Skiptrace & Missing Persons 

Missing Persons:

VT-Private-Eye-Missing-PersonsAt the end of 2005 the Department of Justice reported 109,531 active missing person cases. More than half of those reported were children under the age of 18. Private investigators are frequently hired to find official missing persons or estranged relatives or associates. Many of these are not formally filed with law enforcement as missing person cases. Most have simply lost touch, though some have chosen to disappear for various reasons. Each missing person case is unique and costs can range from several hundred dollars per case, to several thousand dollars per case. If you have a proper name and proper identifiers, such as date of birth, or social security number, your chance of success is greatly enhanced. We are available to discuss your case if you have a need for a competent professional investigator.


The term skiptrace (also skip trace) comes from the expression "to skip town" meaning to leave in a rush, leaving minimal clues behind for someone to "trace" the "skip" to a new location. People usually skip town because of financial hardship, so the term is usually applied to the task of finding individuals for collection or debt recovery. But the term has also become synonymous with the finding of any missing person.

If you have spent much time on the internet you have probably seen websites that advertise "Find anyone for $35.00" or similar such claims. These are almost without exception useless if not outright scams. At best they will give you a list of old addresses, and many times will provide addresses of anyone with the targets name. At worst they will take your money and leave you nothing. Such searches will likely just confuse, rather than clarify your search efforts.

We have the means to locate your party promptly and cost effectively. We have been doing locates for our clients for the better part of 30 years. We subscribe to proven information resources, which enable us to cross check the data integrity. While we use databases on nearly all locates, the missing person is usually located by further investigative inquiries. We have the knowledge and experience to find your missing person. Whether you need to locate an estranged relative, an old friend or schoolmate, a missing child, or a biological parent; we can help.

A few of the most common locate services we provide to individuals are:

Debtor Locates:

These individuals can be the most difficult to locate. Odds are, if a debtor owes you money, they owe others money. They frequently use false or altered social security numbers and dates of birth. Debtors move frequently and often misreport addresses and other identifying information. Databases are either nonexistent or are littered with inaccuracies and old outdated information. We have the experience to spot valid identifiers and turn them into leads that help find the debtor. These individuals are often found through relatives, neighbors, and former or current co-workers.


A runaway is a minor who has the left the home of his or her parent or legal guardian without permission, or has been thrown out by his or her parent. If you want us to help you find a runaway minor, you need provide a copy of an active missing person police report. Once we are satisfied that you are the legal guardian we will work directly for you. We will always liaison with the investigating law enforcement officer to share information, and to insure that the recovery of the child is performed legally and everything is above board. If you have not filed a missing person report, or can not prove that you are the legal guardian of the child, we will be unable to help you find the child. Once we are hired we start the process of locating the child. Databases are frequently of little value, as children seldom have credit or a history of public records. If the child is believed to be traveling with an adult, we can track the adult in the hopes of finding the child with him or her. Most runaway cases are solved by old fashioned investigative techniques. We interview witnesses including relatives, neighbors, friends, and friend's parents. We develop informants whenever appropriate, and keep you apprised of the status of the investigation at all times. We comb the neighborhood, posting missing flyers, and if needed, we liaison with media and law enforcement. We charge an hourly rate, mileage, and expenses for these services, and unlike some locators, we do not charge a finders fee when we find the child.

Friends & Relatives:

Relative locates are usually fairly straightforward, provided you have a proper name and an identifier or two. Long lost friends can be more difficult to find because often the client has no identifiers. If the missing person has a unique name and\or you know their birth date it will aid substantially in the investigation.

Adoptions/Birth Parents:

Many of our personal locates involve adopted children, who as adults decide to find their biological/birth parents. These can be very difficult locates. Many adoptions were handled in secrecy and remain secret for years if not decades. By the time the adult child begins to search for their birth parents, witnesses' memories have faded, scant records that may have once existed have been lost, and some witnesses have passed away. Others may be unwilling to talk for obvious reasons. Unfortunately the biological father's name is seldom known. If the biological father's proper name is known the chances are better that he can be located. If searching for the biological mother there are a number of obstacles. The biological mother may have used an assumed name at the time of the adoption. Even if she used her real name, chances are that she has married once if not more times, causing name changes. Finally, as a word of caution, we always tell clients to make sure they are constitutionally and emotionally prepared to learn the truth. Sometimes the truth can be more painful that not knowing. Your biological parents may be found, but may not want to speak with you, in which case we are morally bound to honor their wishes. Worse yet they may be deceased, incarcerated, or never found. As long as you understand the difficulties of these types of investigations, and are sure you are prepared to know the truth, we would be happy to discuss your specific case. Many of our adoption locates have ended as happy stories, with a loving parent reunited with a longing child. We will work with you fairly and compassionately to help you learn the truth.