The United States government has a longstanding policy against paying ransom demands to terrorist organizations. While this is a hot topic as of late, it is understandable from a purely analytical standpoint: The government does not want to fund terrorism. Of course, on an emotional level, most people would certainly be willing to do anything, even pay a ransom, to get someone home safely. This was illustrated in the recent tragic murder of journalist James Foley at the hands of ISIS.
This post discusses both the James Foley case and that of missing person Crystal Morrison Prentice, and how private investigators were able to help the families that hired them.
After his kidnapping in 2012 on Thanksgiving, the Foley family reached out to and hired a private investigative firm to try to track down the missing man. While the government might not pay the ransom, it did not mean that his family wouldn’t. They were actively trying to raise funds for his release. They were trying to raise $5 million, which they hoped would help to gain his release, as that was around the amount that was paid to free European hostages.
The family and GlobalPost, the company for which Foley wrote a number of articles, worked with several investigative firms who had experience in tracking people in foreign countries. They did a decent job of tracking where he was for the most part, although they did have some missteps along the way – namely, they were wrong about where he was being held at one point. They thought that he was being held in a detention facility by the Syrian government.
While the majority of the missing person cases out there might not have the same element of danger and global ramifications as the James Foley case, they are no less important to those who are looking for the missing. Whether you are trying to find a family member or friend who has been missing for a few weeks, months, or years, hiring the right private investigation agency can help.
Crystal Morrison Prentice
On August 23, 2012, Crystal Morrison Prentice vanished. She left Connextions Recruiting in the afternoon and was last seen along International Drive and Highway 73 in Concord, North Carolina. The police deemed the disappearance as suspicious, as Prentice left behind her family and her son. By all accounts this was not the type of person she was.
Lacey Castro has been working tirelessly in an effort to find her friend, and is not giving up even though it has been two years since Prentice’s disappearance. Castro wants to find the truth, and she’s been doing a number of things to get at it. She’s offered up her car as a reward for information that leads to finding her friend, hands out countless fliers, and more. The family has offered a $10,000 reward and has hired a private investigator to look into the case.
Hiring an investigator
While investigators can’t guarantee they will find a missing person, they do offer something that the authorities can’t – persistence. The government and the police might like to be able to spend their time searching for specific missing people, as in these two cases, but logistics often prevent that. Private investigators are a great way to bridge this gap and to have someone consistently and diligently looking for the missing person.
My firm, Martin Investigative Services, has been retained by family members looking for relatives hundreds of times. We have turned down many of these cases because the family waited too long to hire someone. We rarely get involved late in the game as we tell clients we are “starting pitchers, not relievers.” The philosophy behind that is these cases are terribly difficult to work and emotionally draining on everyone. If a private investigator who lacks the skills to work these matters starts an investigation or has no clue how to conduct himself with the law enforcement community, those cases often get buried at the bottom of the law enforcement workload and are terribly difficult to resurrect.
We recently made an exception to this philosophy in the matter of Derek Seehausen. This week we will post to update everyone on our efforts over the past twelve days. We are hopeful to bring this matter to worldwide exposure by calling a press conference in Los Angeles, California and, most importantly, having the news media of television, radio and print show up. You can also get updates at www.helpfindderek.com.