Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Re: Forgiveness

I am thinking about forgiveness tonight as I call it an evening.
In fact, I'm not just thinking about it, I am obsessed with it.
Because there are far to many angry people populating the planet.
Forgiveness is nowhere near as hard as you think as long as you keep in mind you never have to forget in order to forgive.
Personally, I don't believe I could ever forgive someone who murdered someone I love.
However I know most of the things we get angry at others for are mistakes, stupid statements, bad judgment calls.
I truly believe we are all much better than our last bad act.
The You Tube cut that follows below is tough to watch...
yet so profound and cathartic when you can see it through.
If you have found your way to this blog post, consider finding your way to forgiving one person today.
Remember, you don't have to forget, just forgive.
And by doing so the one you actually liberate....
is yourself.

Forgiveness - The Greatest Gift

Monday, December 27, 2010

Octomom Update

As much as I want to throw a few one-liners out about Octomom, the humor never makes it to my keyboard because of her kids.

Octomom's needs/compulsions, which I believe are either narcissistic, delusional or a combination thereof....
and her doctor's willingness to comply with implanting one so young and already over-burdened financially, emotionally and physically with children...
created a media frenzy that failed to focus on the most important players here.
There was more attention directed to Octmom's lips and her eerie resemblance in  to Angelina Jolie than those babies.

I'm wonder what Octomom's true motivation was.
Allegedly the babies have a father, he's married, so maybe she figured having his kids would win her mystery lover over.
Bad tactic.
Failed Miserably with Oksana and Mel.

Maybe she figured she could survive on state benefits. Kids mean money to someone who's in the welfare system. Often, the parents use it on cigarettes, booze and silicone implants.

Maybe Octomom wanted a "John and Kate Plus Eight" gig... however, that turned quick to " Kate Plus Eight" and a whole lot of Kate haters.
Now, word in the wind is Octomom's parents aren't too thrilled with the idea of all those kids in their their own lives at what was supposed to be their blissful, golden retirement years....
let alone a reality TV show crew in their home.

Maybe... just maybe... Octomom's addicted to being pregnant and having babies the way others are addicted to smoking, drugs, shopping, gambling. Maybe there's a biochemical baby imbalance in her brain.

Maybe... maybe.... maybe. It's all hypothetical and speculative.
And way beyond my ability to figure it out.
Instead, I direct you now to a higher power... the Associated Press.

(And when you look at the picture of Octomom, tell me if you can figure out the point of her t-shirt because I sure can't.) 

'Octomom' faces eviction from Southern Calif. home

The man who sold his Southern California home to "Octomom" Nadya Suleman said Sunday that he's going ahead with eviction proceedings because she hasn't made a long overdue $450,000 payment.
Story Updated: Dec 26, 2010 at 6:17 PM PST
'Octomom' faces eviction from Southern Calif. home
"Octomom" Nadya Suleman
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The man who sold his Southern California home to "Octomom" Nadya Suleman said Sunday that he's going ahead with eviction proceedings because she hasn't made a long overdue $450,000 payment. Amer Haddadin said he'll evict Suleman if she and her lawyer Jeff Czech don't pay the balance on the house by Friday. A balloon payment was due Oct. 9.
"I think they have money, but they are hiding the money," Haddadin said.
Suleman and Czech were served notice on Dec. 2 by mail and by hand, Haddadin said. He expects the eviction to be speedy.
Suleman and her 14 children have lived in the 4 bedroom house for nearly two years, ever since she brought her octuplets home to the quiet cul-de-sac in La Habra, about 25 miles east of Los Angeles. Her father purchased the home for $565,000, including a $130,000 down payment.


 File photo shows the house in which Nadya Suleman, mother of octuplets, has been living in for nearly two years in La Habra, Calif.
Suleman's father, Ed Doud, cut a deal with Haddadin for the house because a traditional bank loan wasn't available to Suleman, who is unmarried and unemployed. She previously lived with her mother in a small Whittier home before that house was foreclosed on.
In April, Haddadin granted a 6-month extension on the remaining balance, and says that as a Jordanian, he took pity on a fellow Arab in a tough spot, and pledged to help Doud, who is Palestinian.
Haddadin said Czech and Suleman became joint owners of the house in August, after her father transferred the deed from his name.
Reached by phone Sunday, Czech said he had no immediate comment except that Suleman has been making $4,000 payments every month.
Suleman already had six small children before giving birth to the octuplets. All 14 children were conceived through in vitro fertilization.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Holidays 2010

Looking at the posts below, I am thankful today for not just a day off work. And that I have work.
I'm thankful for You Tube.
Without You Tube, I'd have nothing to say this hoiliday.
Because I have nothing to say now that fits in the framework of words from my point of view, which is not, necesaarily, fa la la, this time of year.
Or bah, bah, bah.
Nor am i into blah, blah, blah.
It's more ha ha! ha!
and rah rah! rah! rah!
So if for some reason you found your way to this blog, consider the You Tubes below and blogs following them... a Holiday soundtrack of sorts.
Happy Holidays to you and yours.
Treasure every moment...
because life can turn on a dime.

The Annoying Orange 4: Sandy Claus

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Robert Downey Jr.-RIVER- with thanks to Laura

Street Family

I found them living under tarps on a hillside around this time last Christmas.
It was an area known as a homeless encampment and I had been directed there with the help of a picture of the people I was looking for from the newspaper.
They were witnesses in a case I was working on.
They were important to find because they were "independent" witnesses... a man and woman who allegedly witnessed someone get hit in a crosswalk and had no connection to the person hit or the person who hit him.
The insurance company was giving the injured person and his attorney grief, claiming the attorney's client wasn't in the crosswalk.
And even if he was, the light to cross was red.
And, besides that, claimed an obviously deluded insurance adjustor,  the pedestrian jumped on the hood of the car that hit him and fractured his leg and hip.
I kid you not.
The insurance companies try that stuff.

Thankfully, there are personally injury attorneys willing to invest their own money in cases where people are really hurt and need help.
Then they pay P.I.'s like me to find evidence to help the clients they hope to get a settlement for.
So I was hired to find the witnesses.
They were a couple.
I asked if they were married.  He said unofficially, but on the streets they were husband and wife.
They'd been on the streets 11 months.
They'd both lost their jobs. Then homes.
And they introduced to me to  a young couple, they called their kids.

That's the way life on the streets works.
When your own family rejects you, you look for a second one.
That's the street family.
They lived under a blue tarps in an area near the University where a lot of homeless people live under randomly spaced plastic and cardboard roofs.
 
We do have a more organized tent-city in Seattle for the homeless called Nicklesville. It moves every few months for a number of reasons.
These folks I met chose a different path, living on their own in the woods with their street family.

People ask me if I am afraid approaching certain people or environments.
I wasn't then.
You do this job long enough and you develop that sixth, seventh and eighth sense.
There was no danger there for me other than looking in the mirror image they could reflect right back at me....or any of us....who lose our jobs... or our homes... our families.
There are so many people on the streets now who are good people who have not just fallen on hard times....
They have had the hard times dropped on them.
And while they get easier to ignore begging for money on street corners over time...
and while your eyes watch them sleeping in doorways or under trees as if it's a movie and not real life....
they are all around us.
And they need more than a hand or a hand out.
These poor folks need a break.

So this post is dedicated to the nameless man with the soaking sign I  pass almost every time I turn onto Aurora after exiting the ferry.
And this is for the "Homeless Mother Of Two Who Needs Help" in the raincoat on the corner of Mercer and Westlake, just heading onto I5.
Yesterday, I sat parked at long red light in the heart of Seattle and was fascinated by the lady on the park bench next to my car.
I dedicate this to her too.
She was homeless, surrounded by overflowing shopping benches filled with the cast offs of others. She had a huge smile on her face while she sang Amazing Grace. For a few brief seconds our eyes met and i felt like she was singing to me.
I could not, still can not, fathom how she could land in such a place and still smile.

Now... to the point of this blog post.
I got the hand-written statements I needed from the man in woman in the woods and we parted ways.
The attorney was happy, the case was won, it was another score for the home team.
Still, I can't pass that street and that stretch of woods without remembering, wondering... and feeling... this overwhelming sense of gratitude for my life.
Lesson learned?
Take nothing and no one for granted.
Every one has a story.
And just because they have less money than you do, does not mean they are  less than you are.
In my humble opinion, those people wear their sense of entitlement like a crown...
could use a good de-throning.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Leona Lewis-Homeless w/Lyrics

Dark Days

I made myself a promise.
I could not return to this blog or Facebook until I wrap my most urgent cases before the holidays.
Mission accomplished.

For me, recent days have been like running a wet marathon while avoiding black ice and grabbing sleep  only when sleep overtakes you... because this is an investigator's busy season.

When the clouds and rain come, the moods darken. A legitimate diagnosed medical condition called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) strikes many who either migrate to the Pacific Northwest from sunnier climates, or those prone to depression when the sun goes away.
Some people are just plain miserable during the long months of zero sunlight.
I thrive on it.
A good winter storm does for me what being on a lounge chair by a sunny poolside does for others.
.
Here in  Western Washington ( the west being the side of the state with mountains on one side and open seas in the other), when the rain descends... the world becomes dark and waterlogged. The sun has gone elsewhere.

And because we are so close to Alaska we have these endless nights, nowhere near as long as Alaska's, but long enough.
Winter in the Northwest is a more rugged, primal, visceral time that has a definite effect on the psyche.
The sun sets close to four, the wind chills, the waters freeze, the streets become ice rinks... and those prone to depression become more depressed. Those prone to being crazy become more crazed.  For some, darkness brings a descent into decay, desperation and/or decadence.

I have longed to write about the the things I have seen lately. Perhaps I have conned myself into believing that writing about them will help purge me of the images.... the things I have heard, seen and photographed recently.
Almost every day, there's something and someone new... and often someone living a life so intense, it is an epiphany for me.

Recently, I've been having many dialogues with a homeless man who does have family, yet they won't take him in. He was a passenger in a bad wreck and I will have to leave the details at that to protect his identity and privacy.

Suffice to say he has one crushed leg from ankle to the top of his thigh, even his knee is in pieces. The driver of the car he was in has been arrested for DUI and it in unknown whether there is any auto insurance. He has no health insurance, so no hospital will give him the surgery he needs. The homeless shelters are filled to overflowing and because of his broken leg, he hobbles about on crutches  and can never get to a shelter in time to get a bed because the lines, then waiting lines, are so long.
On the rare occasions he's gotten into a shelter, he's had to sleep sitting up on the floor. He said the mentally ill people in the shelter keep kicking the cast on his leg on the way to the bathroom on purpose. He said 60% of people in shelters are mentally ill.

His sister gave him the cell phone and the minutes he calls me on.
She will not, however, give him safe harbor.
I ask him over and over...
you have no one, nowhere to go?
No one? No where?
I keep repeating it because I can't fathom it.
Always, he says "no."
I list the usual litany of options.
Been there, done 'em all.
He's bottomed out, he said. He sleeps on the streets every night since the accident.
And while the thought occurred to me, I certainly can not bring him to my home.

So I just tell him how sorry I am for what he's going through, how I wish I could help... and how an investigator can't bring their attorney's clients home. That seems to be a good enough explanation for him.

He told me last weekend if something doesn't change, he's probably going to kill himself. I told his attorney I suggested he go to a specific psych ward via a hospital ER and tell them that. At least he'll get three days respite from the rain.
He tried that and after a brief exam and discovery of no health insurance, the security guard escorted him out. 

And then there is the woman I just met, who physically could be the mirror image of me.
Except she was in a wheelchair and had a huge brace on her broken neck.
She said she was crossing the street, when the little white man in the crosswalk indicator said to walk, then KABOOM! She was hit by a DUI who drove off into the sunset and she flew down the road,  like a rag doll,  landing on her forehead, the frontal lobe hitting the concrete first.
Her brain injury was obvious as were her other physical injuries.
She just moved here from another state to work at a casino.
It will be a wonder if she ever works again.
She is now stuck living in a situation she was trying to move out of -- with a hostile boyfriend and his son who just got out of jail for the second time for dealing Meth. He, the son, has been stealing her pain meds she said.
She asked if I had a spare room.
I said, "I wish" and left it at that.

When you're a P.I., you often work for.... or on behalf of.... someone who is hurt, in crisis, in trouble, may need evaluation, evacuation, salvation.

There are also those clients who seek something simpler --  solutions, answers, missing pieces to puzzles in their lives. It's the latter group that's the easier to work for.
If you don't find their answers, they're not happy, but they'll be just fine.
But the former, the ones in true crisis.... they are either going to make it or they are not.
And unfortunately, many do not.

Last night I went to a holiday party filled with nothing but nice people. I didn't sense a single psychopath in the bunch. Everyone was happy, smiling, the food was gourmet, the beverages free flowing and there was a white elephant gift exchange. I think I won the most unique gift. A pair of fingerless gloves made out of mens underwear. Very classy.

On the ride home, my hunger satiated, gifts in hands, conversation flowing.... my cell rang.
I looked at the number.
It was the homeless man, the one the lawyers asked me to disconnect from.
The one living on the streets.
With just a little more than a moment's hesitation, I slid the phone to "ignore"...
I wanted "normal" during the car ride.
I was selfish and knew it.

I listened to the voice message from his ignored call when I got home.
It said he was almost out of cell minutes and his sister is not returning his calls for more.
He said he has been sleeping in doorways and under bridges and doesn't think he can hang on much longer. The hospital, the churches, the mission, everyone is turning him away. His cast is soaked.
He said he went to two ER's and they turned him away.
He wished me happy holidays.
Then the phone went dead.

When I walked with the dogs out in the freezing cold last night after listening to his call, they quickly did their business and ran back inside by the fire to warm up.
When I  climbed into bed, under a fluffy, warm comforter, the rain had kicked in.
I listened to that rain pounding on the roof, the wind howling, and thought of the homeless, broken man on the end of the cell phone.
I wondered where he was... how.... and if he would make it through the night.
And I thanked the higher power of your choice that night, that it wasn't me.
Or one of my kids or kin.
I don't know if it's genetics... nurture.... or simply the luck of the draw.
Or, is it a matter of, "There but for the grace of God go I?"

Either way.... I say today is a good time to count your blessings...
There but for the Grace of God go we.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Collateral Damage

As a a P.I. who often works fraud cases, I am fascinated by the the well-named Madoff case... which did so much damage... it goes way beyond numbers and digits, to hearts and souls.
I really believe his son Mark had no clue what his father was up to.
I think what drove him to the brink was the fact that no one, or few, believed him.
This is what I  call the ripple effect...
Bernie threw a pebble in a still pond that rippled outwards to thousands of people and millions of dollars and countless lives.

The best stories I've ever read on the Madoff case were  in "Vanity Fair." These stories are now years old, however, so valuable in providing insights into the Madoff Family dynamics, Bernie, and the Ponzi scheme... the extent of which went way beyond what anyone imaged and at first, could believe.
There are a lot of links out there to the "Vanity Fair stories," so look for them when you have time -- especially one by his personal secretary. It's a great source of information.
Right now, this link will take you to to a more accurate and current story on Mark's early and unnecessary demise.
http://www.thedailymaverick.co.za/article/2010-12-13-mark-madoffs-suicide-no-point-asking-why

I know this may sound extreme..... and to those who know the law, pointless and/or absurd....
but why not bring Madoff up on murder charges?
Had it not been for the actions of the father, I believe the son would still be alive.
And that son had a son... a wife... a life... until dad got hungry for "things" and the envy/prestige some people feel comes with those "things".
It's all such an illusion or delusion.... depending how deep you buy into the myth that money equals success.
This latest news comes as no surprise.
Bernard Madoff won't attend son's funeral

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Kiss Off!

You got to read this article for yourself to believe it.
I've got catch a ferry and work a couple cases today so.... I figured this would be something good, bizarre, definitely strange to leave you with.
It proves a point.
No matter how bad you think you got it, life could be worse.
You could be him.
Or her.
 http://www.sheboyganpress.com/article/20101207/SHE0101/101207006/Karen-Lueders-of-Sheboygan-charged-with-biting-husband-s-tongue-off

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Backgrounds

It is  a quiet morning in the Great Northwest.
I do not have to leave our beach house, my safe house, for the next 24 hours unless an urgent case case beckons.
And my gut tells me that is unlikely.
However, that does not mean I will not be working.
Mine is as much a job of phone and computer work...and the computer is almost always the key that unlocks the doors to rooms of hidden truths.
I could get on a computer at 6am and not get off until 3am the next morning.
I search internet nooks and crannies that expand just like the universe does.
Still, there is a life to be lived, family and friends to love back, a home to clean, animals to tend, life needs to be lived.
Lately though... it seems to be.... as it does to most people I know....
that life is a tedium.
One long string, or chain.... of reluctantly waking up, leaving our quilted wombs, stepping into icy rooms..... and then beginning or enduring the day until we climb back into those beds and it all starts all over again.

Just before blogging this, I wandered to the coffee, which has had already been started for me.
For that, I am eternally grateful.
I listened to the TV in the background and tuned into a car commercial.
"We are a nation of wayfarers, wanderers and nomads...." the announcer says.
And I think, "how true."
I think how I am a wayfarer, wanderer and nomad professionally.
Aren't we all in some way or another?
Even when our bodies are stuck in one space....
our minds take flight to another.
I've often wondered what it would be like to be Steven Hawkins, to have a  mind like his, trapped into a body like his.
My wise  mother raised her five children with the assist of quotes while growing up.
The one I heard the most often is "there but for the grace of God, go I."

In each case I will be working today, someone has been victimized by someone else.
The victim wants the perp, or the Defendant (as the case may be) held responsible or liable (as the case may be). It is hoped that ultimately, some closure to the case will be found.
The thing is this.
There is no such thing as closure.
Once you have been ripped off or hurt in some way by another, there's no do-over.
Once you've been scarred, you are scarred.
If you've been burned, you're burnt.
If you've been robbed, you may catch the bad guy but not until after he sent the profits from your robbery up your nose.
To me, the strongest offense is always the best defense... being, BEFORE the defense has a chance to launch its missiles.
I believe its best to begin by trusting no one and then.... work from there.
Trust must be built, acquired, proven....THEN granted.
It can not be faked or forced.
Just because someone presents themselves as good looking and/or affluent does not mean they are so.
Falsely building your trust is the way bad people enter your life....
they will pretend to be good people (AKA wolves in sheep's clothing.)
That's why so many people didn't have a clue until too late, that there was a monster who was behind the mask of their alleged friend, caretaker, companion, neighbor, suitor, spouse.
Today is a day of after-the-fact backgrounds for me.
Offenses all committed.
All I am doing is digging up records on someone who already hurt or ripped someone else off.
The key of course, would not to have hired the bad guy in the first place
Any recovery of a damages is unlikely or at least questionable... unless an  insurance company legally accepts liability.
A DEF can declare bankruptcy on all his assets and you may never collect anyway.
For instance, I don't think it takes a brain surgeon to figure out OJ killed Nicole and Ron.
And any observer can witness that the civil judgment against OJ awarded to Nicole's and Ron's family has not and is not likely  to be paid.
So the point of this blog is this -- if someone is entering your life and they are moving in on you fast, slow things down.
Do your own investigation.
Check them out.
There is a reason why they want to move into your home so fast.
There is a reason you have suddenly because the 24/7 focus of their life.
You may think it true love, though you could be a target.
If you have children, they may be the true target.
There's a reason why these new people in your lives are not paying at least half the expenses on their date.
Or falling madly in love with you after a few emails.
Just because they're handy or dandy... does not make them decent.
Do your homework BEFORE bringing anyone home.
Remember, bad guys and  bad girls can and will monitor your computer, cell and put GPS on your car.
Once they enter your life, they are very hard to extricate.
So do your homoework before the fact.
Run those backgrounds.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

RE: Old Spice Man vs. Mel Gibson

I think we can all agree, humor makes fun of someone.
Those of us who are not offended, laugh.
Those who are offended, take that offense either overtly or covertly.
Some exit the conversation, others the room, and others exit lives, or certainly this blog.... when what is deemed as funny by one is an insult to another.
I suspect someone viewing the following may see not one  ounce of humor in it.
However I do.
So I am willing to risk a few readers in the name of freedom of speech and humor.

I especially like the creative processes involved in the making of this video...
and the fact that old news like this can still interest me.
It also feels good to laugh.
Old news can still be very funny news.

Be forewarned
The following clip contains repetitive f bombs and other curse words... including foul language of a graphic sexual nature.... so don't play this when you have any kids/minors in listening range or you are offended by such things.
Some in my line of work,  particularly me, tend to walk the razer's edge when it comes to humor.
I find humor liberating in a world that is on an emotional and financial down-tick lately.
So when I find something that makes me laugh, more than one, I consider posting it.
That's what I am doing do with the following from You Tube.
I find it utterly hysterical on  a number of perverse levels.
I know others watching it will find it utterly perverse and not the least bit funny.
To those I offend, my apologies in advance.

Old SpiceMan vs Mel Gibson

Saturday, November 27, 2010

BEFORE He Cheats

Before...

Before I gather up my calendar, my notes, my gear....
Before I  review today's cases and call people to remind them I am coming....
Before I pull on my favorite boots that don't leak in the rain yet come off fast inside a stranger's front door...
Before I put on my favorite coat with the pockets that conceal things I might need should events go wrong...
Before I load up my Trailblazer, program today's route in the GPS...
Before I  get the wire in place for cell charge and tune it into my favorite morning, Saturday, of NPR radio...
Before I head out of this long  rutted dirt road to a concrete one and ultimately cross the fluid Puget Sound...
Before I do anything else to prep for a day of investigating and the many miles ahead...
I think of why I do what I do.....
and how important it is to me and to the people I am going to see.
It's too late for anyone to help Lia (read story that follows if you haven't)...
and countless loved ones of loved ones who've left this planet way too soon.
No one can stop death.
Yet perhaps... just maybe.... we can help keep it at bay.
Perhaps we can make living life easier for someone else.
William Arthur Ward got this concept.He's long gone now...though I carry his words with me today and every day.
Now I pass them to you.

“Before you speak, listen.
Before you write, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you invest, investigate.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
Before you retire, save.
Before you die, give.”


Friday, November 26, 2010



Lia C. HAWKINS On October 21, 2010 the world lost a bright and beautiful spirit. Lia C. Hawkins died in a tragic accident. She was 33 years old. Lia sowed seeds of love and laughter everywhere she went with everyone she met. She was a bright presence in the lives of her family, friends and acquaintances. As a daughter, sister, auntie and friend she will be sorely missed. She has left a huge gap in the lives of all of us. Lia made lasting, authentic, loving connections with people growing up on Bainbridge Island and, in her adult years, in Seattle and wherever she traveled. She will be remembered for many things including: the twinkle inher eyes, her contagious grin and her playful nature. Lia was beautiful, passionate, funny, loving and kinda gift to all of us who had the privilege of knowing her. Her heart, her humor, her compassion and bright spirit will be missed tremendously. Family and friends will gather to celebrate her life, share stories and honor her memory: Saturday, November 6th from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. at Shilshole Bay Beach Club, 6413 Seaview Ave. NW, Seattle, WA 98107. Lia's family would like to sincerely thank the community for the outpouring of love and support and ask that, in lieu of flowers, condolences be sent to: Jared Hawkins 2400 NW 80th Street #240 Seattle, WA 98117-4449
Published in The Seattle Times on November 2, 2010






For Lia

I am feeling a bit ill at ease this morning and I am wondering if writing will help.
And in doing so, maybe I will help someone else.
After all, I think the purpose we humans are here for is to keep the species going, growing, learning and hopefully, evolving into a higher life form.
One way we guide others of our species to do that.... is by sharing, information, knowledge, warnings, recollections, wisdom.
I also know none of us are here forever.
Sometimes our individual missions on planet earth are long.
Sometimes, shockingly short.

And that brings me to today's blog.

Whatever I write will be brief, because a rare day beckons.
I have this empty palette of time on which I can paint any word pictures in my head I choose.
I have freedom of  speech, though I am cautious expressing it.
I want to bring no harm, simply decompress slowly... so I, and others... can process all this.
 
Today's verbal picture is underwater.
There is a blond girl there.
I have known her since she was so young, when I first moved to Seattle. She is a little older than my kids.
She is a rarity.
Not only in her beauty, intelligence, grace, emotional consistency,  kindness... she is a unique in her wisdom and willingness to give and share love.

Hers is a rare, sparking, gem-like beauty.  An all-American beauty.
She was very good girl.
And she was a triplet!
She had another brother and sister, they all hung out in the same womb.
There was also an older birth brother...
and two more brothers that came with a co-joined family.
One of my best friends was her second mom.
So whevenever we celebrated an occasion (and there were many) it was always together and there were six kids guaranteed.
All the kids are beautiful and perfect externally.
Internally, like all kids, they all had wild spirits that were kept well tamed.
They are the kind of children who could rock the planet with peace and harmony if given the opportunity.

Add two new kids....mine... plus extended family.... and the years filled with  massive kids growing older through years of memories: summers at the beach, falls and winters full of family celebrations, springs with huge birthday parties for sometimes 9, 10 people at a time.

All of these people I am telling you about.... they are the family I found when I moved to the Pacific N.W. from L.A. California.
They are the non blood family who found me, or I found them.... when my birth family found other places in the US to settle down. Some on the southeast coast, some northeast, some in California some in Oregon.
Yet the family I described earlier, my Pacific Northwest family... is one I see more than my own blood family.

So now I will get to the point.
One member of that family, one of the triplets, was first reported missing and found dead towards the end of October.
I just found out about this a whole month later. A few days ago to be exact.
This distresses me to no end.
To not have even known she was missing.
And then to have not known she was found the second day she was reported missing.

She had been working on a boat in a Ballard Marina, she was found dead underneath the boat during the second dive search on the second day.
When I was told this, by one my my best friends, my friend was mortified and apologetic she never called and told me it was happening. However, she was in the thick of the things, first the locations, then recovery and funeral phase.
She said she figured I watched the news, read the papers, everyone was talking about it.
I was mortified too because she was right...  I listen to the radio when I drive to cases. I see and hear amber alerts,
Though I somehow missed this.

I heard nothing about it until a few days ago.
Dear Lia has been dead one month now.
She hit her head... or perhaps someone hit it.... I don't know.
And, from what I have heard, it was her siblings.... and I believe her boyfriend... who were at the boat when the divers surfaced with her body from beneath it.
They did the I.D.
When the story was told to me.... and  I heard the words "fracture to the skull, found floating under the boat,...."  I instinctively exhaled until all the air left my lungs.
With my next breath came a memory of our last conversation when she showed up at a party months earlier.
Then I pictured her floating under the sea.
And I thought of the triplets losing their third.
And the brothers losing a sister.
And mothers and fathers losing a daughter.
And scuba divers searching the murkey depths and ultimately discovering a young woman two days submerged.
Rescue divers, Police, Paramedics, Tow Truck Drivers, First Responders....they have children too.

I am writing this blog today not because I want to.
It's because I must.
It is.... after all.... Thanksgiving weekend.
We spent Thanksgiving dinner last night at the home of  those friends, not Lia's immediate family, but the one Lia's immediately family co-mingled with.
The boys there were her brothers, not in blood.... in spirit, in life.
And now, also in death.
One of her brothers, told me his best friend also just died.
Never smoked, used drugs. Diagnosed with cancer and dead in 3 months.
Other stories trickled out of young mouths that were never meant to be known or said in kids so young.
I guess television, movies, life has changed all that.
However, I can't get Lia's image just floating in that cold sea out of my head.
Her other brother said the same thing to me.
"Me too. I can't sleep, I can't stop thinking about it."
The depths of her death are unfathomable, literally and figuratively.

Because this is the Diary of a Private Eye and therefore, claims truth...
I have decided to link you with Lia's story.
My friend wrote her obituary and has also allowed me to post it along with her picture.
I am doing this so you will say a prayer for Lia's spirit because I think she will hear it.
And with every prayer said...
maybe one pain will heal.

Just as tears were were shed last night over Thanksgiving dinner....
we spoke of how bad it was to have gone through....
yet how, at least, we know where Lia is...... that she was not abducted, or missing, dead, or held captive for years.
And I marveled quietly in realizing how incredible it is.... that people can still find positive points to tragedies.
Today, as you read this....whoever you are....hug the one you love a little longer.
Be a little kinder today.
Make that hug, or phone call, linger just a little longer.
If not for yourself, do it for Lia.
Let the lesson of Lia's loss not be lost on you.
It's how she would have wanted to be remembered.

Here's a link to the media story:
http://www.myballard.com/2010/10/25/lia-hawkins-death-ruled-accidental/

Monday, November 22, 2010

Remembering Chandra

From BBC

Chandra Levy: Guandique found guilty of 2001 murder

Chandra Levy Chandra Levy's disappearance made headlines around the world
An immigrant from El Salvador has been convicted of the 2001 murder of US congressional intern Chandra Levy.
Ingmar Guandique had denied killing Ms Levy, 24, whose remains were found in Rock Creek Park in Washington DC more than a year after she disappeared.
The case claimed the career of a politician she was romantically linked with, Californian Democrat Gary Condit.
Mr Condit, once a suspect in the murder case, has always declined to discuss whether or not they had an affair.
The jury deliberated for four days before returning guilty verdicts on two counts of first-degree murder.
Guandique faces the possibility of life in prison.
Scandal
Earlier in the trial, prosecutors admitted they had no eyewitness or physical evidence tying Guandique to Ms Levy's murder.
Defence lawyers said Guandique, 29, had become a scapegoat for a botched investigation and claimed that his DNA did not match samples found on Ms Levy's clothing.
Ingmar Guandique, pictured in April 2009 Guandique told cellmates he carried out the killing, prosecutors said
But the prosecution presented evidence that Guandique had told prison cellmates he had carried out the killing, and they argued the details of the case matched patterns from other attacks against women for which Guandique had been convicted.
Guandique was serving a 10-year prison sentence for those attacks when he was charged with Ms Levy's murder.
Prosecutors said police were wrong to initially focus on Mr Condit.
The former California Representative testified during the course of Guandique's trial, and said his decision to not discuss the nature of his relationship with Ms Levy was based "purely on principle".
"I think we're all entitled to some level of privacy," he told the court.
"Seems like in this country we've lost a sense of decency. I didn't commit any crime, I don't think I've done anything wrong."
To the full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11814181

Wise Words

If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look similar to this: 57 Asians; 21 Europeans; 14 from the Western Hemisphere; 8 Africans; 52 would be female; 48 would be male; 70 would be non-white; 30 would be white; 70 would be non-Christian; 30 would be Christian; 89 would be heterosexual; 11 would be homosexual; 6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth and all 6 would be from the United States.; 80 would live in substandard housing; 70 would be unable to read; 50 would suffer from malnutrition; 1 would be near death; 1 would be near birth; 1 would have a college education; 1 would own a computer: When one considers our world from such an incredibly compressed perspective, the need for both tolerance and understanding becomes glaringly apparent.

-  Author Unknown

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.

As Pink's "tongue in cheek".... or "TNT in cheek".... song below so clearly illustrates, the biggest danger in leaving a relationship is not the time when you say, "It's over".
It's the time you actually leave.
That's when things get really, really bad.
The person who is left, was not happy when you said you were going to leave.
Yet until you are out that door, they don't realize it is true.
That's when the trouble begins.
The "leavee" will seek justice, or retaliation.... in one form or another against the "leavor".
In my life experience, despite what media says, I have never seen an "amicable divorce."
Any break-up, of marriages, friendships, business alliances.... leaves one party feeling broken.
Particularly the one who felt like he/she has been kicked to the curb.
P.I.'s, like cops, find Domestics the most dangerous, distasteful and disturbing of cases...
I think Pink's video gives you a good idea why.

Attitude Adjustment In Pink - "So What?"

Friday, November 19, 2010

Can You Find Me?

One of my Facebook friends not only sent me this link to her blog, she appears to be its founder.
There are so many unidentified victims out there, the more eyes on these images, the better.
Thank you Rebel, for this link and your good hard work.
http://canyouidentifyme.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Blind, Deaf And Dumb

Last night I worked until 3:00 am.
I slept until 5:30 am, caught the 6:30 car ferry while it was still dark... and made it home after dark.... just a little while ago.  I'm not complaining because I like what I do and every now and then, cases and trials hit all at once. There's no way around 14-18 hour days sometimes.
That's why, when you pick a career,  it helps to pick one you like.

This morning I was in Seattle before the sun was up and most of the commuters were there.
I had moved from the real sea, the Puget Sound, to the concrete sea, I-5 South.
I delivered cases to various law firms... and must say, it felt great to hand them over to the attorneys in whose capable hands I know our clients will find justice.

Here's a secret.
I hate lawyer jokes.
And here's a confession,
I like lawyers. The good ones.
Like all professions, there are good people and bad people.
Most are fabulous doctors, however, I have investigated a few who ended up in jail.
I know many good accountants, however, I have helped expose a fair share of fraudulent ones.
There are good attorneys and there are bad ones. I only work with the best.

The good attorneys... they are the warriors of the judicial system.
Your life, your freedom, your family's future and your financial security can literally be in an attorney's hands.
I know mine was once.
I was hurt by someone.
Were it not for the personal injury attorneys who fought for me, who invested their time and money in my case, I  believe I would have faded into an embittered, angry person instead of the civil/personal injury investigator I am today.

So tonight, when I walked in our beach house after many long days, many miles on the road and so little sleep last night, you'd think I'd step away from writing or thinking about this business. Yet the blog beckons me, as if it has a will, a voice, a story that must be told.

This would be that story.
    
There was this little girl. She was 7.  She was blond with blue eyes, reminded me of me when I was her age. However, she had no voice of her own beyond grunts and groans. She could not see. She could not hear. She was a little Helen Keller....and while she wasn't my subject, she was the daughter of that subject and she was present during my time with her mom in their apartment.

Mom had a legal action, I needed to interview her and ask some questions.
She just moved to the Northwest with her husband, a soldier, and her two daughters.... a perfectly normal 9 year old and the one I just wrote of... lets call her Libby.
Libby's mother explained, Libby can not see, hear or speak.

Libby lived and slept on a mattress in the living room. I later learned, she put anything she touched in her mouth. When I arrived she had a sock in her mouth, it didn't look clean. Her mom saw me looking at the dirty sock and pulled it out of Libby's mouth and shouted "No Libby" while gently slapping her hand. This made no sense to me because it made no sense to Libby.

I will admit I was more fascinated by Libby and the family dynamics than the case I was working.
I wanted to climb inside Libby's head and imagine what life was really like for her. I had been obsessed with Hellen Keller as a kid. Even though I knew Helen Keller was real, read the book of her life, and some books she wrote, saw the movie and real clips of her, I could not conceive how she endured life with such great sensory losses... yet maintained a positive attitude. It was Helen's teacher, Anne Sullivan, who let light into Helen's dark world.

I knew this was not and would never be the case for Libby.
Mom was Libby's full time caretaker and got a stipend from the state for doing so.
I studied Libby's young, smiling, optimistic, though not very bright mother -- who had a positive attitude and said Libby was gift not a burden.
I asked whether they ever thought of getting her a special teacher, or taking her to a special school and she said,
"No, Libby is as she is meant to be."
I found that disturbing.
How do any of us know what we are meant to be unless we are allowed to explore our own potential?

I chose not to argue the point with Libby's mom.
I just sat very still after Libby suddenly sensed my presence, crawled over to me, and ran her fingers all over my face, my hair, my eyes.
The whole thing was surreal.

And now, looking back at it, years have passed and I wonder how Libby is doing.
I recall when I left her house, I was conflicted. Mom seemed okay, doing the best she could.
Mom said either she (mom) takes care of Libby or Libby is institutionalized who knows where.

Still people are always on their best behavior when there's an investigator in their living room.
So I took the leap, told the attorney I was worried about the welfare of little Libby and asked if they could just check into it, make sure she was being cared for properly?
The attorney, as an officer of the court, said he would and I believed him.
I had taken photos of Libby at the house, shown them to him.... and he said he has a daughter Libby's age.... and never realized just how blessed he truly was.

There's a lesson here, I think.
No matter how bad we feel we got it, someone's got it  a whole lot worse.
Some people like Libby, from day one... birth.... aren't given a fair shot at life.
And some people who become parents, will never get to retire and experience golden years untarnished by a blind, deaf and speechless child with an uncertain... if any... real future.
And what of Libby's older sister and soldier father?
The pebble lands in the pond, the water ripples outward.
Everyone is affected.
Myself included.

Now is a good time to count your blessings.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Death At Sea

My case load is a lot like the sea.
It is never constant. Never predictable. Always in motion and transition.
And because I cross the Puget Sound most days to get to the city (either by car ferry or by bridge), I am more aware of this than most.

When I get out of my car during the ferry crossing, and walk down towards the bow of the ship, to the very edge of the yellow barrier point past which no one can pass,  the sound of the ship's engines do not drown out the symphony of waters, birds, sky and wind.  Standing by the bow of a Washington State Ferry you realize, there is a greatness to the universe, and a humility to the human spirit (at least mine). And you learn... life is really transition between points in time and space.

I'm especially aware of this philosophical reality... particularly now, when winter comes to the  Pacific Northwest and the chill in the air makes life more challenging and interesting.
I explore the beach after storms sweep through... bird and mammal bones wash ashore from Port Gamble Bay.A few days ago,  I followed as our dogs ran free on the long isolated beach in our backyard.
The dogs suddenly stopped and gathered around something distant. They were looking down and appeared motionless. I raced to them and I too stopped in my tracks
We were the pack examining the dead.

It was THE heron.
Not just any heron.
But THE heron.
The one that played with Zen, our massive half Husky, half Lab.
THE heron with the huge nest atop the tree next door.
THE heron who would dive bomb Zen.  Zen would chase THE heron if it stopped to munch a fish by the distant shore. They were love/hate playmates for years.
Now THE heron was dead in the water. Rather, in the sand and sea weed beside it.

THE big majestic big blue heron was part of a family of three (the third being last year's baby).
The dead one was big. It was mama or papa. I couldn't tell and didn't want to know enough to look.
Its long, limber neck was twisted, though I suspect that's not cause of death.
Something else happened....it could be anything.... the possibilities out here in the boonies are limitless.
Maybe it got stuck in the mud flats at low tide.
Maybe the eagles got it, I wondered if eagles and herons fight.
Maybe some good old boy was being bad and shot him.
Or maybe it had a heart attack and dropped mid flight to the ground like a sack of feathers, flesh and bone.

The dogs and I just stared in collective curiosity and  I like to believe, communion.
Other creatures had been feeding off  the body.
It wasn't pretty to look at, though its long beak was untouched.
I felt an instant wave of loss, grabbed the dogs' collars, leashed them and we walked to the edge of the peninsula.
I'm sure the dogs forgot about that heron in a heart-beat, if they even once considered what it is they were viewing.
Me, I still can't stop thinking about it, as I watch another Heron fly alone... or  sometimes with the smaller heron.

You may wonder what all this has to do with private investigations and blogging.
There is a link, I assure you.
It is one word.
Loss.
I've been working two child abduction cases. Both domestics.
In each, (one client is a man, and another is a woman) the Child protective Agency or Judicial System failed one child and one parent.
The child(ren) were taken from the right person and given to the wrong one.
And when the wrong one gets the kids, they either run.... or break their semi-defeated opponent completely down.
That's why I'm including the following video.
Every day, every where in the world, children are victims....
parents are victims....
of  legal and custodial injustices, mistakes, loop-holes, horror stories.
Following is one such story and shows how one such victim released her pain in a way that may help others in the sharing.
I honor her for that.
And I ask you to share the U-Tube story that follows... if you are so inclined.

"Parental Alienation- The New Face of Terrorism"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

On The Tracks

I've spent way too many days away from the blog.
The challenge I face is the same one you do every day, provided you're one of those trying to dig yourself out of the current global economic sinkhole.
Ever since the internet bubble burst, work comes first when you intend to remain financially independent. And my work is no nine-to-five gig.

Basic, yet important domestic things like laundry, dishes, vacuuming, grocery shopping, get tossed by the wayside.
My list of to-do's grows longer by the day. As does the guilt that follows from not doing it.
Friendships are hard to maintain because the timing is seldom in sync.
Family meals are not the norm.
Blogs are fewer and further between.
And sleep only comes because the body won't let you stay awake any more.
 
Most days are spent on the road, going to see people who can't get out of their hospital beds, homes.... or even graves.
I represent the living, the dead and those whose status has yet to be determined.
Once I gather info on their cases, time is so essential to getting those case moving.
Every case has to be investigated.... on scene and on net.... then written up, photos have to be developed,  often follow-up calls made,  everything has to be packaged up, evidence secured. All followed by invoice and delivery to the attorney or the private client.
I don't get paid sick days, holidays or health insurance.
I don't get a water-cooler around which to chat with my associates.
I don't get 15 minutes breaks.
I don't get L&I or Worker's Comp.
I don't get bonuses, a union or any guaranteed hours.
As a self-employed subcontractor, I  spend my time working, driving.... and getting new business going and flowing to cover life's basics.
I know many people who do not need to work. Or do not want to. This is a hard concept for me to fathom.
I think even if I won the lottery, I would still investigate because it is not just a job to me, it's a passion. And work is fun when it's something you love.
I'm not jaded by this business, I'm enthralled by it.
I have never worked in any business like investigation.... where I can help, change, improve...and most important of all --  recognize and acknowledge lives that all too often go unnoticed. Or disregarded.

This brings us to last week, when I was squatted down on the edge of a train platform, the toes of my boots touching the orange edge of the marking on the platform that said, "warning do not cross."
I was still in the safe, legal zone.
I looked left and saw the distant lights of a train coming, it was close.... so I switched focus, first to my camera.
Then, had I been a dog, my ears would have perked up as I opened the air canal to some serious sound in the chamber.
No horn, just the growing ominous roar of the train getting closer and closer to me left.
I squatted in the exact spot my now deceased young client had stood.
When the incident happened, he was beside a friend and many people were present.
He was happy, excited and definitely not suicidal.
He was just a teenager watching the trains when something bad happened.
What that something is remains to be determined.
He went under that train and died before he had a chance to grow into a man.
So I was there to investigate why and document what I could.

I was there with his mom who wanted to come and knew the exact spot where everything happened.
We arrived in separate vehicles and didn't speak as we walked.
Then we found the place, "This is it!" she shouted.
She pointed to a spot  where an impromptu memorial had once been, it was made by all his friends, kids at schools, notes from strangers. Time had passed, the memorial came down, now  there was nothing left except some duct tape.
I photographed that area and moved to the tracks.

I squatted down, with my camera, in the same space where my dead client last stood... and a little voice in my head said, "Bring it on."
The train's sound turned into a roar....
the wind whipped up....
and I clicked the locomotive first as it blew right past me with a huge endless growing gust that ripped the clip off the back of my hair. The last shot I saw of my favorite (and rare) combat-colored banana clip was a peripheral glace as it went under the train.
I kept still and strove to remain steady to get the shots.
I pressed my feet and body into the ground,  in a fetal-like vertical position, placed the camera on my knees and became a human tripod while snapping pictures.
More than once, I wondered if I might get sucked under the train by forces of physics... as some claim my client was.
I thought of that young client and what he thought in his last moments.
I listened to the screech of metal, the roar of  train's engine, my nose filled with train track dust.
The train was all there was in the world at that moment.... it over-rode any conversation, any movement, anything else. It was there, it felt greater than a force of nature and you didn't mess with it.
And this speeding chain of steel boxes kept rolling.
No horn sounded, it just passed by the platform.
I recall thinking it had to be the world's longest train.
And then it was gone.
Silence.

I took many photos that day.
Talked to a few of the people standing around who were curious and watched.
Some approached me with questions about why I was there.
Some heard of the young man killed that day.
Others told of others such instances at other railroad crossings.
One wanted to discuss the last episode of CSI.

I finished my worked and lingered longer with the mother.
She grabbed my hand and asked me an odd question.
"Are you psychic?"
I  decided not to tell her the truth.., being, yes.
Instead, I said, "Sometimes, though I tend to think being intuitive is mistaken for being psychic."
She said, "Well if my son communicates with you, will you tell me?"
"Of course," I said, leaning forward to receive her hug.
At that moment, there was a down-burst of rain, tears from heaven.
I tucked my camera in my pocket and we quickly said our good-byes. I pulled up my hood, then jogged to to my car.
I had to get prepped for my next case. I was running a half hour behind.

And now, today, it all gets written up, packaged up, mailed or delivered top various attorneys and clients.
Yet there are life moments, pearls, like the moment at the train station last week, that are too precious not to mention.
Not to write somewhere.
Not to share with someone out there.
Lesson learned from this one:
However bad you think you have it, someone has it worse.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Charlie Sheen's Smallest Victims

I just don't get it. I do not know... and never will understand why... some men choose to break up families for whatever reason, mood, motive or excuse they choose.
They know why they're leaving, it's just the person whose been left that doesn't get it.
The man may claim to have another women.
Or he may say he was drunk, seduced or just wanted to stray.
They may say they felt ignored by their wife.
They may say their wife no longer appeals to them "that way."
Maybe the wife has grown old and wrinkled and the man would like to trade her in for a newer model.
Whatever the reasons/excuses/justifications....
all I do know, and there is no nice way to say it... "power makes men horny."
There are exceptions, though I do not believe those exceptions to be the norm.
The more famous they are, the hotter they think they are. Presidents, governors, senators, rock stars, golfers, bikers, actors, coaches. You name it.
You see a man in a position of power and my guess is more of those men men submit to weakness in the opposite sex department than women.
Not that women are faultless.
There may be a 50/50 sexual equality in cheating for all I know. I don't follow the statistics.
Occasionally I follow the cheaters.
Regardless, I have a small window of time here to add an interesting and highly visible domestic case to the blog.
While you read it, think of the kids.
They're the true victims here.
Charlie Sheen is leaving a load of messed up kids in his wake.
They will never grow up the same.
How can they...with their parents exposed in such a way on the net.
I can't help of thinking about David Hasslehoff's daughter filming her own drunken father for the internet, in the hopes the exposure will shock him to sobriety.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0H9AN5gitco&feature=related
No such luck.
He's still drinking.
The link on Charlie Sheen, his wife and kids below, comes from Radar Online.
Admittedly, some people call this info source questionable at best.
However, I like it... and how deep its links go into a story.
Ultimately, we each determine the truth to a story on our own.
There's interesting evidence, however, in this story:
Brooke Mueller Wants Sole Physical Custody Of Kids | Radar Online

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween: When the Doctor Needs A Spare Part

A Real Life Body Snatcher

If you haven't heard of this guy, you're probably better off not knowing. So read no further if you're a wee bit squeamish about the idea of a deviant dentist turned into a body parts harvester.
And  a bad body parts harvester at that.
However, this being Halloween, what better time to introduce you to a living monster, who....like Ted Bundy....happened to be quite good looking?
Who woulda' thunk?
Meet Michael Matromarino.
http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/03/body_parts_scheme_mastermind_p.html
                                                       -0-
I came across another story while looking for a summary of Mastromarino's case for this blog.
There's a whole lot more about him on Wikipedia
Turns outs the demented dentist's story is featured on "Who The Bleep Did I Marry?" a new series on Discovery ID. I found the blog of the actor who is playing  the part of Michael Mastromarino and thought you might  find his point of view as  interesting as I do.
So here's a link to that too.
http://arthurkade.com/?p=8019

Saturday, October 30, 2010

More On Faceboook Addiction

Gaming Addicts Guilty of Starving Baby to Death

 Yesterday on my Facebook Page, if you scroll down, you'll see an article I posted about a mother who is addicted to Farmville and shook her baby to death. I and many others found this outrageous, disturbing and inconceivable.
Welcome to my world and business.
So, after discussing this late last night,  I began to search out other deaths related to people who have been so addicted to Facebook and its games...  people who have been neglected or harmed others like  baby-shaking mother in Florida did.
That's when I stumbled upon the lovely couple I will lead you to in the link that follows this post.
Here's the headline:
" Korean couple Convicted of Abandoning Newborn Daughter While They Addictivelt Played Online.
This happened in May and it is true.
They got so busy raising their virtual baby online, they neglected to raise their human one in the land of the living.
Their fragile, alive, beautiful, breathing baby girl died.
Unbelieveable.
Yet believe we must.

Someone on my Facebook wall  yesterday said people who become parents should be licensed.
I wonder if it would have made a difference.
An addiction is an addiction -- be it chemical, bio-chemical,  psychological, it's all-consuming and all the same.
In the end game of addiction,  some one dies.
In my opinion, better the addicts die than their children.
Here's the link:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/05/28/world/main6527471.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody 

.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Armageddon Online?

I'm adding this link for two reasons.
First, because my brother sent it to me and he never sends me anything unless it's good.
Second, because I can't believe a site like this actually exists.
I'm not quite sure what to make of it though.
Initially, I thought, how depressing.
Now I am thinking, how intriguing.
Because none of us gets out of here alive. Not a one.
And I'm not sure yet how I want to go.
This link that follows offers other options.
Armageddon Online - Home

Link To Blink and Kyron Hormon Case Update

This is a link to Blink On Crime, and the Kyron Horman case update by Family Law Attorney Lea Conner.
I think this is an incredible article. It sheds light in a different direction...
and shows how the media can judge and convict even before a person or body is located, or an indictment is issued.
It also shows how the media can check itself when attorneys like Lea are given a forum to express another, credible point of view.
A child abduction case must not be a witch hunt. It has to be an investigation.
Otherwise all eyes focus on the witch, while the monsters in the closet get away.
There is so much infighting in Kyron's family... meantime, a little boy lost must be found.
Please... take a moment go to this link and really study Lea Conner's article.
Then explore Blink's blog further.
Blink is an amazing woman I am honored to consider a friend... and she's a true crime-fighting hero.
Please follow this link.
http://blinkoncrime.com/2010/10/29/kyron-horman-case-update-blinkoncrime-com-legal-analyst-lea-conner-weighs-in/

I'm also following this post  with  a video about the Mooors Murder. I'm guessing most people here are too young, too far away, or perhaps too disinterested to know about these cases. This is a good summary.

Suffer Little Children

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another Day, Another Shooting

Link To Seattle Shoooting

The video from You-Tube below,  appears in the text of this full story,
http://www.seattlepi.com/local/429093_shot26.html

Nicholas Hewes describes shooting in Seattle

Murder by Parachute

Love triangles never turn out well.
This one took the concept of eliminating the competition to new heights.
Lesson learned from the case that follows:
Falling for the wrong person can have disasterous consequences.
Murder verdict for woman who disabled parachute

Els Clottemans wipes a tear as she is found guilty of murder at the courthouse in Tongeren, Belgium, on Wednesday. Els Clottemans wipes a tear as she is found guilty of murder at the courthouse in Tongeren, Belgium, on Wednesday. (Yves Logghe/Associated Press)

BRUSSELS (AP) — A jealous schoolteacher was found guilty of murder Wednesday for sabotaging the parachute of a rival in a love triangle, causing her to crash to her death.
The verdict against Els Clottemans, 26, ended a monthlong trial that revealed no hard proof that she had sabotaged Els Van Doren's parachute so that neither it nor a safety chute opened during a Nov. 18, 2006, jump over eastern Belgium.
Van Doren, then 38, jumped that day — with 11 other parachutists, including Clottemans — from a small plane flying at 4,500 meters (30,000 feet).
The 12 jurors agreed with the prosecution that the evidence was circumstantial, but overwhelming.
They agreed that jealousy was a motive: The killer and her victim were intimately involved with the same a man, a Dutch skydiver, whom Clottemans wanted for herself.
She and Van Doren were members of the same parachute club.
During the trial, the jury was told that Clottemans, an accomplished skydiver, knew very well how to disable a parachute.
Evidence showed she also sent anonymous letters about Van Doren's love life to mutual friends and is psychologically unstable, having attempted suicide in December, 2006.
Sentencing is set for Thursday. Clottemans faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Her trial opened Sept. 24 with the accused sitting nervously near the mud-caked parachute bag and helmet that Els Van Doren wore on the day she died.
The jury saw video footage Van Doren had shot during what would be her last jump.
She and Clottemans were among the last four jumpers to leave the Cessna plane.
The video, shot by Van Doren's helmet-mounted camera, showed how the victim looked up, yanking at her gear, hoping to see an open canopy above her.
It never happened.
She crashed into a garden in Opglabbeek, a small town in eastern Belgium and was killed instantly.
Neither her parachute, nor a smaller safety chute designed to open the main parachute in case of a malfunction, opened. Investigators testified the gear had been tampered with.
Throughout her trial, Clottemans maintained her innocence.
On the last day in court, she told the jury, "For four years now I have been accused of something I did not do. That does something to you. ... They questioned me (saying) 'It's you! 'It's you!' But it is not me!"
The victim's son and daughter, 17 and 19 respectively, left the courtroom in tears after Clottemans pleaded for clemency saying she had lost her father at a young age.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

From Hiccups to Handcuffs

You're probably sick of the story by now. Not me. I find this stuff fascinating.
One reason I'm a P.I. is because of a lifetime obsession with attempting to  understand what drives people to do horrible things... specifically murder.
I think my curiosity came from two places: a morbid curiosity.... and a desire to learn enough to keep myself, my family and friends, from being murdered.

I have always wondered about the individual components involved in the process of becoming a killer... or being involved with killing another.
I used to think murder was a combination of two key components: nature and nurture.
I  used to think someone could raise you to kill just by what was done to you as a kid.
I also used to embrace the natural born killer theory, the theory being something was not wired right from day one in the brain.
Now, over the years and with experience not only studying murderers, but interviewing them in the course of defending them in the past...
I know now the equation is not so simple as variations on the nature vs. nurture theme.

Sometimes, killing is a response to what someone perceives as an injustice.
Other times, it's an issue of "if I can't have you no one can".
Often a hair-trigger temper brings a finger to a trigger.
Some of my investigator friends are armed investigators who are hired to stand guard at companies where employees are laid off.
And there are those cases where someone's life turns on a dime... they get left or betrayed; they go broke; they get caught doing something bad.
Florida teen, Jennifer Mee....A.K.A. Hiccup girl.... while not the murderer, was a catalyst to it.
I was taken by surprise  by her involvement in this case.
She lured the victim to the spider's web.

What a complete and total waste of  so many lives.
First and foremost, the life of the man who was killed in the robbery gone bad.
His killing is like a pebble in the water.... its effects ripple to the  the victim's and the perp's family and friends and will resonate forever.
And then there's Hiccup Girl.
She's helped turn Shannon Griffin from a living human being to a memory, leaving a  shattered family in her destructive wake.
And she's ruined any chance she had of being a normal young girl who would grow into a woman one day.
All because of the choices she made and the people she chose to hang with.

It's all over for Hiccup Girl now.
the only future she has is her history.
She's gone from hiccups to handcuffs and lock-up.
Oddly I have not an ounce of sympathy or empathy for her.
I do understand though, how life can shift for some... and how we face decisions that are questionable when desperate.
Still, crossing the line... any line... is a choice.
Make good choices and good prevails.
Make bad choices, like Hiccup Girl did in the company she chose to keep and bad prevails.
The defense will say, robbery gone bad, she was influenced by bad guys, she was exposed to the media too young, whatever
.
For Hiccup Girl all that's left is damage control.
For the young man  Hiccup Girl and her boys killed.... Shannon Griffin...  my heart goes out to his family, his friends, his community. He was only 22. The well of emotions is unfathomable.
Unfortunately, when the media spotlight fades, Griffin will be just one more statistic on a list that keeps growing while we keep trying to understand it all.

I think Hiccup Girl's mom made an interesting comment  in an interview given to a radio station.
"I've said for a while now, her case of the hiccups wasn't a case of the hiccups, it was a curse of the hiccups," Mee's mother, Rachel Robidoux, told the 93.3 WFLZ "MJ Morning Show" in Tampa on Monday.  She said she didn't know what happened, said  the situation was a nightmare and said for a year, her daughter had not lived with her. 
While I don't buy into mom's "curse of the hiccups" defense theory, I can't help wondering how her life would have gone had she never been Hiccup Girl in the first place.

'Hiccup Girl' Charged with Murder

AP reports Hiccup Girl a transient prior to murder charge

Cops: 'Hiccup girl' was transient before slaying

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – A young Florida woman thrust into brief fame in 2007 for unstoppable hiccups was living a transient life before she was charged this week with murder, an investigator told morning news shows Tuesday.
Maj. Mike Kovacsev of the St. Petersburg police told NBC's "Today" show that police had records of about a dozen "contacts" with 19-year-old Jennifer Mee throughout the past year at a series of different addresses.
"She didn't actually live on the street, but was transient in nature because she tended to live in different motels or apartments and moved from one location to another," he said.
Mee and two men were charged Sunday with first-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Shannon Griffin. Mee allegedly lured the man to a meeting Saturday, where he was robbed and shot. Kovacsev said police do not believe she fired the gun.
Kovacsev told ABC's "Good Morning America" that police had talked with Mee regarding several domestic-related incidents.
"She was never a suspect in any cases, she has no criminal record up to this point, but she was a victim and a subject and several times a witness to several crimes," he said.
Kovacsev told ABC that Mee accepted a friend request from Griffin on a social networking website five or six days before the robbery, but it was unclear if he had recognized her as the "hiccup girl."
Her mystery plight put her on the "Today" show as a teenager in 2007, where she was hugged by fellow guest and country music star Keith Urban.
Kovacsev told the "Today" show that he expects Mee's defense lawyers will argue that she was led astray by all the attention.
"Sometimes when you live a little bit of a transient lifestyle you tend to hang around some unsavory individuals," Kovacsev said. He said the two men charged with Mee had "minimal criminal records" but that her ex-boyfriend was in jail for robbery.
Mee's constant hiccups stopped on their own after five weeks. Her mother told Tampa radio station WFLZ on Monday that Mee had not lived with her in a year

Monday, October 25, 2010

Woman Stabbed in Anger Management Class

I believe there is a lesson in this story.
And.... in a sick, twisted way... a laugh.
If you are going to stab someone,
an anger management class is not the place.
Here's the link to the story:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2013164351_stabbing15m.html

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Two Of Too Many Missing Children

Please take a moment, if you will, to watch the video below. Lindsay and Kyron's families have Facebook pages. Join them, show your support, give them words or hope... or tell them you understand that you can never understand what they are going through. Study Lindsay and Kyron's faces.  Keep your eyes peeled, stay ever- vigilant... and pray Lindsay and Kyron find their way home.

Missing - Lindsey Baum and Kyron Horman

Missing

I've always worked, even when my kids were young.
I chose to work out of my home, so what I did was hire "nannies" -- a fancy word for babysitters.
When my children were babies, I hired elderly grandmother types who would tend to them while I worked in my home office.
When the kids got older, I moved to younger, bright, students with wheels and a great sense of responsibility.

So...once... in the baby phase... it came time to hire a nanny, I chose Mary (a pseudonym) who was 50. Now in hindsight... and with years of P.I. work under my belt.... the red flags were there. She was TOO perfect. But that was then. History.
I did the usual background check,  though I wasn't a P.I. then and didn't know what I was doing. I checked her resume, her references.
She seemed perfect.

It was only after I hired her she told me THE story:
When she was a young mother,  living in Florida, she would allow her 3 year old son to play in the front fenced yard while she did her housework.
One day, she said, while she was doing the dishes, her 3 year old son disappeared.
And was never found again.

I felt a huge wash of sympathy overcome me... then confusion.... because when she told me of this loss it was without emotion.
She didn't show the pain I have seen in faces of the missing.... a pain that doesn't EVER go away.
She was always happy, upbeat, almost too perfect.
She had a daughter later and now had grandchildren, though I knew they were all in a financial struggle.
From the point of her sharing the abduction story on, I felt a visceral uneasiness replace my sympathy and stayed very close to home.
Within days of that announcement she asked me this question.
"If you were hungry and out of money and you knew someone who had an abundance of food, would you steal some of that food to feed your children?"
I told her I would ask the person for the food first.
She looked at me oddly, and said,
"What if you didn't want to ask? Or they didn't want to give it to you?"
I told her I would try to find any other another way than stealing. Though, I confessed, if my kids WERE starving and there WAS a whole lot of food around me no one would miss, I would take the food and feed my kids.
 
And what happened next, is so minor... compared to what families of the missing go through...
I  feel flippant, almost irreverent, posting it here.
However, this story must end so here's what happened.
I'd been collecting these "My Little Ponies" and other cool toys for the kids.
I figured one day, as adults, their kids would like them. So I had this cherished box of  the most special toys we pulled out and played with. It was an impressive collection.
One afternoon, just after I arrived home, Mary hurried out the door as soon as I arrived.
It was the first day of the work week, a new paid period.
When I went to the kitchen table, there was a resignation note.
It said something about due to the health of her daughter, she must quit.
The note had a p.s., "Keep today's pay."
And that was it. 
I called her back, her phone was disconnected.
She was gone.
And so was the box of sacred toys.
No jewelry missing...no stolen checks... nothing else... just the toys I'd been collecting for years.
I knew in my gut, she stole them for her grandchildren.
I felt the loss and betrayal deeply for a while.
They were JUST toys, yes... however... they were symbols to me.
Of faith, then betrayal.
Symbols of how little I knew about people.
And how close I came to having something real terrible happen to my kids because I hired a thief who could have done far worse.
The internet didn't exist then...  in the times I have looked since, I found no records of Mary or her child abduction.
And it's been only in recent years, my kids now adults, that I wonder if Mary's daughter was really HER birth daughter.
Maybe....she asked me the question NOT because she was about to steal my kids' toys, but because she stole her daughter from someone else.
Maybe she felt justified since someone stole her son from her.
Or maybe the whole abduction story was fabricated. Though if so, why?
I have been running in circles with this question ever since.
Every missing children leaves an inextricably altered family... and community in their wake.
What's hard for me in such cases, is imagining what the parents imagine first.
What's hardest is imagining what it must be like to be the child who is taken.
That must be one of the darkest places in the whole world.
Without the media and videos like the one above, we wouldn't know those worlds exist.
                                                                  

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mountain Goat Kills Man

I don't know about this case. Clearly, the mountain goat stabbed the human and the human died.
The goat was then hunted down and killed.
I have mixed feelings about this...
the killing of the goat without a fair trial.
Perhaps the goat was acting in self defense.
Or maybe it was a mother goat protecting a nearby baby goat.
Perhaps the human did something to unknowingly or knowingly provoke the goat.
For whatever reason the goat did what it did... killed the the human.... and the goat was executed.
And eye for an eye.
A goat for a human.
I'm just know if I would call that justice.
Would you?
Here's the link to the story.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2013189753_olympicpark18m.html

Saturday, October 16, 2010

You've Been Served

I serve hard-to-find people subpoenas every now and then. I've written about it here before. Two nights ago, however, I think I made history.
I became the first P.I. ever to have the person who was served, ask the server for a hug.
The attorney laughed when I told him the story and added at the end, "I think he'll be a friendly witness."
My job was to find him, find out what he knows. And if what he knows is important, then serve him a trial subpoena.
So I called him talked to him. Told the attorney what I found out. Attorney agreed he could be the pivotal witness in the case. He said "serve him."
I'd talked to this guy earlier on the phone. He was very nice. Incredibly helpful.
I felt bad just showing up at his house and saying you've been served.
Plus I thought maybe he had more info I could gather.
So I asked him to meet me at Starbucks after his work.
Long story short, I bought the coffee and served the subpoena.
His feathers were ruffled at first.
We talked about what a subpoena for trial meant. He became more comfortable.
Then he began talking about his divorce... his drug addicted soon-to-be ex... the poor little five year old son who screams every  he sees mommy, who the court and father believes abuses him.
And every time he sees mommy, a court-appointed guardian is there for their two-hour requisite mommy visits.
Mommy does sound like a nut case.
Truly insane behavior which would be why the guy I was serving was awarded full custody.
His soon-to-be-ex was committed to a mental institution twice,  takes major pills all the time,  smokes a variety of things, crack, coke, meth... has had a couple DWI's. She hangs out with very bad people, forges legals documents, I could go on and on.
Bottom line... the guy, my subpoena subject... told me he has become his own P.I. in his divorce/custody case and now he wants to become a P.I. for real.
He asked about the avenues to get there.
He also wanted some advice, which I gave him.... quid pro quo and pro bono for the subpoena.
I liked him. He was a good guy and great dad. About 15 years younger than me.
I told him I was impressed with how he handles life.
When it came time to go, he said, "Can I give you a hug?"
I said, "Sure. I've never hugged anyone I served a subpoena to."
He told me it as his first subpoena  ever and it was a pleasure.
We both laughed and parted ways.
What an unexpected ray of light in what is usually such a dark side of our business.

Friday, October 15, 2010