your ex-law enforcement badge out and tell some adult child that you’re putting together a case to reunite them, your success rate is going to be zero.

You must know how to put your egomaniac days of being an agent back in the drawer, and keep your gun, and your badge, and your credentials out of site, and eat a little humble pie, and put that person in control. And they are in control. I mean, generally, you don’t have to be too smart when they slam the door in your face to know this ain’t going well. But what we find, if you give them a little room where they’ve got a little decision-making, not so much the power, but they get to make a kind of a decision, and you can’t do that. Parents can’t do that generally with their child. I found adult children can’t do it with their parents. So, you need a third party.

And if you hire somebody that’s successful with that, then I think your chances increase tenfold.

Tina: Yeah. So, you think it goes better if there’s the third party involved to kinda grease the wheels a little bit?

Thomas: I think your audience would be wasting time, money, and if they wanna continue down the path that they’re doing, don’t hire a third party. You’re gonna be right back to square one. So, don’t hire us or don’t do all the work the work to find your child, unless you understand when you get to the crossroads of okay, what do we do now, you gotta be prepared. And I’ve had a lot of adult fathers, the parents, “I’ll just call that SOB up or I’ll tell –” Okay. You have a good day, and see you later. Or the mother’s gonna call up, “Oh, I can talk. Or I’ll call my grandkids.” No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Once we give them the address, and once we give them the phone numbers, and once we give them the information, there’s not a whole lot I can do. We’ve told them ahead of time this is not a good road to go down. So, be very careful about what you do with our information.

Tina: Okay. This is super helpful. You’ve just mentioned a couple of attitudes and approaches that you have seen not work very well. One is just kind of an aggressive approach. I’ll tell you a thing or two. And the other is going around the adult child, and trying to get directly to the grandchildren, and kinda do an end run around the child. Is there anything else you’ve seen that –

Thomas: Yeah. I think the biggest thing is that in the process, you have to leave your ego, and your pain, and your righteousness in the living room. Don’t bring it to this process. I tell a couple people, “You know what? You’re right. You were right. Your kids are wrong. You’re 100% right. You’ve been a victim of this. Oh, you’ve been so wrong. Or you’ve done everything for your kids. And you’ve given them money, and you put them through school.” Okay. We all know that, and so do they. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. That is not what we wanna put on the table. We wanna put on the table what can we do to start over and get back to at least having a conversation about together.

Forget about getting together. I want a conversation about thinking about getting together. And sometimes, they look at private investigators. And there’s some world-class private investigators out there that can help in this process. And we’ve got investigators all over the country that we know and are sensitive to this. If they’re not sensitive, if they’re still thinking they got their gun loaded for bear and they’re gonna kick doors down, we don’t wanna use them. But somebody in your profession would be great to have. I’ll tell you one thing. If your audience had the chance to hire me or you to do this, who do you think I’d recommend?

Tina: Uh –

Thomas: Okay. Without question, no hesitation, I would tell your audience to hire you. Here’s why. And this comes right out of FBI 101, FBI Academy, interview and interrogation skills. If Tina and Tom have the same ability speaking-wise, articulation-wise, street smart wise, everything that’s involved in the process, we’re co-equals, right? You’re 100%; I’m at 100%. No matter who you’re talking to, male or female, here’s why a female is better to hire than a male. If you have a male figure talking to another male, they’re mono on mono. You’re talking to the adult child, a man on a man, they’re, “I’m not telling you. You don’t know what I’ve been through. You don’t know what my dad did to me.”

Or if you have a man talking to the, say, adult daughter or mother, there can be a little bit of hesitation there. Why’s he there? What does he know? And she’s a little drawn back. Now, Tina comes in, a female comes in, and she says to the male – well, he wants to puff up his chest and tell her everything that’s good because he wants to impress her. Secondarily, when you have a female talking to the adult daughter or mom, they feel less threatened. I mean, it’s kinda why the last few classes at the Department of Justice, you may be shocked to know the makeup was all females.

Tina: Huh. Interesting.

Thomas: So, if the single most important thing, quality to have, is interview and interrogation, and you have two people the same – you don’t have to be, unless you got your head in the sand – certainly a female, in these type cases, might bring a sense of calm, a sense of less urgency. We can just calm the process down a little bit. Take it a step at a time. I’m not saying I couldn’t get the same outcome as you. I’m just saying if you get the chance, and you’re interviewing a male and a female, go with the female.

Tina: Interesting. And do you have female agents or investigators in your agency?

Thomas: We do. We do. Oh, yeah. We do.

Tina: Yeah. The Reconnection Club tries to give parents skills that they can actually use on their own. We try to equip them so that if a therapist isn’t standing there, or a third party isn’t standing there, they have tools in their toolkit to reach and grab. I’m putting you on the spot here because I didn’t ask you about this. But I’m just wondering if you can think of any stories that seemed to turn out well where a parent was seeking an adult child, and you did locate the adult child, and the adult child was open to hearing from the parent.

Thomas: Well, I would answer that this way. I don’t feel like I’m being put on the spot because there’s hundreds of examples that come to mind. And probably one of the most vivid for us was we were actually hired by one of the adult children to reconnect with the parents. And she kinda lied to us a little bit and said that she was an only child, and da, da, da, da, da. And said she wanted to reconnect, and her father was this, and he was that, and the mother was this. And when I went out and interviewed the parents, I got a totally different picture. I was stunned, in fact. And as I left the house, I just happened to look over on the table or counter, and there was five or six pictures of small children.

And I said, “Oh, wow. She must have five grandchildren.” And they go, “No, we have four daughters, and we have six grandchildren.” I went, “Excuse me? You have three other daughters?” “Yes.” “Are you in connection with them?” She goes, “Oh, no. We haven’t talked to them either.” And I went, “Oh my goodness.” So, I took that information, and I went back to the client, and I go, “Okay. So, we’re done. Because once you lie to me, we’re done.” And she was all upset, and she goes, “Well, I didn’t really lie to you. I just didn’t tell you the truth about how many – ” And I go, “Okay. Call it what you want.”

And we took that opportunity to say, “Where are your other three sisters?” And they’re all here in Southern California. And so, when we got down, it really was kinda easy because they were all professionals, and they were all just busy. And it was one of those great things you feel we can put it together. So, what I decided to do is I took the mother first because the dad was kind of a little bit of a handful. And reunited the mother with the four daughters, and we actually had a luncheon with them at the restaurant near our corporate office. And we sat down, and we did that, and we had some kumbaya moments, and we had some other moments where it wasn’t all perfect. But it turned out great.

And then we took the mother aside and said, “Okay. You now have to go back and tell your husband that we’re gonna meet. We’re gonna do this again with him, but you’re gonna be there. But I think we should do it not as a group because each of these girls have a separate problem that’s all different.” And we did that, and it turned out pretty well for all four. And how I explain this sometimes, unless you have a professional – and I try to talk the parents out of doing this on their own, and I try to talk to adult children doing it on their own, without somebody like yourself or a mediator, here’s why. It’s like giving you the keys to an airplane. What would be the point? You have no skillset here.

If you had the skillset to fly the airplane, you wouldn’t have called me, and you wouldn’t have this problem. So, whether it’s your kids’ problems or your problems, there’s a problem somewhere. Now, if you can just discount it and be the adult in the room, and say, okay, I’ve made my mistakes, it’s not 100% my fault, okay. Fine. We need somebody to do that. Somebody’s gotta be the adult, or else you’ll never, never, ever succeed in this.

Tina: Right. It sounds like you do a lot more than just locate the person.

Thomas: Well, I don’t know if I mentioned there’s 100,000 private investigators in the United States. And most of them, unless they’re complete boneheads, ought to be able to know how to locate people. I mean that’s the skill of an attorney doing a subpoena or a chef making a hard-boiled egg. I mean if you can’t do that, you might as well get a new profession. The real distinction in our world, and what separates the men from the boys, is who can take the process to the next level? And what I tell people – they go, “Oh, it’s very nice of you. It’s very benevolent of you to do all – ” Well, I learned early on that most private investigators give out the information, and then they walk away.

So, all they’re doing is taking a can of gasoline and pouring it onto the fire because the parents and the children are not equipped to put this thing together. And sometimes, a private investigator doesn’t even tell them, “Hey, get a third party to help you.” So, that’s why when you go to these websites or go to the book, it gives you the tools to get there. But we’re pretty clear. Make sure you get a professional to help you, now that you have the information.

Tina: What is the process if someone wanted to hire your agency to find their adult child?

Thomas: It’s as simple as you getting up and putting a piece of toast in the toaster, or a piece of bread in the toaster, I guess. The process is pretty simple. You can either call, and we’ll take it over the phone, or you can email us. And then what we like to do is we like to send you an email that says here’s what we’re gonna do, here’s what it’s gonna cost, and how long it’s gonna take. So, we send you an email that says we’ll locate your child, $350.00. Give us the three things that we need, at least one of them, your name, obviously, and then a date of birth, social, or last known address within 10 years. And then that same day or within 24 hours, you’ll have your personal printout of either your parent or your child.

And it will say: this is their name; this is their Social Security; this is their date of birth; this is other names that they’ve used. Here’s their 20-year address history. So, you know the first address will say hopefully August 2019, so you know that’s where the person’s living. Then there’s another section that will have relatives. So, sometimes, other siblings will be listed there. And then you also have telephone numbers, cell, landlines. And we actually give you a percentage. We say, “There’s a 90% chance they’re using this cell phone.” And then we give you the emails. So, you have a nice personal profile of the last 20 years, basically.

We start getting people into our system when they’re 18, and we keep them in the system until they’re deceased, until they enter the DOD or the date of death index. So, now, you have what you need. And the next step is, okay, since you don’t know how to fly the airplane, what are you gonna do with the keys? Who are you gonna hand the keys to to get the process to the next level?

Tina: Okay. Might that be you or your agency? I’m just wondering when are you [inaudible – crosstalk] [00:37:22] the door for them?

Thomas: It can be. Well, it’s a good question. And if you’re in Southern California, from San Diego up to San Francisco, we do many of those. And it’s pretty straightforward. If you’re, as I said, Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, New York, some people do fly us. They have great confidence in our abilities, and our people, and our staff’s abilities. We try to talk them out of it to save them money and time, and we’ll try to get them somebody in that particular area. Which sometimes, we have to take a pass on. I mean, we do have people in a small city in a remote state, and there really isn’t anybody up there with the skillset.

I guess the best way is not every pilot can fly a 747. Not every private investigator can walk up and knock on a door, and do these types of cases, or do adoptions and stuff like that.

Tina: And I’m thinking that it might just be safer, in many cases, for the parents to write a good, thoughtful letter as a beginning, knowing for sure that the current address is where it will go.

Thomas: I think that’s a great idea. The only thing that I would add from street experience and having done literally hundreds of these: sometimes, you might wanna have that hand carried. In other words, have somebody actually deliver it. You can think about it. It goes to a little bit expense. And so, I think you have to sit down with the person and say, “Are you hiring a private investigator because he doesn’t have any business, and he wants to charge you $100.00 or $150.00 an hour just to deliver a letter?” No. The process would be to deliver the letter and say, “Hey, your mom and dad hired us.”

You give them the little spiel, and try to tug at their hearts, and just be honest and sincere about yeah, your parents are really struggling, and they wanna see if we can start over. And you’ll know within a couple minutes. And here’s the letter that they got. Here’s my card. If we can be of any assistance, let me know. And sometimes, they call their parents; sometimes, they don’t. Sometimes, they call us; sometimes, they don’t.

Tina: So, you can be like the third party to go between if the child is willing to somewhat open the door, but maybe not completely ready for a one-on-one conversation with the parents. But they are interested in finding out, well, what might be another baby step toward each other? And your agency can be involved in that process.

Thomas: We are. We can. And it’s just that we’re in Southern California. That’s where our corporate office is. But as I said, I’ve got great contacts in a lot of the states. It’s just when you get in some of these remote areas – I guess the best example, I mean, I’ve got a great guy in Missoula, Montana that I’ve known for 20 years, and he can cover. But he can’t cover the whole state of Montana. Gets too expensive, or we’re gonna have to pay for it. So, if you’re in a small town, let’s say like Conrad, then that’s a little more arduous process. But I think it’s important that you kinda interview – obviously, you’re gonna interview the parents if they’re the clients.

Eighty percent of our clients in these regards are parents. The parents hire us before the kids do. And I’ve had cases where I’ve had to locate adult children that have either run away or they just fell off the face the Earth, and I have sat across from his mom and dad and said, “God, if you were my parents, I would’ve run away a long time ago.”

Tina: Really?

Thomas: A long time ago. Oh, yeah. They’re just obnoxious, self-centered, either druggies, alcoholics, or just so ego driven, hard on their kids. And I’m not talking about a parent who wants their kid to succeed. I’m talking about driving them almost to suicide to make sure they get straight As, that kinda mentality. I mean you see it all over. So, I think the private investigator initially has to take that and be objective. Don’t think that your client is perfect because they’re not. And you must take that same attitude when you go to the door of the adult child. They’re not perfect either. So, let’s try to get what they’re perfect at and mesh that together. And that’s a skillset. There’s no question about it.

Tina: Yeah. Well, this has been fascinating. Is there anything that you’d like to share with parents who may’ve lost touch with their adult children and might be interested in finding them again?
Thomas: Never, ever, ever give up. Even if your PI or your person may not be able to bridge the gap, always keep an open mind. I have had cases, and I’m not proud to say that we weren’t able to get it because of a number of different factors. And I’ve even told those people, “Give it a rest for six months or a year, and then try again because things do change.” And as long as you are trying to be the bigger person and you’re trying to mend it, then the finality of possibly not being reunited – the sting of that is not fun, but it’s a lot less because you’ve done everything you can to try and get this uniting back together. And if it doesn’t work after a few tries, fine.

But don’t give up. Don’t give up. Keep trying. Surround yourself with people that know what they’re doing and have done it before. I mean our success rate is pretty high. So, I’m not a pessimist in this regard. I’m a total optimist. So, I would leave that with them. And if somebody’s listening now, sit down. Find out where they’re at. Go to our website. Go to our book. Get that information. Then your biggest decision is how you get it. And I’m not saying that maybe you know your son or daughter well enough that you don’t even need to hire a PI. I don’t think so, but you could certainly try that. I mean is it really worth $300.00 or $400.00 not to have a pro do this? I don’t think so.

Tina: Right. Okay. Great. So, what is the best way for people to get in touch with you?

Thomas: Well, I appreciate this opportunity. We have six websites, but the main website that drives everything is Martin PI. So, it’s M-A-R-T-I-N, P like private, I like investigator, dot com. And they can go there. They can go to our blog section. I’ve written 400 in the last six years. They can put in locates, reconnections, whatever they want. They can go through the different sections and get some confidence on who we are and we’re about. And then every page, you can hit an email, and you can send us an email. You can call our 800 number for free, five, seven, seven, 10, 80. And you’ll be surprised that my staff is pretty much on that. And don’t be surprised if you get a call back personally from me or from one of the guys that have been with me 30 years.

So, in this regard, we know what we’re doing. But you have to get the confidence that we’re gonna be your cup of tea and we’re gonna be your person. And sometimes, if it’s just impossible because of logistics, we’ll do everything we can at no charge to get you to the right people.

Tina: Well, Tom, thank you so much for all of this wisdom and advice that you’ve shared. I really appreciate the time that you’ve spent with us today. Thanks for being here.

Thomas: Thank you.

Tina: And if you are the parent of an estranged adult child, please check out Reconnection Club dot com. We have courses, workshops, expert interviews like this one, and a friendly community of other parents to help you navigate, cope with, and resolve the estrangement from your child. This is Tina Gilbertson. Thanks for listening.

[End of Audio]

The real damage done was the loss of two month’s time waiting on an agency that produced nothing.

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  • Corporations that can’t be touched
  • Safety deposit boxes
  • Mortgages
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  • Employers
  • Boats, cars, planes
  • Family gifts
  • Transferring assets to family
  • Gifts to friends
  • Hiding businesses under illegal names

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Press from the Mark Anderson case

Press from the Mark Anderson case

Sadly, after being missing for more than three weeks, Mark Anderson was discovered dead in Buckeye Park, Arizona on June 6, 2012.

The text from the article is transcribed below. Source

Family desperate to find missing husband with mental illness

By Ed Doney

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma City woman is hoping for the safe return of her husband who’s been missing for over two weeks.

Mark Wilson Anderson, 60, is the owner of the Improv comedy club in Tempe, Arizona that recently went out of business.

His wife, Holly Drummond Anderson, said he’s now dealing with a mental illness that makes him believe he and his family are in danger.

She last saw her husband on Mother’s Day and said business stress gave him a breakdown while paranoia is keeping him on the run.

“We truly believe he needs help but at the same time it’s very difficult to find him because he’s doing everything he can to evade anyone finding him,” she said Monday afternoon.

Holly said Anderson claimed he had incriminating information about people involved in his business and went to Dallas to build a legal case against them with attorneys.

“He (thought he) was in great danger, extremely paranoid and he believed that I had been killed and replaced by an actress,” she said.

In a voicemail Anderson left for his wife, he said, “It’s not all wrapped up yet and I need for you all to stay away from the house tonight.”

In another voicemail, he said, “We’ve got an incredible family and an incredible life and this is just a speed bump on the highway to heaven.”

The family’s private investigator, Thomas Martin, said Anderson is not running away from his life.

“I do not think that this is a husband who is on drugs or alcohol,” Martin said. “I do not think this is a husband who is running away from marital problems.”

Now, comedy giants like Kevin Nealon are helping in the search, tweeting information about the search for Anderson.

“It’s just heartbreaking to think that he’s out there and so in need of help and we cannot find him,” Holly said.

Anderson was last seen at a friend’s house in San Diego.

However, after our interview the family said someone who looked like Anderson was seen at an Oklahoma casino.

The text from the article is transcribed below. You can also access this article via the following options:

Police: Missing Tempe Improv owner felt life was in danger

By Haley Madden

The Tempe Improv owner who disappeared May told his family that he was going to Dallas for financial advice, not bringing a cellphone because he felt his life was in danger and feared being tracked, according to Oklahoma City police.

Mark Anderson, 6o, was reportedly having problems with his business partners and believed the disagreement could lead to losing the business or criminal prosecution, according to a police report.

However, a detective hired by the family, Thomas Martin, said one of Anderson’s business partners is assisting on the case. Martin said Anderson suffers from mental disabilities but did not specify a condition.

Family told authorities that they attempted to contact Anderson. They left him a message saying there was an emergency at home and he needed to call immediately, but he never responded.

Officials were told this is out of character for Anderson and he likely would have responded regardless of what was going on.

Authorities have received what they consider to be credible tips claiming to have seen Anderson in a small retail business in Texas and the Win World Casino in Oklahoma, Martin said.

The Tempe Improv has been in the Valley for more than two decades, featuring comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld, George Lopez, Carlos Mencia and David Spade. It had its last show on Saturday.


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Search for Tempe Improv owner enters 3rd week

By Associated Press

TEMPE, AZ – The owner of an Arizona comedy club that recently shut its doors has not been seen for more than two weeks.

The wife of Mark Anderson, who owned Tempe Improv near the Arizona State University campus, reported him missing May 15 in Oklahoma City, authorities said. He is 60 years old and has homes in both Arizona and Oklahoma.

Oklahoma City police detectives are still investigating Anderson’s disappearance, said police spokesman Dexter Nelson.

He declined to discuss any leads and said that detectives in any missing persons case must investigate whether the individual left willfully or if something of a criminal nature occurred. Investigators are exploring every possible avenue, he said.

Given Anderson owns more clubs in other states beyond the now-shuttered venue in Tempe police will have several places to check.

“With him having the assets he has, he should have a lot of different trails he can leave. If he’s using cash, that could be difficult,” Nelson said.

Anderson was last seen at his home in Oklahoma City on May 13, according to a police report. His wife, Holly, told officers he was going to Dallas to consult with a lawyer.

In the report, Holly Anderson says her husband was under a lot of business-related stress. She says Anderson had also been acting strangely, saying people were after him.

Anderson has a history of mental illness and delusions that he would discuss at times, according to Tony Vicich, who ran comedy workshops at the Tempe Improv with Anderson. He said Anderson was hospitalized for a number of years but seemed to have things under control. Yet, as a club owner, Anderson had a solid reputation when it came to doing business.

“In our business, you never had to worry about the count at the end of the night with Mark Anderson,” Vicich said. “He was honest to a fault in a business where decimal points seem to float around on occasion.”

The Tempe Improv had its last stand-up comedy show Saturday after 23 years. Anderson had told other media outlets the club had lost virtually all its bookings in recent months after another club o,ned in downtown Phoenix last year. While Anderson spoke of renovating and re-opening the 500-seat venue, friends and colleagues said the closure upset the normally optimistic club owner.

“No matter what the situation, he’d go ‘well here’s the good news,” Vicich said. “But it was taking a toll on him that the industry that he kind of helped create seemed to be turning on him.”

Anderson’s family has also hired their own private investigator. Thomas Martin, who heads an investigative agency in Newport Beach, Calif., said his staff has so far received about seven credible tips of sightings of Anderson. According to Martin, they have confirmed that Anderson has been to places in California, Arizona and Texas. He said Anderson has not been using his cellphone and there have been no signs of any credit card or bank account activity.

“I think he’s a smart guy (but) I don’t think he’s street smart and I don’t know how long he can keep on going,” Martin said.

Vicich said he is worried Anderson could be vulnerable to all sorts of danger, especially if he is having mental struggles.

“We have no idea what city’s he’s in. Is he in Phoenix? Is he in Oklahoma? There’s very little that we can do except for hope,” Vicich said.

The text from the article is transcribed below. You can also access the article here

No laughing matter: Tempe Improv closes its doors with owner still missing

By Mike Sakal

A funny business in the East Valley is closing its doors today without really having its last laugh.

Instead, the Tempe Improv, located at 930 E. University Drive, is closing under a shroud of seriousness and a bit of mystery as its co-owner, Mark Wilson Anderson, has been missing for two weeks.

While authorities believe he could be somewhere in the Dallas area, Anderson was joined earlier this month by Improv co-owner Howard Pohlenz and other representatives in announcing that the 24-year-old venue would close June 1. They specifically cited competition from Standup Live in downtown Phoenix, which now lands most major acts coming to the Valley. In the past, the Improv presented major comics such as Jerry Seinfeld, George Lopez and David Spade.

Comics Arden Myrin and Steve Hytner hold the distinction of being the last acts at the Improv, performing the last shows on May 26, according to Yamili Cano, day manager of the Tempe Improv.

Cano said on Thursday that no shows are planned for tonight.

“We’re probably not going to do anything but close the doors,” said Cano, who has been working for the Tempe Improv for nine years and started in the ticket office. “It’s pretty terrible. We love this place. It’s sad to see it go, especially this way anyway.”

Cano and a handful of others were inside the Improv’s office on Thursday, finishing up paperwork.

“I consider the people I work with as family,” Cano said. “Everyone here has been pretty supportive. The comedy circuit is a family.”

Meanwhile, a nationwide search for Anderson remains focused on the Dallas area.

Anderson, 60, was reported missing by his family on May 15, three days after he left Oklahoma City to travel to Phoenix or Dallas to do business, according to Thomas Martin, a private investigator with Martin Investigative Services of Newport Beach, Calif. The family family hired Martin to look into his disappearance.

Martin told the Tribune earlier this week that his office has been monitoring Anderson’s credit card purchases and phone calls, but there has not been any movement on them since May 15, the day he showed up at a friend’s house in San Diego.

The investigators are focusing their search on the Dallas area, as there have been at least three sightings of Anderson in the Dallas suburb of Carrollton as well as one at WinStar Casino in Oklahoma near the Texas border, Martin said.

Anderson has gray hair, brown eyes and glasses and travels between Phoenix and Oklahoma.

He was last seen driving a silver 2011 Dodge Durango SUV with Arizona License Plate No. AWE8050.

Although the final curtain is falling on the Improv today,, an independent comedy development and promotional entity that teaches stand-up comedy at the Improv, will re-open in another location in the weeks ahead, according to the school’s director, Tony Vicich.

“Hopefully, the Improv can re-open in the future,” Cano said.

Assets can be hidden in:

  • Offshore accounts
  • Stocks
  • Corporations that can’t be touched
  • Safety deposit boxes
  • Mortgages
  • Bank accounts
  • Employers
  • Boats, cars, planes
  • Family gifts
  • Transferring assets to family
  • Gifts to friends
  • Hiding businesses under illegal names
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