All parents go through it at some point. Innocently shopping with their child and suddenly they turn around and the child is gone. Your pulse quickens. You get that feeling in the pit of your stomach. You frantically race along the aisles searching desperately. Then you spot your child in the toy section…or on the candy aisle. You run to them…hug them…scold them.
Now imagine that feeling prolonged over a week long period. Then for two weeks.
That is what a recent client went through. A father, we will call him John, came to us recently asking for help locating his 6 month old son. His mother was addicted to drugs. The child had been born addicted to drugs. John had played by the rules. He had gone to the court and received full custody of his son. Then one day during a supervised visitation that went wrong…the mother bolted with the child. John went back to the court and received an emergency pick-up order from the judge which directed law enforcement to remove the child from the mother and return him to John…by force if necessary.
The problem was that no one knew where she was. She had ties to Central Florida, South Florida and in Tennessee. She could literally be anywhere. Law Enforcement assured John that if they came into contact with her, they would detain her and return the baby to him. The problem was that they were not actively searching for the child because they had no idea where she might be.
John begged us for assistance. We took his case and started poring over her past records. Traffic tickets, arrests, employment and even her Facebook page. We located an ex-boyfriend who had a child with the mother. On a hunch, we did surveillance on his residence. On day one, nothing. On day two, nothing. Then, on day three, we saw him leave for work. After work he went by a local liquor store. Then he drove to a private residence. He took some beer into the home. We sat and waited…and watched. After a while a female emerged from the home. She entered the boyfriend’s car. She departed and we initiated mobile surveillance. At a traffic light, we got our first good look at her up close. It was the baby’s mother. The only problem was that the baby was not with her. We continued following her as she drove to the bowels of a run down South Florida neighborhood. She stopped in the middle of a city block and a male subject approached her car cautiously. After a quick hand to hand transaction where she obviously purchased drugs, she took off and continued driving. When she arrived back to the residence and went inside, we contacted John and told him we needed him to come down to our location with the certified court order. John was 5 hours away. So, we sat and waited and watched.
Around 11:00 p.m., John arrived and we explained what we had seen. We called local law enforcement to respond to the location. They were busy and it took over two hours. Finally, at 1:00 a.m., police arrived. We explained the situation. The police, armed with the judge’s order, banged on the door. There was no answer. They rapped steel flashlights on the door and windows. They woke up neighbors who claimed that they didn’t know her. After an hour, the police said they could do no more. The police left. John went to his hotel room to get a quick nap. We stayed on surveillance…waiting and watching for any sign of life. Then it happened…at 6:45 a.m. she stepped out front to smoke a cigarette. With precision, we moved into place. One investigator distracted her while the other quickly placed himself between her and the front door. A quick call to 911 and then to John and the police arrived. The baby was okay. John went home with the baby that morning and the mother was arrested for drug possession and an old warrant.
Not all cases turn out this way, but we were happy that we were able to assist John and locate his son.
If we can assist you, call us for a free consultation.