Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Private Investigators – The Sherlock Holmes of today


Private detectives today break the age-old mold


Due to blockbuster movies, books and television shows people may have a notion that private investigators sit in their smoke filled offices smoking a pipe while hired by some jilted homemaker to follow around her cheating husband. While investigators do follow cheating spouses, the world of private investigation has expanded beyond our wildest dreams with use of new methods of investigation and ever enhanced technology.
Private investigators have existed for over 150 years. In 1850, Allan Pinkerton founded Pinkerton National Detective Agency in France. Eventually it became the most recognized private investigation firm in the United States, even coining the term private eye.
Private investigators of today are creative and masterful in their investigative techniques whether investigating a murder, searching for a missing person, tracking down art thieves, corporate investigations that can include everything from employee background checks to financial and insurance fraud. In essence, the private detectives of today are responsible for ensuring the quality of the workforce today. They can provide clients with background information about a person or corporation.
Instead of smoking a pipe and lurking in the shadows, the private detective of today may be a master at Yoga, sipping on green tea while sitting in his vehicle providing surveillance on a Fortune 500 company employee suspected of embezzlement. Similar to sworn officers, many private investigators are experts in their fields and tracking down witnesses in a homicide case to unearth new information to provide a family with justice. They may be infiltrating the child sex trafficking rings to rescue children or making a buy of stolen jewelry from an international crime ring.
Not always the most glamorous job, but the investigators of today possess skills that make them masters in their trade. Gathering and analyzing information, private investigators know where to go to obtain the most up to date and accurate information on subjects of interest. Their findings and expert testimony can make or break a court case. Whether they are on a fact finding mission, verifying an identity, generating new leads on a cold case, tailing a person of interest with GPS, or taking baby diapers out of trashcans to obtain DNA for the subject of a paternity test the new age private eyes are masters of their universe.
For more information please contact Lauth Investigations at 800.889.3463 or visit their website at www.lauthinvestigations.com

About the Author: Kym L. Pasqualini is founder of the Nation’s missing Children Organization in 1994 and the National Center for Missing Adults in 2000. Kym is considered an expert in the field of missing persons and has spent 20 years working with government officials, law enforcement, advocates, private investigators, and national media. 


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Examiner.com Article - Local heroes offer victims of child abuse hope and empowerment



Bikers Against Child Abuse International (BACA) was founded by John Paul ‘Chief’ Lilly, a licensed clinical social worker who serves as faculty at Brigham Young University working with abused children. Chief identified several gaps in the system that hindered a child’s ability to heal in the aftermath of abuse, first being safety for the children and second, funding for therapy.  

Determined to ensure no perpetrator who has victimized a child should make the child feel powerless, Chief put thoughts into action and rallied bikers in his community to join him in an effort to protect children. In 1995, the first ride to visit wounded children and adopt them into the biker community was organized by Chief in Utah. Word travelled fast and bikers throughout the country embraced the mission. BACA now has presence in nearly every state in the U.S. with two BACA chapters in Arizona.


BACA is a volunteer organization whose members include people from every occupation, including but not limited to business owners, law enforcement officers, construction workers, teachers, doctors, media personalities, you name it. Even rockers like Dee Snider, former lead singer of Twisted Sister sports a BACA patch. The only individuals not permitted into BACA membership are child abusers and pedophiles. Fingerprint and background tests are conducted on all BACA members.

Phoenix child is victim of rape
A young teen-age girl becomes the victim of a rape in Phoenix while babysitting for her neighbor’s young child. Only doors away from her own home, the parents of the toddler she regularly babysat for raped the young teen in twisted, disgusting fashion. Mom and daughter received death threats if they reported the incident to authorities; they were intimidated and harassed. After telling her mother what had occurred, and fearing for her daughter’s life, the mother immediately reported the incident to local authorities. Forced to relocate fearing for their safety, the mother wishes her and her daughter’s identities remained anonymous for this report.  

“This experience has completely changed our lives,” says Mom.  “Living in fear and dealing with the emotional aftermath of crime can be very isolating.” Without help from state Crime Victim Relocation Assistance, the pair forced to move into anonymity, they find themselves constantly looking over their shoulder in fear to make sure the perpetrators do not follow them to their new home.  “Watching your child suffer from trauma is unimaginable but I do not think people realize the additional challenges families face in the aftermath of crime,” Mom adds.

Emotional trauma is not the only challenge faced by families attempting to heal from the effects of violent crime. Victimization affects entire families with increased expenses, loss of work and de-stabilization of the family core. For this single mother, who has been self-employed for twenty years and hit hard by the economic crisis, resources to help stabilize have been minimal. Trying to pay the bills has become an additional source of stress as Mom attempts to balance caring for her daughter now diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), requiring intensive treatment. “A parent can’t choose between saving your child’s life, ensuring your child is receiving the appropriate medical care and working twelve hours a day to survive because caring for your child become your full-time job,” says Mom.

From helpless to healing
After calling local, state, federal and social service agencies throughout Arizona and receiving little assistance, Mom received a referral to what she thought was a somewhat unconventional resource. Mom’s friend, a former Special Agent for the FBI gave her the number for the Maricopa County Chapter of BACA.

Bikers Against Child Abuse making a difference in the lives of children.
“I was at a point of feeling beyond helpless,” says Mom. Following the advice of her friend, she called BACA and reached a comforting voice on the other end of the phone. The woman introduced herself by the name of Sassy. “Hearing her voice I immediately knew I reached someone who understood our plight.” They scheduled a time to meet in person.  

All BACA members go by nicknames. Pipes is a man over 6ft tall and President of the Maricopa County Chapter of BACA, accompanied by Sassy, BACA Treasurer and Child Liaison, arrived at the mother and daughter’s home to assess how BACA could help. “We offer families support services to ensure the child feels safe and empowered,” says Sassy. “We welcome the victim and their family into our BACA family and walk beside the child for the long haul to help them feel safe, promote healing and gain strength, especially important if the child must  face their abuser(s) in court.”


BACA touches the life of Phoenix child
On the afternoon of June 3, 2012, approximately 20 BACA members roared into the apartment complex where the young teen and her mother live. Out walks a tiny sixteen year old barely 4’ ft. 9” and 90 lbs. She is accompanied by several friends and family members to greet her visitors as they get off their motorcycles. Neighbors begin peeking out their windows.

Pipes, President of Arizona BACA reassuring the child victim she now
has a new family to watch over her.
The BACA members, both men and women, lined up in single file to introduce themselves to the child and her mother. Along with Pipes and Sassy, there was Dom, Harmony, Rembrandt, Rock, Uno, and on and on until all made their introduction. What followed brought grown men to tears.

Pipes, who towers over most grown men, bent over to tell the young girl she no longer has to live in fear, and to look out at each of the members who are now her family. They present her with a vest complete with her new BACA name – “Feisty” - and then Harmony, a beautiful woman with black hair wearing a leather vest gently ties a BACA doo rag to Feisty’s head. They proceed to pass a blanket with the BACA logo around to each member to fill it with love. Each member, some wearing doo rags, some with long beards and tattoos, hug the blanket tight then pass it to the next member.  Filled with the love from the big hearts of volunteer bikers dedicated to helping children heal from abuse, they presented the blanket to Feisty as tears ran down the faces of onlookers.

Harmony, member of BACA ties Feisty's doo rag as Feisty
 holds her love filled BACA blanket.
The teens’s great Uncle, a veteran of the United States Army, with tears in his eyes said, “This is probably the most awesome group of volunteers I have ever met. The support they are giving Feisty is immeasurable,” the Uncle said. “It was a feeling of brotherhood that I have not felt for years and you know they have your back covered.”

Embraced by a new family, Feisty now has someone she can call or text 24-hours a day. Mom says she has already noticed a big difference in her daughter. “She feels empowered and is transitioning from victim into a young lady who is empowered to seek justice for herself and others because she no longer feels alone and powerless,” says Mom.



More about BACA
Prior to accepting any case, information provided by the victim’s parent or caretaker is then verified with the investigating law enforcement agency. Case information is verified by utilizing various methods such as speaking to the detective, reviewing police reports, court transcripts, and medical records if necessary. Two BACA members are present when meeting with the child at all times.

BACA is not a group of biker vigilantes. BACA is a 501c3 nonprofit organization run by volunteers who care about children. Donations to the organization help finance everything from paying for therapy by licensed practitioners to activities the help empower a child such as karate lessons, horseback riding, cheerleading camp, even driving the child to appointments.

Raising public awareness, BACA members organize public events to educate the public of the epidemic of child abuse. The organization works cooperatively with law enforcement agencies throughout the country. At times they are even accompanied by police escorts during public activities or visits to homes of children, to ensure the public they have nothing to fear from this tough looking group of individuals riding motorcycles into their neighborhoods.

After the initial assessment and meeting with the victim and family, BACA has various levels of intervention.
·         Level 1 Intervention consists of deploying a ride to the victim’s home, showing physical presence, and holding a ceremony that inducts the child into the BACA family, ensuring the victim they are not alone.  Two BACA members are assigned to the child as primary contacts and available 24 hours a day to provide support should the child experience fear or just need to talk.

·         Level 2 Intervention includes assigning BACA members to provide visible security at the home of the victim to ensure the victim’s safety and deter further abuse.

·         Level 3 Intervention may be carried out if Level 2 has not served as a deterrent to the perpetrator.  Level 3 can include written contact on BACA letterhead addressed to the perpetrator to deter additional intimidation or harassment of the child.

·         Level 4 Intervention could include conducting a Neighborhood Awareness Ride in the general location of the perpetrator to hand out stickers and literature to families to help deter an abuser from claiming additional victims and raising awareness of those that live in the general vicinity and may be at risk of victimization. BACA does not condone or support use of aggression. 

If the child requests BACA physical presence in the courtroom, BACA members will also accompany victim to court appearances to help prevent the child feeling intimidated or frightened while having to testify.

For more information or to make a donation to Bikers Against Child Abuse please visit http://arizona.bacaworld.org/

Author – Kym L. Pasqualini
Founder, National Center for Missing Adults

riter for Examiner.com


Friday, June 8, 2012

Hope revived in search of Elizabeth Gill, child who disappeared in 1965

Elizabeth Gill

Elizabeth Gill was only 2 ½ years old when she vanished from her family’s home, in the area of the 300 block of south Larimer Street in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The little blonde haired toddler had been playing in the front yard with a sand pail on June 13, 1965, at approximately 4PM. Decades later, the family has never given up the faith that they will find her alive.
The family has long believed a group of drifters that had been staying at a hotel in the area of Elizabeth’s residence may have kidnapped her. A witness reported seeing the individuals on two different occasions try to lure Elizabeth into their vehicle. The drifters had been selling purses close to the house, and early on in the investigation considered persons of interest, but could never be located.
Elizabeth Gill sitting on porch of her home
Detective Jim Smith reopened the cold case in 2003. Smith told the Associated Press, “What do they think about every night, every holiday, every birthday? Their family has never been complete. They are always going to wonder what happened to Elizabeth. If I could give them an answer, it would be one of the greatest things that’s has ever happened to me as a law enforcement officer.”
Recently, the family hired a private detective who visited with Smith and Elizabeth’s sister, Martha Gill-Hamilton.  Mike Neverett, a Florida private investigator, and Smith believe it may only be a matter of time before they solve this mystery. Neverett traveled to Missouri this April to meet with Elizabeth’s family and the detective to research the case.
Taking an interesting approach, Neverett, who has been involved in the case for over seven years, recently visited the old Gill home on Lorimar Street and began taking pictures of what he describes as “pictures through the eyes of a child.” Clicking pictures of surrounding homes and the neighborhood from the height Elizabeth would have been at time of her disappearance. He hopes this may jar the memory of a woman who would now be 49 years old, and the youngest of ten children. Elizabeth’s father passed away in 1970 never knowing what happened to the youngest apple of his eye, but Elizabeth’s mother and remaining siblings have never given up hope of being reunited.
Age Progression and pictures of the Gill sisters
Having worked alongside law enforcement for nearly two decades with many cold cases, I agree this case had all the potential elements of a solvable case. With increased national news exposure, law enforcement and private investigators working cooperatively, and especially utilizing the power of social media, there is a good potential of bringing Elizabeth home to her family. The pictures could be the key to jogging the memory of a woman who has never truly known who she is.
Even I have memories of standing in my crib calling out to my mother because I had an earache. I could not have been more than a year and a half old. The mind stores everything and things decades old like a smell, a sound, and yes, even a picture can take us back. We also know in every case of a suspicious disappearance of a child or adult, someone out there knows something.
We can all take a part in reuniting Elizabeth with her family by sharing her information. Let us all unite as a real social community and bring Elizabeth home!
For additional information, please visit www.missingkids.com. If you have information or believe you may be Elizabeth Gill, please call Det. Jim Smith at the Cape Girardeau (MO) Police Department at 573-335-6621, ext. 1120.
About the Author: Kym L. Pasqualini is founder of the Nation’s missing Children Organization in 1994 and the National Center for Missing Adults in 2000. Kym is considered an expert in the field of missing persons and has spent 20 years working with government officials, law enforcement, advocates, private investigators, and national media. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The 1968 disappearance of Madeline ‘Lynn’ Babcock


Madeline 'Lynn' Babcock vanished 1968

According to the FBI National Crime Information Center (NCIC) as of May 1, 2012, there are 47,673 active missing adult cases in the United States. Many of these cases date back decades.
Madeline Anna Babcock was 35 years old when she vanished from Venice, CA. The beautiful young woman who went by the nickname Lynn, had been employed as a barmaid at Fred’s Tavern and worked a second job on an assembly line at a local factory, in Santa Monica.
According to Patricia Foy, Madeline’s sister, the last time anyone heard from Madeline was the afternoon of June 11, 1968 at approximately 4:00pm when she called her mother from a payphone in Venice. She told her mother that she planned to have a friend drive her to her mother’s home the following day, approximately 20 miles away; she never arrived.
In July, Madeline’s mother and sister travelled to Venice in search of her, and they were told by the owner of the tavern that Madeline had not reported to work the first week of July. Madeline’s property owner at her apartment on Flower Street permitted her mother and sister entry into her apartment, where they found all of her personal belongings were gone. It appeared she had moved out, though the property owner had not been aware of any activity at the residence. The identity of Madeline’s friend who she indicated was going to drive her to her mother’s home was never identified. Foy and her mother proceeded to attempt to make a missing person report with Venice Police Department, but they were told by police that Madeline probably left willingly; her family disagrees.
Madeline Babcock's disappearance remains mystery
In 1968, law enforcement’s handling of missing person cases was very different than it is today. The FBI’s NCIC system did not exist and families were lucky to get police to accept a missing person report. Currently, Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the case, but leads have grown cold in the years following. She would be almost 80 years old today.
In 2007 a person came forward and said they may have possible information that Madeline had been located, but unable to speak for herself. According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS), Madeline was born with hydrocephalus, an often disability condition that can cause swelling of the brain. Madeline’s mother has since passed away but Foy provided a DNA sample to cross-reference with the DNA from the unidentified woman but it was not a match.
Often long-term missing person cases fall through the cracks and sadly, decades can pass without resolution for surviving family members. Many families have turned to private investigators for help. With any cold case, private investigators focus on reviving leads by interviewing individuals who knew the missing person at the time of their disappearance, former coworkers, friends, and family.  Working cooperatively with law enforcement, private investigators bring with them a new set of eyes to review details of the case and the ability to spark the interest of media providing exposure necessary to potentially generate new leads. Advocates caution families to check the work history of any private investigator they plan to hire to avoid becoming victims of financial and emotional exploitation, but also agree hiring a private investigator may be their only hope to find the fate of their missing loved one.
About the Author: Kym L. Pasqualini is founder of the Nation’s missing Children Organization in 1994 and the National Center for Missing Adults in 2000. Kym is considered an expert in the field of missing persons and has spent 20 years working with government officials, law enforcement, advocates, private investigators, and national media.