Let me start with telling you how not to find someone.
There are scores of private investigators in Florida and everywhere else who will answer that question with one word, “Sure!” And then they would tap a few keys on a database--maybe one of the same ones I use--come up with the most recent address, and call up the client. “Found him!” they’ll announce, and rattle off to the client what they have on the screen. “And you only owe me $50”
A database record is only as good as the source of the data. What that means is, John Q. Citizen (our missing person or witness) moves from one part of town (Kendall) to another (Miami Springs) and decides not to comply with state law and change his address on his driver’s license, because it’s too much hassle, or he forgot or whatever it may be. When someone knows they are being sought, they’ll take even greater measures.
Now, that record is outdated, and inaccurate.
The person doing a real investigation decides that, before contacting the client, he’d like to confirm or corroborate the information. He runs a DMV check and gets the registration information on Mr. Citizen’s car, and notes the make, color, and tag number. The registration shows the Kendall address. It doesn’t have to be updated until his next birthday.
Then he runs it through the tag recognition system, which is available to private investigators who subscribe to sophisticated research databases. The car is showing up everywhere but Kendall.
So Mr. Real Investigator decides to drive by the Kendall address at 3am, when most people are sleeping and cars are more likely to be in driveways.
Hm. It’s not there.
Then he checks Citizen’s Facebook page, and sees that our missing person has been enjoying going to various restaurants and bars in Miami Springs. Citizen took a selfie at one of the bars during a Monday Night Football game, with the caption, “Monday Night Football at Woodie’s!”
Next Monday night, one of our investigators goes there, and bingo, there’s our guy (taking more selfies, of course). We follow him home, to a rental place two blocks away in Miami Springs, and now we know where’s living.
Investigation is defined as a “detailed inquiry and systematic examination.” That definition demands high standards, for confirmation of whatever shreds of information show up on a computer screen.
It doesn’t always happen this fast. Sometimes it’s easier, sometimes, much harder. There are many intangibles involved in any kind of investigation, and good investigators have to adapt and adjust with them.
I don’t mind making those adjustments, and going the extra mile, because I like finding people. The more challenging the better. Being able to call my client and say--with confidence--”I found him”--gives me a thrill, every time.
Of course, no adjustments are needed if you’re just sitting behind your laptop, tapping keys. In that case, it won’t be long before your client makes the ultimate adjustment: to find another private investigator.