Friday, April 22, 2016

Beauty through the cracks

It's an early sunday morning in the tenderloin district in San Francisco, the fog is just starting to dissipate. Our investigator is waiting eagerly for a facility that specializes in helping mentally and physically disabled women get back on their feet to open. Today after two months of investigating is the end of a case that has been a lifetime of questions for a client.  

Morrow Detective Agency is honored to take on pro bono cases, especially ones that involve putting a family back together or helping the innocent regain what is theirs. We were tasked to help a client locate their Mother that they had been taken away from when they were young. Back in the late eighties a woman who was a former decorated military soldier had started making a family, unfortunately as her family was forming she started her bout with schizophrenia. This eternal battle that she was stricken with eventually led to her losing custody of her children. My client was placed into the system and eventually with another family. As time went by the client wondered about her parents as well as her siblings. 

The client was lucky to meet some wonderful genealogists who were able to assist her with getting clues, she reached out to the state and was able to get a copy of her birth certificate. But that is where the biggest part of the puzzle formed, the name on the birth certificate seemed to belong to a person who no longer existed. At this point our company was contacted and we decided to do what we could. A thorough search was conducted and we were able to discern that the woman had in fact changed her name. A search on that name produced a history of a transient lifestyle, it also showed other of the client's siblings coming in and out of the mother's life. Eventually our search led us to San Francisco. We placed phone calls and found out that the Mother had gotten hold of her illness and was residing in a place for homeless women who have mental or physical disabilities. We attempted to find a good number for the women but all the numbers we had came back disconnected. We called the manager of the building and asked that they pass over a message to their tenant. 

Two months go by with no word back from the mother. The questions of course are still ever prevalent, did the subject not want to be connected to her family? Did the manager fail to pass on our message over to her? Had the subject relapsed into her illness and not be able to discern reality from illusions? The only way to find out would be to go up to the city by the bay and see for ourselves. 

On this Sunday morning our investigator is told that they will not allow visitors into the building until after 8 o clock. The neighborhood that the woman resides in is not the best, however sometimes if you allow yourself the time to see past your fears, you can observe some great things. While walking through the neighborhood we observed a man going from doorway to doorway with a broom and a bag, cleaning his neighbors doorway. We observe a man running to a donut shop and coming out and handing a homeless man a warm donut. Through the dirt and grime and the feeling of dismay of how a country as rich as ours is can have streets like this in it, there was beauty. 

8 o clock comes and we are admitted into the building, a small Asian woman with kind eyes asks our investigator if we can help her get her mail, which she has to stand on her tip toes in order to get. We gladly assisted her and she led us to the old school lift. We asked if she knew the woman we were searching for and said that she did. She said that the woman was nice but kept to herself. Our investigator get's off on the second floor and the small woman smiles and wishes the investigator a great day. Room 219 was located at the end of the hallway,  as we walk through the hallway some of the women that were greeting each other got quite and gave us suspicious stares. We get to the unit and knock on the door and after a moment the door cracks open partially. We explain to the woman who we are and more importantly who we are there for. We say the name of her child, the name on the birth certificate that has since changed and the woman corrects us. A light of recognition is in her eyes. She opens the doorway and though still guarded comes out and is ready to hear the rest. After explaining why we were there she simply asked what does the client want to know? We tell her that the client want's to know if she is ok? The woman smiles and says that she is. We ask the woman if it will be ok for the client to call her. The woman sadly shakes her head, she unfortunately cannot afford a telephone. The woman said that either the client is going to have to write her or come down and see her. But she was more than willing to speak with her.  We ask the woman if she would be willing to allow for us to take her picture so that the client can see her. The woman gladly has her picture taken. After a few more minutes of idle chit chat about San Francisco our investigator tells the woman goodbye and we depart the city by the bay. We pass on the confirmation of finding the mother to the client who is ecstatic and making arrangements to communicate with her

All we can hope is that the Mother will be able to continue to gain ground against her illness and that her family will all one day be reunited. It is easy to look at the surface of things and think that is the only thing worth seeing, however if you just take a moment and study things you may see the beauty that has slipped through the cracks. 

Morrow Detective Agency is a licensed private investigation firm located on the border of Ventura and Los Angeles, Ca in Simi Valley, CA. Morrow Detective Agency is capable of performing surveillance, process service, locates, background investigations, asset investigations, and more. Please feel free to visit our website at or give us a call at (805) 823-3540 and allow us to make your problem our solution!


Thursday, February 11, 2016

The one that got away

We often start our blog with one day a client called. Well today, we are not going to disappoint. One day a male client called. He needed for us to find a woman that he used to know. As is our normal screening process for these type of request, we asked the client about his story. The client was originally from a mid-western state. While working for a manufacturing plant he started getting close to a woman who worked as an office manager. The woman was pretty and had an outgoing personality. The client and the woman would spend time together on breaks and would make the occasional phone call. After a while the client and the woman got to be close, unfortunately the client was called to move to the west coast and eventually fell out of touch with the woman. Fast forward approximately 23 years. The man is no longer in a relationship that he started here on the west coast. He reflects as we all have a tendency to do about happy times, and the people that were around.

After providing us with his story, we advised the client that we have certain rules that we strictly adhere to when working on these type of reunification cases. The primary rule is that we will complete a reunification if both parties agree to it.  If the target ( the person we are seeking) does not want to be reunited with the individual than we don't provide our client with their contact information. This protects the target from being stalked, the client from becoming a stalker, and our company from the nightmare of helping someone put themselves in the position to do someone some harm. The client of course had some questions about this, his main question was how would he know that we had successfully concluded our job if the target declined to be contacted by the target. We advised him that we request that the target goes on recorded record to state that they do not wish to be contacted by the target. The client agreed to our terms and provided us the information that we would need in order to get started on his case. 

Imagine searching for someone with an extremely common name, something like Jane Smith. Well our client was searching for a similar common name. The only saving grace with this case was he had an approximate age range. Not a birthday, but a decent age range. We searched for the target with the given parameters and came up with 5 potential subjects. The first subject was in Iowa, further investigating showed that she worked as a dispatcher and was married. A soft inquiry was made and we were able to determine that she was not the Jane that we were searching for. The next Jane we caught up to had three children and was divorced. She coincidentally also was an office manager. However after speaking with her we were able to determine that she did not know our client. The other two remaining targets were the same, not the right people. The last name on the list was the one that we were hoping to avoid, this Jane had unfortunately passed away.  We were able to determine some of our findings by speaking with her mother who confirmed that she did work for the company that our target had worked for. We also were able to locate an online obituary that had a picture on the front cover. 

After compiling all of this information we had to do the hardest part of the job. We presented it to our client. Our client was shocked when he heard the information. He stated that he had known that she was having some challenges before she left and he wanted us to find out how she died. He felt that she may have fallen victim to foul play. The following morning we made our inquiries and found out that the she had in fact been a victim of foul play, but to herself. She had unfortunately committed suicide. This news devastated our client.  It was not what he had planned to hear, it certainly was not the ending that he was hoping for. Our client filled up with regret, he felt that he could have been the one to change this ending of her story. Unfortunately she became the one who will forever be the one that got away. 

Morrow Detective Agency is a licensed private investigation firm located on the border of Ventura and Los Angeles, Ca in Simi Valley, CA. Morrow Detective Agency is capable of performing surveillance, process service, locates, background investigations, asset investigations, and more. Please feel free to visit our website at or give us a call at (805) 823-3540 and allow us to make your problem our solution!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

No refunds for the lonely

Being single in modern times is tough, you open up social media and are inundated with photographs of seemingly happy couples, or post's of couples being at romantic places. Most of us do not want to be alone. We weren't designed to be so. 

A client of mine called one evening. She had met a gentlemen online through another friends Facebook page. After chatting with this person, both online and on the phone she started to get some feelings for him. The man advised my client that he was a widower, his wife died of a heart attack last year, and he was left to raise their minor aged daughter alone. The man was finally going through his grieving process and was ready to find someone to move forward with in his life. My client wanting companionship as well,  and was delighted that this mans desires matched her own. After a short while things started to slowly change. The man told my client that he sometimes has to fly out of the country on business and that he would be going to Nigeria on a trip. 

While out of the country my client and her paramour continue to keep in touch. They speak daily and the man starts to ingratiate himself into her life. One day the man calls my client and says that he is in need of her help. As she knew he was out of the country but his daughter was at his sister's house and he needed some money to send to her for her birthday party, would she mind sending $100.00 to help him out? My client happily wires the money to his sister so that his daughter could have a great birthday party. Another couple of weeks go by and the man calls my client again, this time he has been robbed of some money and he is trying to get out of the country to go to his next place of business. He asks if she could please send him $500.00 to help him out? My client goes to the store and wired him the additional $500.00.

Another week goes by and the man is keeping in touch with my client. As they are cementing plans to meet face to face, tragedy strikes again. The man is stuck out of the country and needs money to pay for a new passport to go back home, he states that he is being held on the continent and will need an additional $5000.00 in order to come home. At this point my client becomes highly suspicious, she calls our offices and gives us the name, address, telephone number, deceased wife's name, and the name of the mans daughter. Before she continues on with this she wants to make sure that he is who he says he is and that everything is legit. Normally when a detective agency is supplied with all of this information we are able to pull in a lot of results. Well that did not happen, in fact, there was nothing, the name and date of birth could not be found in any databases. The address that he said he bought and lived in, could not be found anywhere, no county recorders recorders or tax records. The telephone number came back with no subscriber information, this usually indicates a prepaid burner phone. No deceased wife as well. The biggest kicker was when we were able to take his social media photographs and link them to different accounts with different names. We also were able to locate stories about him specifically and were able to find real photos of the con artist. 

Obviously by now you can see that this is fraud. My client was being strung along and taken for a ride. Once we reported our findings to her, our client became upset. She confronted the man with what we found and the man lied about it to the end, he even stated that he wanted to speak with the investigator and asked if the client had something for the investigator. But by this time it was too late the client saw through his charade, unfortunately there are no refunds for the lonely though, since anything you wire overseas comes with a warning. Hopefully someone out there will read this and not be taken advantage of, if you are going through this or you know of someone who is we encourage you to speak with either law enforcement or a professional licensed investigator. Thankfully my client contacted us before she was thousands of dollars in the hole. Some people aren't that lucky. 

Morrow Detective Agency is a licensed private investigation firm located on the border of Ventura and Los Angeles, Ca in Simi Valley, CA. Morrow Detective Agency is capable of performing surveillance, process service, locates, background investigations, asset investigations, and more. Please feel free to visit our website at or give us a call at (805) 823-3540 and allow us to make your problem our solution!