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Friday, September 16, 2011

NY Times - Missing Persons: A Balancing Act for Police

A 'New York Times' interview I did way back in 2001 reflects not much has changed in respect to 'equal reporting' for all missing persons.

Missing Persons: A Balancing Act for Police

Friday, September 9, 2011

When to Use a Private Investigator in Custody Matters

When considering the welfare of the children, courts must be informed in order to rule on decisions to determine custody and parenting time. The court’s decision must be based upon credible information submitted to the court; to include interviews and potential testimony of litigants and witnesses.

Typically when thinking of custody we may immediately think “divorce” but there are many circumstances that may warrant representation when taking children's lives into consideration.

  • Legal separation or divorce
  • Parental Death
  • Parental Incompetence
  • Domestic or sexual abuse allegations
  • Paternity
  • Third party care
  • Child protection services involvement
  • Juvenile Delinquency
Basic Definitions of Custody and Parenting Time
  • Legal Custody is defined as the individual who has the right to make decisions on behalf of the child, including the child’s education, medical care, and even religious preference.
  • Physical Custody is defined as the individual who makes decisions in regard to where the child lives and the child’s daily activities.
  • Sole Custody is when an individual is the primary custodian and decision- maker in every aspect of the child’s life.
  • Joint Legal Custody is defined as a situation where both parents/custodians share in the decision-making for how a child is raised, educated, receives health care and religious preference.
  • Joint Physical Custody refers to the responsibility of the daily care and living arrangement being shared and handled in agreement with both parents/custodians.
  • Parenting Time is commonly referred to as ‘visitation’ granted to noncustodial parent/custodian and usually by court order.

    Grandparent’s Rights

    Increasing numbers of grandparents are denied visitation to their grandchildren following a divorce. In response, laws have been passed in every state giving grandparents the right to petition the court for visitation in the event of divorce, parental incompetence or parental death. Grandparents may be granted visitation and at times even custody dependent upon the circumstances, if they can prove they share a substantial relationship with the child.

    The Visitation Rights Enforcement Act of 1998, improved uniform visitation laws state by state, provisioning grandparent visitation. The law assured grandparents can visit grandchildren anywhere in the United States as long as they have been awarded visitation rights in one state.

    In a 2000 landmark case Troxel v. Granville the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state of Washington permitting grandparents visitation rights over the objection of the mother. The Supreme Court ruled ‘fit parents have the fundamental right to make decisions concerning care, custody and control’ of their children.

    Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, representing the majority stated, "So long as a parent adequately cares for his or her children, there will normally be no reason for the state to inject itself into the private realm of the family to further question the ability of that parent to make the best decisions concerning the rearing of that parent's children." Basically this decision supports in most cases the custodial parents can alone determine visitation for their children.

    In any case though, states can grant visitation rights to grandparents. It has encouraged grandparents attempt to get along and build a supportive relationship with the custodial parent for the benefit of the child.

    Child Support and Deadbeat Parent Investigations

    Private investigation firms can also assist parents when attempting to enforce a child support order by locating the subject and verify employment, asset searches, and even document if the subject is working off the books by following the individual and document any work activities. This information can be presented to the court to expedite enforcement.

    "Whether an individual is concerned for the safety of their children in another custodian’s care or attempting to enforce an order of the court, private investigators can be an invaluable tool in the successful conclusion of a dispute,”says Thomas Lauth, owner of Lauth Investigations International, headquartered in Indianapolis, IN. “Hiring a private investigator is even cost-effective when evaluating hiring an attorney to represent the case. After all, utilizing any legal means to ensure the proper care of children is recommended and its value cannot be underestimated."

    Custody Evaluations

    Commonly during custody disputes, the court will order a ‘custody evaluation’ that can include an assessment of the child’s emotional, physical, psychological well-being, even who the child prefers to live with. If siblings are involved they heavily consider the benefits of keeping them together and examine the bond the child has with the prospective custodial parent. These evaluations are vital to the decision-making process to make an informed decision consistent with the well-being of the child.

    In addition, prospective custodians are also evaluated to include evaluating moral character and psychological stability, financial condition, potential substance abuse, willingness to provide personal care rather than relying on third-parties (relatives, grandparents or friends), if a step-parent may be involved in the care of a child, any suspected abuse or previous allegations of domestics or sexual abuse and many other factors that may be deemed important and could affect a child’s well-being.

    When a Private Investigator Can Help Courts Make Informed Decisions

    A licensed private investigator can be a vital tool before, during or even after a custody evaluation is conducted. In a case where one parent is concerned for the child’s safety while in the care of the other parent, a private investigator has the ability to document information and behavior of the other party; while in another circumstance a the court may decide custody against one party and information that can be obtained can show just cause for reevaluation. A private investigator can provide organized information on behalf of the client that can be used and admissible in court decisions.

    Methods and Information That Can Be Obtained

    A private investigator can obtain evidence regarding financial stability, emotional stability, criminal history and any aliases, residential history (moving many times disrupting child’s stability), activity with associates, leaving children unattended, taking the child to a third party while staying at boyfriend/girlfriend’s or excessive partying; any contradictions in information provided to a court evaluator. When contradictions surface it has the potential to discredit the other party.

    Private investigators can follow a subject during scheduled visitation times to determine any improper activity or neglect while the child is in their care. They can also follow the subject during their off-time without the child and document daily activities, living conditions, lifestyles, and persons they are associating with.

    Private investigators can also conduct interviews with acquaintances and other family members familiar with the behavior of the subject, conduct video and photographic surveillance of the subjects activities, places they frequent, dropping off the children with third parties, conduct background investigations on acquaintances and visitors by obtaining license plate numbers of vehicles that frequent the subject’s residence. Associations can be quite revealing when attempting to validate concerns for a child’s safety.

    Trash pulls – When trash container is placed curbside on a trash pickup day it then becomes public property and private investigators are able to obtain and inventory items such as prescription bottles, empty alcohol containers, contraband refuse and paraphernalia related to substance abuse, pornography, financial purchases and transactions are just a few examples of evidence that can be used to present to the court and discredit another party.

    Comprehensive Background Investigations Can Include the Following:
    • True Name
    • Aliases
    • True Social Security Number
    • Of Birth
    • Previous 7 Year Residence Verification
    • Previous 7 Year Employer Verification
    • Previous 7 Year Criminal History
    • Previous 7 Year Civil History
    • Driving Record
    • Professional License Verification
    • Tax Liens
    • Education
    • Siblings
    • Bankruptcies
    • Media Confirmation
    • Intensive Internet/Multi Search Engine Investigation
    • Police Incident and Case History Report
    • Verification of Subject's Personal Conversational Declarations/Comments/Claims
    • Background investigations
    • Criminal history check
    • Civil background check
    • Judgment or property liens
    • Bankruptcy
    • Background checks of associates
    Licensed private investigators are able to present findings that can be admissible in court and are also qualified to testify in court on behalf of their client.

    For more information regarding how private investigation services can assist you specifically in Indiana Colorado and Arizona.  All consultations are free. Please contact: Lauth Investigations International

    Author – Kym L. Pasqualini
    Founder of National Center for Missing Adults
    & Social Network Advocate
    Missing Persons Network
    Phone: 800.889.3463

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Private Investigators Contributed to Dominique Strauss-Kahn's Dismissal

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Photograph courtesy of Sipa.
    The man many had predicted to be the next president of France, and former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is free to leave the United States and return to France. 

    In May 2011, Strauss-Kahn, was accused of sexual assault by Nafissatou Dialo, a housekeeper at a luxury New York City hotel. 

    As a result of the charges, Strauss-Kahn had been placed under house arrest for approximately three months until a New York judge dropped all criminal sexual assault charges on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011.  Strauss-Kahn’s release is a surprising turnaround of a case initially presented by the prosecution - as solid.

    By request of the prosecution, the case was dismissed after prosecutors presented a 25-page report concluding the evidence they had initially presented was inconclusive and indicated they now questioned the Dialo's credibility due to numerous inconsistencies.

    While facing serious allegations of sexual assault, the well-liked French politician wasted no time hiring a team of experts to investigate and counteract the negative publicity. It is said, a team consisting of ex-CIA agents, private criminal investigators, a security firm and even public relations experts were hired; an influential group brought together to quickly conduct damage control warranted by the seriousness of the allegations.

    Facing world criticism and even conspiracy, theorizing the event may have been staged to derail his political aspirations to become the next French president. Some have even speculated the scandal was devised to damage Strauss-Kahn’s credibility prior to releasing information about top U.S. government officials.

    In response to the world headlines, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin posted on an official Kremlin website, "It is hard for me for me to evaluate the hidden political motives," and further stated, "I cannot believe that it looks the way it was initially introduced and doesn't sit right in my head."

    Though the firms reportedly hired by Strauss-Kahn have not made any public statements regarding the case, it is clear that powerful evidence was uncovered that forced prosecutors to acknowledge they now have 'reasonable doubt' the sexual assault allegations were credible.

    The Role of a Powerful Defense Team

    With the public and media's tendency to rush to judgment, there is no ignoring potential and permanent damage to an individual’s life and career. It becomes important to remember that one is 'innocent until proven guilty' and guaranteed due process in a court of law but some damage is irreversible.

    Part of the necessary preparation process is to have a powerful defense team consisting of attorneys, experts and criminal private investigators to delve into the deepest depths of the lives of those involved in a case.

    As with Strauss-Kahn, it became essential that the defense investigate the chambermaid’s history and character in order to disprove her allegations, identify inconsistencies in her statements and reveal any previous questionable behavior that may cause doubt as to her integrity.

    Strauss-Kahn's legal lineup did indicate in documents that they have 'substantial information' that could 'gravely undermine her credibility.'

    Through a post-indictment investigation of Dialo, prosecutors say they were presented with information about her past that contain many falsehoods, to include lying about being “gang raped” by soldiers in her homeland of Guinea; then admitting it never happened. There also appear to be contradictions in her statements about her whereabouts after the incident involving Strauss-Kahn, even inconsistency in tax-related matters.

    It goes without saying, especially here in the United States, when you are accused of a crime; you are guilty until you prove your innocence. With private investigators and an aggressive defense team on your side, the likelihood of proving your innocence is increased and when you have a long prison term hanging over your head, you need the best team you can get.

    Author -Kym L. Pasqualini
    Missing Media Solutions

    Please contact Indianapolis Private Investigator, Thomas Lauth, for any investigations needed at 800.889.3463 or visit

    Missing Person Case Update – Michael Grenley

    Michael Grenley
    Michael Grenley
    Michael Sean Grenley, 41 years old, left his home near 75th Ave and Deer Valley in north Glendale, at 1pm on July 19th. His wife had thought he had simply gone to get lunch, but concerned, reported him missing later that day after he did not return.
    Michael enjoyed driving his Jeep Rubicon to remote areas north of Phoenix, and quickly there was speculation he may have simply gone for a ride in the desert. On August 6, 2011, a motorcyclist discovered Michael’s remains near his Jeep approximately 10 miles north of Lake Pleasant and notified Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. A spokesperson for sheriff’s office indicated the Jeep was found with the front end stuck on a large boulder.
    Arizona is known for its rough terrain in the area north of Lake Pleasant. Many venture north on 4x4s, dirt bikes and quads thru unmaintained trails between Lake Pleasant and Crown King, a popular place for avid off-road enthusiasts due to its spectacular scenery and challenging landscape. Though lovely, the Arizona wilderness is also quite unforgiving.
    Arizona terrain north of Lake Pleasant, AZ
    Arizona terrain north of Lake Pleasant, AZ
    Michael’s cause of death has not been publicly released, however the Medical Examiner indicates there was no sign of foul play or a struggle. On the day of Michael’s disappearance Arizona experienced a Haboob, a storm that created a nearly 3,000-4,000 foot high wall of dust at approximately 4:30pm as it rolled through the counties of Pinal and Maricopa, causing hazardous driving conditions throughout the valley. In addition to driving hazards, temperatures in Arizona, July through August can range from 90-128 degrees, along with potential dangers of flash-flooding where in a matter of minutes 10-30 foot walls of water can fill dry creek beds.
    It is not known if weather conditions contributed to Michael’s death but in Arizona, for those suffering from a medical condition, exposure to high temperatures and possible lack of water can quickly cause health complications and death due to exposure.
    Posted on an off-road website, a member wrote, “This is a sad reminder to all of us to always bring another person and be well-equipped when traveling off-road.”
    Michael Grenley is survived by his wife, Melissa, of 17 years and 6 year-old son. His wife described Michael as a wonderful father and regrets he won’t be there to see their 6-year-old son grow up.
    Author – Kym L. Pasqualini
    Founder of National Center for Missing Adults
    & Social Network Advocate
    Missing Persons Advocacy Network
    Phone: 800.889.3463

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    Statement from Iva Bradley, mother of Amy Bradley

    “Kym has a focus and passion about missing loved ones of which one is my daughter Amy Lynn Bradley. She has the strong skill and ability to be able to translate this passion into words that touch the hearts and souls of those of us who appreciate her dedication and love for what she does. Her writing about this issue is part of her heart and there is a demand for her expertise in how she does what she does. She is absolutely amazing.” August 18, 2011

    Iva Bradley, Pres., INB Insurance Agency Inc.