Child abduction cases require immediate action by highly skilled professionals, and when it comes to this most serious of crimes, a parent can never have too much assistance. This includes a blend of government law enforcement authorities and a competent private investigator. If your child has been abducted, a professional private investigator may be able to rapidly uncover and disclose information in ways that others cannot – a critical benefit for the distraught parent who needs answers and results now.
A competent private investigator can succeed where others may fail, and those who are particularly tenacious and experienced can work any type of child abduction case, while others specialize in a particular area such as spousal child abductions:
- Parental or other close family child abductions
- Kidnappings with or without ransom (Note: kidnappings with ransom is a specialty field)
- Sex or Pornography Trafficking
All of these types of cases depend upon instantaneous and sustained action, but unfortunately, intensely stressed parents may not always think to hire a private investigator to work a child abduction case. Too many people believe that once the police have been notified, there is nothing else to be done. This is not correct, as a private investigator can accomplish a great deal in those first few crucial hours when law enforcement teams are being mustered. However, it is important to note that a professional private investigator should never interfere with the work of government authorities; instead, the PI is considered a powerful supplemental tool.
Ultimately, parents should be aware that it is their right to hire outside assistance.
The Benefits of Hiring a Private Investigator to Handle a Child Abduction Case
1. Immediate Personal Attention
In child abduction cases where local law enforcement act quickly, the case will almost immediately be handed over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Unfortunately, the FBI is busy; in 2012 alone the FBI’s National Crime Information Database logged more than 797,000 missing children reports. (1)
Additionally, local law enforcement often act with varying degrees of efficiency, and in some instances child abduction cases may not be taken seriously, especially if there has been a history of family or domestic problems, instances where the youth has runaway, etc.
Sometimes, only a private investigator can give you the immediate personal attention required to properly work your case.
2. Not Bound by Department Policies
Private investigators are not bound by local or regional law enforcement policies and procedures, including a lack of manpower and a prevalence of desk or street cops that are not well-versed in child abduction cases. When you work with a PI to locate and return your child, there is no waiting period, no restrictions on working terms and no doubt about what is happening during the case.
3. Can be on the ground POC or liaison for FBI CARD Program – Child Abduction Rapid Deployment
The FBI generally has jurisdiction when working cases of child abduction, but a private investigator already familiar with the case can act as a liaison between law enforcement and family members. A private investigator can assist in preparing information or materials so that the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD) team can efficiently do their job.
5. Understand Federal Statutes
It’s not often that your local law enforcement’s dispatcher or other professional will be familiar with federal statues regarding crimes against children. Remember; your report must be routed from dispatch to the proper detective or officer within the department. Lack of familiarity with federal statute can waste valuable time.
Fortunately, a private investigator who has maintained their commitment to Continuing Education will be adept at interpreting or uncovering these statues, which govern how the federal government will respond to your child abduction case. (2)
6. Powerful Investigative & Skip Tracing Abilities
Today’s private investigator has access to powerful tools that can track and find virtually anyone; with many PI’s specializing in locating elusive individuals. This means that if there are leads that are not being explored by (or not explored sufficiently by) authorities, a private investigator can rapidly put these potent skills to use in finding the person who has your child.
7. Can Arrange a Ransom in the Event you Refuse to go to the Police
Sometimes, a child abduction situation may require extreme delicacy. In rare cases, a parent may not feel confident going to the police, or they may have been threatened. While a professional private investigator will in most cases advise you to contact the FBI or other authorities, sometimes this just isn’t possible or safe. In these cases, a private investigator may be able to help arrange and monitor the situation to ensure the safe return of your child.
8. Diversify Efforts
Ultimately, the more people you have looking for your child, the more likely it is that, through cooperation and diversification, your child will be found.
What Exactly Will a Private Investigator DO?
- Question & follow up with witnesses
- Conduct background investigations on involved parties
- Locate & track a suspect, including multiple suspects
- Interview police, medical and rescue officials
- Examine photographs, videos, other images
- Interview other related victims
- Utilize advanced technology to secure information
- Develop leads using various other methods
How to Hire a Private Investigator for a Child Abduction Case
If your child has been abducted, it may not be easy for you to think clearly, and this is where a private investigator can help you the most – by providing you with careful guidance on each step required to locate and return your child safely. Don’t know how to hire a private investigator? Follow these bullet points to ensure that you find the right man or woman for the job:
Confirm Professional Association Membership: Dedicated private investigators should typically belong to a professional industry association.
Verify Proper Insurances: Is the detective insured, bonded, registered? Are they (and you) financially protected and authorized to perform the type of work in question?
Discuss Previous Cases or Specialized Training: Has the investigator worked a child abduction case previously, or have they received specific training for this task?
Does the PI have Contacts in the Right Places: Does the investigator have contacts in the agencies that will be responsible for handling your child abduction case?
An Excellent Bedside Manner: Does the investigator have a good “bedside manner?” This is something you will know personally when you talk with the detective. Remember that during this extremely stressful time, it’s best to work with someone that you don’t find rude or abrasive, but you also want to avoid a PI that is too passive.
Immediate and Sustained Availability: Does the private investigator have immediate and sustained ability to work your case? The most critical time is the first few hours after your child has been abducted (3), so you need to work with someone who has the time, ability and resources to achieve immediate results.
Ability to Travel: Often, investigators will need to travel to follow up on leads or directly pursue a suspect. If the PI you are speaking with is not prepared to travel – including to other countries, as is often the case in parental child abductions, then you need to find another professional who can.
Knowledge of Existing Laws Regarding Child Abduction Cases: Does the investigator possess working knowledge of the federal statutes mentioned earlier, and local laws regarding child abduction cases?
The Better Business Bureau or BBB: This is still an excellent resource; a quick online check can provide you with a significant amount of valuable information about the private investigator you are considering hiring.
Of course, vetting a private investigator may not be something that you have time for when the search for your child is on. However, asking a few questions and verifying some basic information can make the difference between finding a highly competent investigator and finding one who is, for your intents and purposes, a dud. If you have questions or need to hire a private investigator immediately, please contact me now. But first, if your child has been abducted, please contact your local police, the FBI and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
There is no time to waste.
(1) FBI Violent Crimes Against Children – Non-Family Child Abductions Accessed 09/09/2014
(2) FBI Violent Crimes Against Children – Federal Statutes Relating to Crimes Against Children Accessed 09/09/2014 http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/cac/federal-statutes
(3) Washington State Office of the Attorney General 2006 Child Abduction Murder Study Accessed 09/10/2014