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Investigator Helps Families Find Missing Members
By Theresa Walker
A good chunk of Thomas G. Martin’s 60-hour work-week is spent tracking down people.
The former Federal agent turned private investigator figures he’s searched for hundreds of missing relatives since he started Martin Investigative Services in 1981.
He typically charges $500 just to get started on cases like that.
But with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to be celebrated in the next couple of months, Martin is offering the services of his company for free to sons and daughters who would like to find their parents, and moms and dads who would like to find their children.
Some of those folks he knows will be people who were adopted as children and want to find their birth mother. But many others, he knows as well, will be people who know who their parents (or children) are but got disconnected from them for whatever reason and lost track of them over the years.
“You’d be surprised how many people are actually in this situation,” says Martin, citing reasons such as family feuds, problems with drugs and alcohol, and other personal issues that can separate parents and children.
Martin is committing his expertise and that of about 14 people in his office, along with the resources of an in-house database that he says contains close to 4 billion bits of information.
Depending on the information he’s given to start with – things like name, date of birth and last known address, if available – he figures it takes about 15-20 minutes on the average for his company to locate someone.
“It may sound little like an egomaniac, but the bottom line is if we can’t find them, then there probably is nobody to be found.”
The more information that he is provided on the missing person, the better chance he’ll have of finding them, he says. And depending on the volume of requests he receives, he may have to be selective regarding the searches his staff conducts – starting with those that provide the most clues.
“We’re going to try to do as many as we can,” he said. “We will try to get back to everyone that sends us information, whether we elect to do the search for them or not.”
What kind of information does he need to get started on the search? Name, last known address, date of birth, and Social Security number if available.
Be clear about the spelling of the name, he advises. Try to think back, talk to other family members who might know more.
In those cases where a child is seeking a birth parent, Martin says he will first have to contact the birth parent to make sure the person wants to be reunited before he will pass a phone number or address along to the client.
In other cases, he will simply turnover the information on the whereabouts.