Locating a Missing Person Turns Into Emotionally-Charged Roller Coaster Case

Kinsey Investigations is known as the California private investigations firm with a heart. We love it when our cases have happy endings, but unfortunately, the truth is not always what our clients are hoping to hear. Too often, in Los Angeles infidelity investigations, child custody investigations, and other highly emotional kinds of cases, our efforts uncover some of our clients’ worst fears. So, when we were first contacted about locating a missing person in Los Angeles, we deeply hoped (as we always do) that this case would end happily.

Locating Missing Persons in Los Angeles Always Highly-Emotional Work

Recently, we helped an out-of-state family after they’d filed a missing person’s report with the LAPD about their adult son in his early 20s. The family were, understandably, very concerned, being so far away and out of contact with their son. They followed up with authorities several times in the days after their initial report, leaving messages and playing phone tag, all the while agonizing with worry. After a week had gone by without any news or updates from the LAPD, the family came to us, by then even more concerned and desperate for answers. As soon as the family hired us, we contacted the LAPD again, on their behalf, but eventually called the department’s missing person’s detective directly.

We located the missing man’s vehicle on a Friday and immediately shared its location with LAPD. In cases where any foul play could be a part of the story, we understand the necessity of preserving what could turn into a crime scene, and there was no obvious indication that the vehicle was occupied. And then, we waited.

All of us at Kinsey Investigations care deeply about all our clients. As a woman-owned L.A. private investigations firm with a staff more than 75% female, we don’t just take on cases with our heads, but with our hearts as well. As we all waited, expectantly, for news over the weekend, we began to agonize right along with the family who’d hired us, wondering why in the world we weren’t getting any updates.

On Monday morning around 9:15, we called the missing person’s division directly, and this time, we sent them photos of the vehicle parked at the location we’d shared with LAPD on Friday. In the meantime, we had begun distributing missing person flyers, interviewing neighbors, and leaving our business card with anyone willing to help us. The person living in the home across from where we’d found the car shared her cell phone number with us and promised to call if she noticed anything happening. Later that day, she followed through, letting us know the police were there and seemed to be searching through the vehicle.

Apparently, no one had been dispatched over the weekend. After our Monday call, officers followed the information we’d provided, found and breached the vehicle to search for evidence. They then towed it to the LAPD impound before conducting a more thorough search. Around 3:00, they opened the trunk, and that’s when they discovered the young man we were looking for, inside, looking as if he’d been deceased for several days. Our client received a call from the coroner’s office with the heartbreaking news. Hysterical, the young man’s mother hung up on the coroner and called us, utterly devastated. Soon after, the young man’s grandmother called our offices, but because we had not been contacted directly by the coroner or the LAPD, we could tell her no more than our client had shared with us, and we couldn’t officially confirm any details.

Being a California Private Investigator Not Always a Glamorous Job

The hoops we had to jump through to get information and answers from authorities in this case surprised us, and considering how much our well-established, local, professional office struggled, we can only imagine what this family went through, states away, and desperate for information from authorities that never came. No one helped them until we got involved. Now, they are left to wonder and agonize over the what-ifs – if authorities had taken them seriously in the seven days before they called us, if someone had been sent to investigate as soon as we located the vehicle, if anyone would’ve taken initiative without our office needing to intervene on their behalf – would their son still be alive today?

While the missing person’s case is closed, the investigation into cause of death and potential homicide or other foul play continues. We have also continued to help the family in any way we can. From picking up the young man’s belongings from the coroner, pulling his credit to figure out what he still owed on the vehicle, following up with Toyota Financial Services at their request to arrange for the car to be picked up from the LAPD impound, etc.

Soon, we will visit the son’s apartment to pack up his things there for shipping back to his family. As diligently as we worked on this case, and as much time as we will put into helping with these final arrangements, we still wish mightily that we could have done more for this family. Despite knowing that we did all we could, we will wonder and wish right along with them, if we could have spoken whatever words or made whatever phone call that might have led to a different outcome in this case.

Being a P.I. is not always the glamorous, exciting work portrayed in the movies and on TV. It’s been a very sad several days for our office, though of course, we know, nothing compared to what this young man’s family is going through. Our hearts go out to them.