Reunited After 40+ Years!
“H” wanted to give her sister the gift of finding her father. She enlisted DIG to help find the man who had moved on after parting from “L’s” mother when she was 3 years old. Armed with limited information (dad’s full name, he was in the military, and he looked like Elvis with the raised lip, dark hair, and blue eyes!), DIG performed extensive research using open-source intelligence and paid subscription sources. A yearbook photo was found that matched the descriptors given, though it was from a school clear across the country. Correlating with closed-source information, DIG honed in on three potential candidates. The client’s sister was given this information and decided to call the most likely candidate. When she asked “Are you the person I’m looking for, ” he immediately answered, “Yes,” and the rest is history. DIG was honored to be invited to film the reunion. “L” and her father continue to have a very close relationship to this day.
“What a wonderful journey!! We owe it all to you, Lisa!!! Thank you for going those extra steps!!! Highly recommend!”; “Thank you Lisa @ Dragon Investigation Group for your determination to find information for us.”
The Faux Fashionista
Our client asked DIG to verify the identity of a person he met in an online dating app and to whom he had given money to help with her “fashion” business. DIG was provided with a copy of the woman’s driver’s license, passport, and access to her off-shore bank account, which our client had obtained on his own, trying to do his due diligence. It was immediately clear to DIG that the driver’s license was fake, the passport did not correspond to the lady’s story, and the bank account was blatantly false. The fashion business turned out to be a screen-printing shop. While no money was recovered, our client was advised to stop all communication with this person and to never give money to someone they have not met and even then, to be wary of new romantic interests asking for money, and asking DIG to do a background check before turning over any cash.
DNA Success and Sorrow
It seems everyone is getting DNA tested these days. Sometimes it’s because they are looking for their birth relative. Sometimes it’s to find out what area of the world they come from. Various testing facilities such as Ancestry.com, FamilyTreeDNA, and 23andMe will analyze the results and let the tester know who in their DNA database matches. Often this produces matches to people the tester doesn’t recognize or distant matches, not a birth parent or sibling. That’s when clients turn to DIG. We can extrapolate your results, and, combining genealogical and investigation techniques, we can often find that connection clients are looking for.
One success story involves a client whose DNA test showed an aunt/half aunt level match, yet the client knew of all her aunts and uncles. After some genealogical research, DIG determined this DNA match was likely on the client’s paternal side and encouraged the client to have her father tested. The results came back with a very close (half-sibling) match. When discussing these results with the client’s father, he revealed he had been told on his 18th birthday that the father he had grown up with wasn’t his birth father and his mother refused to talk about his “real” dad. DIG did further research to confirm the connection, then reached out to the DNA match as an intermediary to ease the introduction of the match to her half-brother. The client, her new aunt, and her father have been exchanging family history ever since.
DIG also had a successful DNA match with another client, though the story doesn’t end in a happy reunion. Our client had been searching for years for their 1st cousin given up at birth, using standard genealogical techniques, adoption record and other searches. When DNA testing became available to the general public, the client promptly had her mtDNA test done. mtDNA shows the maternal line of DNA and this 1st cousin was from her maternal line. It took over a year before a hit came in at a level that could be the 1st cousin or a child of the 1st cousin. After interviewing the DNA match and using open and closed searches, it was confirmed that this DNA match was indeed the child of the 1st cousin (that is, 1st cousin once removed or 1C1R.) DIG reached out to the birth parent in the hope of connecting the two. Unfortunately, the adoption had been a very painful time in the birth parent’s life, and they didn’t want to reopen old wounds. Ethically and out of respect for the birth parent’s wishes, DIG had to inform our client they would not be able to connect with their newly found cousin. The client was, of course, disappointed, but happy to have finally found the cousin she had been looking for, even if they would not be able to get to know each other.
The Lost Boys
DIG was asked to help find a mentally ill man who had gone missing after leaving a state facility. The man had run out of his medication and gone to the local police department asking them to help him with a bed and a way to refill his prescriptions. Because all shelters were full at that time, the police sent the man to a state facility over an hour away. The last time the man’s mother had heard from him was the day he left the facility, and she stated he was so drugged up he could barely talk. The parents didn’t hear from him after that, there was no activity on his bank account, or response to phone calls, so they became concerned. Law enforcement told them he had purchased a bus ticket back to his home town, but had gotten off the bus halfway there at a truck rest stop, and there was nothing more they could do. DIG offered suggestions on where to look beyond that point and to call various people with whom he might have contacted. DIG offered the parents insight into law enforcement’s process for missing persons and encouragement to keep pursuing all avenues, but explained that because their son was an adult, it would be up to him to let them know where he was. Eventually, they were told by the police that their son was alive, though no other details. After some time, their son did reach out to his parents and let them know he was alive and doing okay.
In another case, our client wanted DIG to find a picture of a potential son. The story given was that a guy and a gal were dating in high school, they broke up because the gal was seeing another guy, whom she eventually married. She had a son shortly after the marriage. Years later, our client’s grandmother saw the gal with a little boy in a grocery store and thought he looked exactly like her son, our client. DIG scoured social media and found a photo of the boy, posted by his mother with his name. Further research found photos of the boy as a grown man, who looked nothing at all like our client. DIG cautioned that the only real way to determine if this man was our client’s son was to do DNA testing and/or contact the mother and ask.
What happens when a company doesn’t have worker’s compensation insurance and an employee claims an injury on the job? If the worker is unscrupulous, the company can be defrauded for many thousands of dollars. In this case, a worker fell and injured his lower back, first stating it was a fall down stairs at home, later switching it to a slip and fall at work. The injury required two surgeries. Because the company had no worker’s insurance, they paid for the employee’s medical bills and full salary for fear of being sued by the employee. They also gave the worker a raise after the injury despite a written warning for his performance. The company grew suspicious that the worker was taking advantage when he started to claim that he had neck pain well past the allotted time for recovery. DIG was hired to determine if this worker was falsely claiming injury. Searches revealed this worker was using a false social security number and did not live at the address given to the company, and surveillance showed the worker putting on a back brace after driving but before going into a doctor’s office, then removing the brace before getting back in the driver’s seat. The company stopped paying this worker’s wages and medical bills and now has full insurance.
Lessons learned: As an employer, it is important to subscribe to worker’s compensation insurance, as it puts a limit on the amount and type of compensation that an injured employee may receive. DIG also recommends that background screening be performed on all potential new employees and periodically thereafter.
Social Media Stalker
DIG was asked to find and help stop a persistent Facebook stalker. Watch the local news station’s clip of her story. DIG educated our client on how to set security for her Facebook account to prevent anyone from hacking in and making nasty and derogative posts. The cyber stalker would continue to break her password. This shows the importance of having a very secure password, at a minimum 10 characters long consisting of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. This would take 928 years for a hacker to crack.