Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards on Splitting From John and Relating to Sandra Bullock

Just as I am about to head out the door, up comes this article.
I can't resist.
Up it goes and off I go.

Elizabeth Edwards Dishes Here on Politics Daily

"Cheater Cheater"

Love this song. You might not. It might even offend you.
I think it's a hoot.
Everyone has relationship stories to tell.
Some are better sung than said and this would be one of those.
The song that follows these word is the perfect musical accompaniment to the article below from Pursuit Magazine.
And my special thanks to L. Scott Harrell and his team of writers from letting me share their words.

Scott knows as well as I...  and all P.I.'s... do, that domestics are a highly volatile undercurrent of the PI business. The good thing is, they pay. The bad thing is they sweep you up in their dark undercurrents and murky truths.  They are are dirty, they are dark and they lack any semblance of the sacred.

People cheat for a reason.
Either they are not getting everything they want from their partner and are too chicket sh**t to either deal with it directly (therapy or divorce), so they cheat.
Or they have a psychological need to show how hot they they are.
That psychological need can be tied to any number of factors most of which are linked to either insecurity or narcissism.
A serial cheater has a  constant need for affection, adulation, attention, anything and everything because nothing is enough.

In my opinion, like a beast that has its first taste of a blood, once a cheater, always a cheater.... until said cheater stops caring or dies.
It's usually the latter.

Cheaters, like vampires, feed off  others bodies.
It's a self serving, habitual or addictive act
The satisfaction the cheater gets is always temporary and must always be replenished.

So here's to people who have the courage to call the Cheater out.
To call it like they see it.
Joey + Rory sure do. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"The Electronic Peephole" From Pursuit Magazine

I just finished my last case for the evening.
It involved one of the worst sets of injuries I have ever seen or photographed to the lower half of the human body.
Since printing, then packing up the photos for delivery to the attorney tomorrow, I have been unable to eat anything that resembled flesh, bone, sinew or the color red tonight.
So tonight's pizza remains untouched.

Decided to unwind a bit instead catching up on my reading.
I came across this, from "Pursuit Magazine".... which is one of my favorite publications.
This article discusses "sexy spyware" and divorce cases.

Spyware, when used according to both state and federal guidelines statutes, comes in handy when fraud is involved in a divorce action.
In cases where no fault is necessary for a divorce, the process is merely a battle of wills.
What turns the battle into a war is in those "at fault" states...
or in cases where an affair is involved and the new partner is draining the soon-to-be-ex's settlement, then it becomes a whole new ballgame.

The Electronic Peephole: Digital Evidence in Family Law Investigations

Monday, June 28, 2010

Guest Blogging Monkey

I didn't have time to blog the other day, so an old friend offered to lend a hand.
Then I decided to blog and his feelings were hurt.

Checking the blog today, I noticed a comment on what they call the "Blogger Dashboard" from someone who asked where that Guest Blogger is. I must have posted instead of saved the original draft and taken it down.

That gave me a great idea, because I am swamped today.
I decided to call in that favor. I called my Guest Blogger and he was very agreeable.
Said he had nothing better to do, however... he said he needed to think about what to write about.
Being, a he said, a direct descendant of Sherlock Holmes'  beloved monkey... and therefore, a celebrity, he said he has a certain iconic stature to maintain. Though he assured me he has countless tales to tell.

I told him blogging isn't as easy as he thought.
It's one thing to come up with an idea, I said.
It's a whole different story to write the story.

He replied with his more than usual amount of arrogance that writing is easier than climbing a banana tree any day. Any simian with half a brain can punch a keyboard and  a create a brilliant blog post, he said. So I accepted his challenge because I  must head off to help a woman reunite with her daughters

I have been working this locate case, pro-bono for well over a year now.
Have been through every DSHS and Foster System legal channel. Every Freedom of Info and Public Records Disclosure request. I burned up cell hours. Even showed up at the big warehouse in our state capital where I know the records are housed and knocked on the door.
In fact, I have knocked at seven doors.
No luck.
When you are being stonewalled, you need something very strong to take down those walls.
I have had enough and these aren't even my kids. Nor am I their mother.
My pro-bono client told me yesterday she doesn't know how much longer she can take not having seen her girls in 20 years.
She mentioned this investigation is the only thing  that matters in her life and asked me not to give up.

I took the case and eat the costs because I believe the foster care system adopted out those kids 15 years ago on false criminal allegations which have since been over-ruled by the Supreme Court. I'm determined to find another pathway to those kids.

The allegations were sexual in nature, they were false and the witness against the mother was an embittered  schizoid alcoholic woman next door who  hated my attractive client and her kids. She called DSHS on them repeatedly.

Just know this:

When I do a locate, regardless of who my client is.... mother, child, friend, long lost relative or love, whatever...when I find the address and/or phone.... I keep the locate info to myself and contact the subject myself. I never hand over this info to my client.

What I do is let the investigation subject know someone is trying to find him, her or them.
Then I say who and why.
We talk about it.
Most times, I bring them a letter, sometimes pictures, from the seeker and ask the subject if they would like to read it.
I never, ever, find someone for anyone and directly hand the address over.
This is a no-no in investigation.
It has led to countless lawsuits...and worse, deaths.... because a PI gave out info he or she was not legally and/or ethically supposed to.
PI locates Rebecca Schaffer For Her Killer

So off I go to that obsessive place PI's go in their heads when they are solving a puzzle.
Meantime, I leave this blog in what I hope are capable hands.
Can't wait to get back later and see what my Guest Blogger wrote.
Here's a place you can keep checking his creative progress.
I know he does a whole lot of thinking.
My thanks to StumbleUpon and The Smoking Monkey.
Wave your cursor here to follow The Guest Blogging Monkey's Creative Progress

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Choosing Suicide

Suicide rates are on the rise for more than obvious reasons.
One of which is the current world order which is in a current state of collapse.
People are being crushed by quakes, swept away by floods, drowning in oil spills, losing life savings,  homes, careers, family members, income sources, marriages, their health and family members.
Retirement for many will be forced, for others, there will be none.
Painkillers and tranquilizers intended to sooth the rough edges pour salt in our wounds.
Alcohol has seeped into blood streams;  meth, crank and crack are the new black.
Experts are saying, drugs and the collapsing house of cards we call our world, have contributed to the startling increase in suicide rates.

Run the stats for yourself.
I just did.
Soldiers, farmers, fishermen, college students, police, teenagers, every demographic segment shows an increase.
In Private Investigation, suicide comes into play because insurance companies tend not to pay out death claims on suicides until the requisite policy time period has passed.
Those who kill for insurance money are well aware of that.
And some of the people who commit suicide intentionally make their death appear to be a homicide.... so they can either save face and/or enable their families to collect on their policy.

I believe today's high suicide is not due to primarily to illness as it used to be.
It is due to to emotions run rampant as a result of a collective, almost communal world-wide terror...
a feeling that the big sleep is better than the big pain.... emotional or otherwise.

So I am writing this today before I head out for two reasons.

First, I  signed up yesterday with a service that tracks blog readership and found one of my most read posts was the one about Mr Chen, the Chinese guy and the Suicide Bridge. Here's my bridge to that one: This way to: Suicide Bridge Story

The second reason I am posting this is, last week, someone told me her best friend killed herself.
I did not know the woman who died.
As my friend showed me her dead friend's picture from a happy time, someone I never met, I noted inner and outer beauty with a tough Harley edge.
It was the edge that did it.

She  used the finely honed edge of knife and cut herself  vertically, wrist to up arms and across neck.  That is serious, messy, permanent and I imagine, painful business.
So when my friend told me about her friend's suicide... how could we not discuss both the pain her friend must have been suffering.... and her method of exiting the land of the living?
I could never imagine  going that way.
What statement was the person ending her life making by choosing the Freddy Kruger exit plan?

One of the problems of being one of my friends and/or family members, is the innumerable, intrusive and invasive questions I shamelessly ask on a daily basis.
So I went into full inquisition mode.
Why did she kills herself at 37?
And why that way?

My friend told me her best friend was gay all her life and proud of it, so she didn't think it figured into the suicide equation.
She had recently broken up with her girlfriend though.
Then she was laid off her job along with 23 other people.
And shortly after that, her mother, who unconditionally loved her, was hit head on and killed by a DWI.
Her father had walked on the family when she was just a baby, so it was just her mom and her once her girlfriend left.
Despite all the money she inherited from mom's insurance company, my friend's friend still filleted herself with a knife and bled out.
She had no life insurance of her own. So the inheritance from her mom  was donated to a list of social causes she carefully laid out in a will she did herself  a week earlier on

There were not lot of people at her memorial service.
My friend counted maybe 20, she said.
Evidently, many consider suicide a sin and choose to make their own social statements by not attending a memorial or funeral.
To me, that's a crock.
People kill themselves when the pain of living becomes too great.
Just because your life is bearable, does not mean someone else's is not.
Just because you are strong of will, character, or a religious faith that prohibits suicide does not mean others have the attributes or upbringing you do.

I believe people who commit suicide are not cowards or chickens.
They are real people in excruciating physical or emotional pain you and I can not fathom and they choose to end it.
It is ultimately a choice.

It is for this reason, and to honor the unnamed woman I just wrote of....
that I am posting an important link here for anyone who gets so so low, they feel they can't take it anymore.

When I was a much younger, I volunteered for a suicide prevention telephone hot line.
I talked a few people out of killing themselves.
I failed on one. Heard the gunshot over the phone.
So I get the concept that any one of us can feel so trapped in the quicksand, escape appears futile.
The more you struggle, the deeper you go.

Yet, I also know there are ropes you can toss the sinking.
There are ways out for so many.
Because I also believe, the actual moment you are about to commit the final act...
is the moment you can convert that decision to die into one to live... with the right words.
Just know, when someone's mind is made up, truly made up...there really may be nothing you can do.
So blaming yourself is futile once you've tried everything within your means.

I have sent this link to others who have told me it has helped.
I pass it on to you now.
Just bookmark it.  Print it up. Keep it your purse or tool box.
And when someone you know needs help, the kind beyond your ability to deal with....  this is something you can give them.
The page  was "provided as a public service by Metanoia, and is dedicated with gratitude to David Conroy, Ph.D. whose work inspired it." 
Suicide Prevention Page:

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Panty Raid Defense

This  story is just too good not to share.
Wave your major  cursor wand here to find out why a 15 years said she stole 44 pairs:
Why She Stole The Undies

Mr. Road Rage

I have a busy day ahead and a break in the day. This is a good time to blog.

A P.I.'s day often begins in the afternoon or evening... and moves well into night.
Like hospital workers, police, paramedics, reporters,  firemen and women, gas station and convenience store  workers....  P.I.'s often have the night shift, because our subjects usually exhibit  their poorest behavior under cover of dark.

Given my druthers, I prefer to work closer to the crack of dawn when the crackheads are snoozing.
Crackheads, druggies and drinkers are very active at night. As are the minions who revolve around them.
(Go into any Wal Mart after midnight and you'll see the Meth heads buzzing round  like bees, feeding on their  version of honey.. loads of sugar soaked goods.)

When I leave the city of Seattle and head north to the Kingston ferry after dark, I always take Aurora Ave North instead of the freeway. I get a kick  out of  watching the hookers, pimps and dealers wake up and walk the talk while the Johns, police, and commuters like me cruise the streets.

Last  night, at a stop light, my eyes swept into an alley where I saw a doper guy help his doper girl shoot up. I was mesmerized for many reasons, one of which was  they could've at least sought cover behind the dumpster.  However, they figured their need was greater and they chose not to consider people like me at red lights, spotting and watching them.

Meantime, I forgot about the red light that had been green now for enough time to incite the guy behind me to lay on his horn.... long and hard.
That took me by surprise because people do not honk horns in Seattle like they do in places like New York.
When you hear a car horn in Seattle, it means something's wrong.
I looked up, saw the red light and  quickly stepped on the gas.
No problem... my car and the five behind me, passed through the light.
It's all good, I thought.
I was wrong.
It wasn't good for the guy in the white Lexus directly behind me.

I was in the right lane.
He pulled up quickly to the left lane, parallel to me...
rolled his passenger window down and shot out a few expletives.
His finishing touch was the middle finger salute.

He was no kid, no teenager being irreverent, no 20 or 30-something who would learn better.
This guy was well over 50, wearing a suit, driving a nice car, had the look of a handsome leading man, grey fox, central casting.
I looked in his eyes, which were slits. I looked at his skin which turned from white to deep red.
I just stared back at him as he continued to hurl insults mixed with spittle, then race by me.

I realized this was one of those turning points.
This was one of those moments when a button is pushed and the confrontation can escalate to dangerous levels.
When he lingered there next to me, yelling, ranting.... my temperature rose. No denying it.
After he dropped the f bomb the third time, I knew I was fully engaged.

I felt that familiar tug between emotion and logic and contemplated my next move.
I chose to glare back at him, say nothing. Dude lost his apology privileges.

Instead, I choose to watch  him race ahead of me to what I knew would soon be another red light.
And soon, I would be coasting in right behind him.

My crime?  I sat on the brake pedal too long while watching a couple shoot up.
Did that really warrant his response?

I won't dignify his words to me by repeating them here. Suffice to say the comment that really yanked my chain  had to do with eating stuff you normally flush.

So let's just say pulling into position right behind him at the next red light made me feel like the mad scientist of revenge. I took our my binocs, chose the really big ones, and looked directly into his rear view mirror. He saw I was behind him, he knew it as me. And now I was watching him. That was good. His expression changed to surprise.

I  put down the binocs, waved and smiled at him, pointed down to his rear license plate, held up my notebook and wrote down his plate numbers. Then I reached for my cell phone, held it up and pointed to it so he could see it ion his rear view. I saw his head drop.

The light changed he raced forward, I followed.

He changed lanes, I changed lanes. We did the cat and mouse thing.
Always lingering behind him. He knew I was there.
I will admit. It is a thrill to go from hunted to hunter.

I debated whether to simply to continue to annoy him, or call the Road Rage Hot Line and call it a day. And then I began to wonder about him.
So I decided to slip back, follow and observe....unobserved.

Understand, I was not on the job.
I was just another person on the concrete canal heading home.
And in the course of following him maybe eight miles, he did the same thing to three other people. At one red light, when he was just waiting, he was screaming to no one in his car and pounding on the wheel. His face was distorted.This guy was in his own private hell and we, the people on the road with him, had no clue.
Oddly, I felt some compassion. He was in huge pain.
Yet being in pain does not entitle you to beat up others.

What ended this encounter and will end this post is his final move.
I witnessed him blow through a crosswalk when an old man was still it. He almost hit the pedestrian. And when the old guy and other witnesses yelled, they too received the middle finger salute.

That's when I pulled my car over ad the the Road Rage Hotline received my call.
This wasn't anything for 911, I decided, though I was definitely tempted.
Maybe something horrible just happened to him.
Maybe he lost his job. His money. His marriage.
Maybe he couldn't make his car payments, house payments.
Maybe his kid died.
Maybe he was schizophrenic and the voices in his head were screaming at him.
Maybe he just lost it.
Maybe the guy is just a lunatic.
Maybe there was a gun on the seat next to him.

Often, a precipitating factor is what makes people like that driver tweek.
Other times, control-freaks... or mild-mannered, oppressed or repressed people... release their aggression behind the wheel.
People with road rage in command of a 5,000 pound missile are to be avoided at all costs.

I always drive slow.
I also watch everyone around me.
I leave plenty of space between my car and the car in front while driving and at complete stops.
I do not drive in front of semi's or box vans because the vehicles are not maintained mechanically for economic reasons.
And when I encounter a Road Rager, I usually watch unaffected.
This time, this guy got to me.
And the fact that he got to me.... got to me.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Birds Of A Feather

One of the roughest times of a P.I.'s career is when you know someone did it and there's not enough evidence to indict, let alone convict him or her.

My very first murder case was close to home.
The murderer was the boyfriend/fiancee of one of my co-worker's sisters.
Everyone knew he did it.
There just wasn't enough evidence to get the criminal case to an indictment.
This murder happened around the time O.J. murdered Nicole.

In the case of my friend sister's murder, the alleged murderer, who happened to be an attorney specializing in criminal defense, knew how to kill her and make it look like suicide.
He was after both the beach house they lives in and the hefty insurance policy they took out on each other two years earlier. 
I and several others, including family, investigators and police, are convinced he did it. 

There have been grand juries convened. newspaper stories written.
Investigations both criminal and civil launched.
The insurance company has gone through the case with  a fine tooth comb.
Boxes of evidence exists in police storage warehouses.
Yet so far,  more than a decade has passed and no indictments.

When I asked the lead Police Homicide Investigator working the criminal case what I can do to help on behalf of the family's private investigation, his reply was this:

"Find the smoking gun. This guy is the most evil son-of-a-bitch since Charles Campbell. He's
 beyond psychopath. So be careful."
And careful I was.
I  studied the pictures -- autopsy and scene.
I talked to witnesses who were threatened and too frightened to proceed.
It appeared anyone who got too close to the attorney him got slapped with at least one lawsuit.
Statements were retracted.
The few people who would at one time help, became invisible.

How'd he pull off the intimidation? 
He was tall, good looking, legal wizard -- a  power-dressed deviant of few words who surrounded himself with a cadre of equally deviant macho men who were his posse.  And he theirs.
There was an urban legend, never proven, that one of his associates up by the Canadian border killed a woman he wasn't happy with, then mixed  her body parts with cement and incorporated her into a retaining wall. I kid you not.

To this very day, as I type these words...
I am know that  attorney is settled in with another woman who happens to look like just my friend's dead sister, the one he murdered.
I believe he is just waiting out the insurance policy.

Joran van der Sloot reminds me of this guy.
Only he's younger and much less experienced in criminal defense tactics when it comes to murder.
Joran van der Sloot was drawn to the media lights like the moth to the flame.
Dad protected him to a point.
Yet unfettered, his animal instincts prevailed.
His taste for blood was greater than his ability to contain his hunger for it.
I'm glad van der Sloot is off the streets.
Though, we're still working on the other guy.

Here's an update on the van der Sloot update here:
Alleged Crime Scene Photos Leaked in Joran van der Sloot Case

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Colton Harris Moore Update - Bandit and Philanthropist

This young man, who happens to be a criminal, has his own Facebook page and a fan club.
They've written a song about him, printed t-shirts.
You've got to know his family, friends, strangers are helping this crook, who they perceive as Robin Hood.

There's been in update on his investigation I will post here while I head out on today's cases.
I am running lately to meet someone who had a run-in with about 2500 pounds of steel and lost.

Eventually someone with catch or shoot Colton.
Personally, I think US Military Special Forces could intervene, snatch up this kids, de-program him, put  a GPS chip in him and send him off to find Osama Bin Laden.
He can run, he can hide.
Let's put him and his unique kills sets to work.

Go here: Colton Harris Moore Update

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mary Kay Letourneau Update

Anyone who lives in the  Pacidic Northwest knows about Mary Kay LeTourneau and her honey Vili Fualaau. She first met him when he was a student in the elementary school she taught at.
As I recall he was six when they first met.

I thought I'd share an update on the case because admittedly, I am fascinated by Mary Kay.
I've ready every book written on her, been to the scene where she was arrested by the Burien Marina with Vili in her car, saw her Perp Walk in the courthouse.
She had so much, including a  gaggle of kids, a handsome hubby who loved her, a job and school that valued her. Yet she gave it all up for the only answer she would give.

Powerful word.
It leads us to feel whole or empty, valued or non-existent, respected or demeaned, cherished or detested.
In some, the words "I love you"  transforms the world into magical, gleeful, safer place.
To others, the words bring conflict from never hearing them at all, Or hearing them too much.
For some, the word "love" signifies contentment.
For others, it's a prison.

There's an old saying,
"Leap and the net will appear."

In Mary's case, she leapt and the net never appeared.
Even though she thought it was there. It was not.
She has taken a huge fall from grace.
Imho, by appearing at and promoting the following event, she went "splat" in the class-act department.

Go To: Mary Kay Letourneau - Hot For Teacher Night

Monday, June 14, 2010

Wild Ride

The rains of weeks past bring business this week.
So as I head out to investigate another auto collision leavings cars and humans totaled,  I leave you with an important link for the day.
There are a lot of cars out there, not just Toyota, with brake pedals that stick.
The pedals were manufactured in the USA, (a fact I find highly disappointing.)
Regardless, I caught this story about a young woman, 23 year old in a Honda Civic in New Hampshire, who kept her head clear in a very sticky situation.
I'm posting this because while you usually can't avoid accidents when someone else, or a faulty product, triggers that accident... you CAN survive.
Provided you keep your head....literally and figuratively.
Go To: Today's "Wild Ride"

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Some days you get the muffin and some days, the muffin gets you.
Just "Beware."
Click below or on the title of this post to get to Amy Winfrey's portentous tale.
Go to: Beware!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Meeting The Murderer

It was one of those rare times I actually met a client -- being an accused and alleged criminal -- who I was representing as a Criminal Defense Investigator at one of the many Public Defender Offices in Washington State.

The office I worked for was one of the bigger hubs of a criminal justice system where the poor, the indigent, those who can't afford an attorney and investigator are provided one.

Unfortunately, there aren't as many Public Defenders and  Defense Investigators in state budgets as there are criminals, so everyone is more than a bit overloaded. At the time I worked there, the office I worked for had close to one hundred Public Defenders, a bunch of Investigators full time and a bunch sub-contracted out.

I was a newbie to Criminal Defense Investigation at the time.
My enthusiasm  and energy showed in my work product.
So I developed a level of trust among the attorneys I worked for in that office.

The Public Defender on the case I was about to get was seated behind a desk stacked high with file folders. The table beside his desk was also covered layers of files. And under the table, were boxes upon boxes filled with more files. All had names on them. All represented living, breathing people awaiting their round in the justice turnstile

'"Whoa..." I said as I walked in. "Looks like you're not busy enough."

The Public Defender chuckled and said, "Right. And they just assigned me two more capital murders. Here's one for you."

He handed me two thick blue case files.
"Get started on this for me. Read the case file. Our guy did it.  Give me your ideas, we'll take it from there. I'm late for court so we'll talk later about this okay?"

 "No problem. Later..." I replied and turned to exit without a good-bye, because formalities were not exchanged or necessary in that office.

"Wait, one thing." he added as I turned to him, "I want you to go to the jail and interview our guy for me. I'm in trial now, I have to get these questions answered soon. Do not record the interview. Just take the questions, get the answers and write it all up for me, okay?"

"Okay" I said as I turned back to exit and added "Good luck on your trial".

He didn't answer me. Not that I expected he would.

So while others went home that night to their dinners, tv shows and good books awaiting their bodies to call them to bed, I opened a murder case file and studied the bodies of a family of  four. A mother and father, their son and his wife.

I was defending their killer, their non-prodigal son.
The prodigal younger son was dead in a pool of blood.
They'd all  been shot, then stabbed until they died, with the very knife that beside one of the victims.
The handles was covered with our client's bloody fingerprints.
He also used the knife to slice each victim's throat, ear to ear, post mortem.
It was what we all call overkill.

There was no dispute he did it.
He made the 911 call.
"I just killed my family" were the words that were forever bound to the 911 recording the police dispatch log.
He waited on the porch in his bloody clothes.
He offered up no resistance upon arrest.
Despite the best efforts of the police, he would utter only four words, "I want an attorney."
One police officer wrote in his observations that day of a "compliant, subdued, almost catatonic suspect."

Going to jail was like old home week, I imagined, as I studied his thick rap sheet.
Looked like he spent more time behind bars than free.
He had an extensive juvenile record that was still afforded some privacy protection until the Discovery Process was  complete.
It was apparent, however, this kid was up to no good for a long time.
Thrown out of schools, repeat appearances in juvenile court, rehabs, shrinks, one stint in a psych ward, I wondered if he was the proverbial Bad Seed I'd seen movies about.
The seed, defective to begin with, stood no chance.

His last visit in jail was for robbery, possession with intent to distribute Meth.
It was was a drug deal gone bad and someone would surely have been killed that night, had not multiple 911 calls  brought a SWAT team to the area.
Our Defendant had loads of priors - drug and public intoxication charges, dealing, robberies, assaults, and two counts of accessory to attempted murder, both dropped when he struck a deal with the Prosecutor and turned informant.

He went into his last lock down at age 22, served 10 years of a potential 20 year sentence, got out at age 32.
It was one year from the day of his release he killed his family.

It was unusual for me, as an Investigator for a Public Defender, to actually meet the client/ Defendant. Normally, in the office I worked,  that is the Attorney's job.
The Public Defenders usually keep their investigators  away from the Defendant for whatever reason they choose.Maybe to  keep us unbiased, objective, away from the hands of accused who sometimes think we are their puppets and they, the Puppet Masters.

It was a rainy Seattle morning when I showed up at the jail. I recall now, though it was a long time ago,  it was a Monday, because it had been raining all weekend, which  gave me plenty of time to study the case, the attorney's questions.

There was only one question missing and it was the one everyone wants to know and only the guilty could answer..."Why?"
Many Criminal Defense Attorneys choose not to ask their clients that question.
It was not on the list of questions I'd been given to ask.

I dressed conservatively that day, chose the Jodie Foster "Silence of the Lambs" look: blue blazer, white shirt, slacks.  I wore boots because it was pouring and I always wear boots to jail or prisons anyway. The boots thing has something to do, in my head, with rats. Whenever I am somewhere rats may be, I wear boots. I remember thinking... jail, rats, boots.

I decided not to wear contact lenses that day and opted instead for my glasses. Not only do glasses make me look more intelligent (being blond, I need all the help I can get); I also felt glasses put a protective shield between my eyes and whatever invisible, insidious germs or parasites might be on a fly by.

I remember entering the jail, going through the process, showing ID's the forms, the requisite search.
It's always easier entering jails and prisons when you work for the Attorney because prisoners are usually afforded legal visits when necessary.

I recall the little room, the glass, the telephone.
There would be no one-to-one meeting for this multiple murder.
I watched them bring him in... watched him do the jailhouse chain shuffle in his orange jumpsuit as he walked to the window.
He was a white guy of the Supremacist variety, about 6 feet, thick all round but not fat, with a skinhead cut that was growing back to reveal brown hair.
His face had a  teardrop tattoo beneath one eye. Usually, the mark of a kill.
Looks-wise, on a scale of 1-10 he was about a 7.
Not bad  until he opened his mouth and showed his rotten Meth Mouth and gave me his rattlesnake smile.
That brought him down to a minus 2.

"Hey beautiful," he hissed, "What's your name?"
I held my ID up to the glass, said " I'm Susan, your Investigator"
Then I asked him how he was doing.
He looked surprised.

I knew it was a dumb question. Of course I know HOW he was doing.
He just killed his family and now he's in prison.
I also knew it was an unexpected question.
Prisoners, especially multiple murderers/family killers who have admitted guilt, assume no one cares how they are doing.
He said, "I couldn't be better."
And so began the dance.

I went through the requisite questions and wrote all the answers down word for word while he watched through the glass.
All the who's, what's, where's and when's the attorney listed.
When the questions were done, he asked his questions.
Asked me if I had a boyfriend, where I lived.
I gave him the standard response.... I said the meeting wasn't about me it was about him.

I thought that would irritate him, it didn't.
He asked if I would  be visiting again.
I said it was up to the Attorney.
He asked if I could bring or send him things.
I told him no.
The he asked me one last question.
Only this question changed his whole demeanor. His smile flattened, his lips quivered,  his eyes got watery.

I wondered if what I was seeing was genuine emotion, or a great acting job.
I figured he'd ask about whether he'd get the death penalty. Or what the media saying about his case.
Instead, he asked, "Do you think I'm a monster?"

I looked into his eyes, then at the teardrop tattoo.
I flashed on the crime scene photos of his dead family, each in their own pool of blood.
the knife. The overkill.
"No," I said slowly, " I think you are a man who did monstrous things."
Then the tears flowed.
They poured out of him and while I watched him sob, I truly believed the emotions were real.
I wondered if he was crying for himself or for what he'd done.

My response to his tears was an instantaneous move on my part,  like a compulsion, I later told the Public Defender.
I  had to ask THE question.
"Why did you do it?" I whispered into the phone, "WHY did you kill your whole family?"

Just as quickly as the tears came, they stopped.
Right in front of my eyes, a transformation.

He wiped his tears with the sleeve of his jumpsuit, his lips turned upward, he leaned into the glass and locked eyes with mine. The snake opened his  Meth Mouth and hissed:
"Because I could, Bitch."

I did not respond verbally. Nor did I show any emotion.  I refused to give him the satisfaction.
Instead, without a word,  I hung up the phone, gathered my papers and left the little room with the glass window. I signed out,  exited the jail and went back to my cubicle to type up my Report Of Interview for the Public Defender.

End of story is like the end of so many stories like his. Life without the possibility of parole.
Because he was such a good actor, he conned the jury and judge into keeping him on this planet.
He is far away in a big prison now, across the mountains.
I still check every now and then to make sure he's there. Even though more than a decade has passed.

That Defendant.... and that day.... is one of those images etched on the hard drive of my brain I hope to offload here. Yet it is a truth I will never forget. And it was one of the contributing factors in my switch from Criminal to Civil Investigation. It was the day I learned monsters do exist.

Some people cheat, rob, rape, murder, kill, simply because they can.
You can blame it whatever you want.
On the Meth or the Meth Head. Or nature, nurture, or unspeakable parental deeds.
Everyone's got a theory.
No one's got an answer.
I am of the "Bad Seed" school of thought.
Bad Seeds are weeds that just grow back when you pull them from the ground.
Some require weed killer.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just relased 911 Call: "I Just Killed my Children"

A Day In the Life Of A P.I.

I've always wanted a forum like this. A place where I could post my thoughts, reflections and... primarily...
offload some of the rougher visual images of  the day into words I could release from my overloaded subconscious.
I figured a blog, in turn, would serve both self-therapeutic, and helpful to others.
I also wanted this tiny spot in time and cyberspace to be a place where I could challenge the image of fictionalized television and novelized P.I.'s.
I also wanted to post daily... primarily for one reason.
To see if I could.

And then again, I wondered, do people really want to hear...
Or even  care?
And equally important, do I dare?
Talking or writing about a current case is ethically and legally verbotten. A.K.A. (also known as) a "no-no."
What I write about must be public record... and must I.D. no party, or individual, I or any law firm I work with, work for.
So for a licensed P.I., writing a blog is like walking in a minefield.
Yet it's nothing compared to the the day job, which is also a night job.

More days than not... which is most days... this one included... I get in my faithful Trailblazer, warm it up, while I load the first location into my GPS to head north, south, east, or west to a  new place, new person, new collision yard, new accident scene, new witnesses. 

I am forever opening strange front gate hinges, accessing gated apartments or communities, ringing bells, stepping over puddles of water (or pee), knocking on doors unknown and listening to the sounds of barking dogs behind doors. Sometimes I hear children laughing, parents screaming, televisions blaring behind those closed doors.

Occasionally, I hear nothing... or hear everything turn off... as whoever is there pretends not to be.
I grab my cell, call their number, stand at the door, hear my phone ringing in their house.
They don't pick up.
P.I.'s get used to be ignored or avoided professionally.

Sometimes I go door-to-door on what is called a "canvass", to locate witnesses to an accident ,incident,  event, crime.
A favorable, previously unknown witness can be a smoking gun that wins a case and wins an attorney's  loyalty and continuing business

Other times, I take a metal and plastic wheel and walk it the length of long, wet, desolate roads, measuring distances.
I field questions from curious on-lookers and  work around schizoid street people.
I use a waterproof notebook to sketch scenes and apply measurements.
I put a plastic bag around my beloved camera to protect it from the endless rain. 
Then I photograph the scene from multiple directions.
Plus debris, skid marks, oil and gas spills, marks left by the police investigation... and blood.
I climb up and down hills to photograph crash sites.
I scoot under cars to see the damage to their frame, tanks, pipes and underbellies

And my camera zooms roadside crosses signed by the loved ones of a dead crash victim. They are usually surrounded by balloons, flower and stuffed animal-decorations.
I never know what my day will bring or where and who it will bring me to. 

On a surface level,
I liken my job to a plumber's.
I am dispatched to help someone out of a jam.
Only my job is a bit cleaner.
I don't turn wrenches.
I throw wrenches into lies.
And unlike a plumber, the only butt cracks involved are those filmed of a cheating spouse.

A P.I.'s day doesn't end when the office closes, because it never closes.
A day of investigating involves a day of notes, or pictures to printed, or scenes to sketched, or witnesses to be called and statements to be gathered.
You work all the time as P.I.
Some people can only be reached, interviewed, or found at night.
Ultimately a P.I.'s work product is a case file delivered to an attorney, so every scribbled note becomes record and evidence that must be gathered, collated,documented and billed.

Being a self-employed P.I. is a 24/7 gig with no vacation, no sick days, benefits, no days paid when there is no work... which can be often.
If you get injured on the job, it's "Oh well, so sorry, no Worker's Comp for you, self-employed P.I."
Beyond that, there is pertually the challenge of getting the work andgetting paid for it.

And because the purpose of the P.I. is to get, gather and deliver information to a client, the  ultimate goal is to ascertain and deliver the truth.
Even if the truth its not in your client's/case's best interests.
Because the truth comes in many shades and hues. Seldom is it as simple and clear as black and white.

I delivered the truth to a client's attorney recently.
His client who said he didn't have any fault... had all the fault.
Including, a red light and three independent witnesses who saw him in the red light when he turned left.
He also had a criminal record and a past history of insurance fraud.
It wasn't good news for the attorney who dropped his case.
Though the attorney told me my fee was "money well-spent"
It was  better now for the attorney to know the truth.... than had he invested further time and money on a no win situation with a client who was quite possibly committing fraud.
                                   A good investigator has a lot of people's backs.
                                   Yet ultimately, we much watch out for our own.

Friday, June 4, 2010

"Natalee Holloway's Mom Prays for 'Swift Justice' in van der Sloot Case"

I know everyone is innocent until proven guilty, however, the link to today's news at the end of this post reaffirms my faith in justice.
Albeit, a justice that often takes way too long to be served up.
In this case, I am absolutely convinced Joran van der Sloot killed Natalee Holloway.
I don't know that he will ever fess up to it though.
Some people actually believe their own lies.
They say the lie so often and so well... the lie becomes the liar's truth.
Joran van der Sloot is one of those guys.
He knows exactly what he's doing and saying.
I agree with Natalee Holloway's's mom, justice is best served swift.
I don't think she'll get that though.
Because he is now in Peru and I think the last think he'll offer up is answers or justice in Natalee's case.
Natalee Holloway's Mom Prays for 'Swift Justice' in van der Sloot Case

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Case of Colton Harris-Moore: Robin Hood or Robbing Hood?

We've got  this young, good-looking kid here in the Pacific Northwest who's gone bad.
However, in the process of turning outlaw, he's become famous.

His name is Coltin Harris-Moore. He's a teenager, 19 now, who escaped a group home in 2008. He's survived on his own ever since.... by breaking into homes, stealing food, vehicles, including boat and planes.
He doesn't have a pilot's license, by the way. He just figured out how to fly them.

Most people want  him caught because he's wreaking havoc on a fairly grand scale, yet noone has been able to catch him.
Others see him more like Robin Hood, than hoodlum, living off the rich because he's poor.
He's also nick-named, the "Barefoot Bandit."

It is alleged his family and friends know where here is and no one's talking.
I've heard radio interviews with his mom and she sounds very elusive, evasive.
Local police are stymied, SWAT teams have been out to no avail.
Even the national media has picked up the story and posted Colton's picture, which you'll see here.
The picture is one Colton took of himself with a camera he stole.
Click Here: Link to Time Magazine Article and Picture

I'm intrigued by the case. Not just because I am a P.I.
Also because I live in the boonies, in a remote, water-based community on the Kitsap Peninsula very close to Colton's Home turf.
Life here is not unlike Camano Island, where Colton hangs and commits many of  his crimes.
I have done many cases on Camano and know many people who live there.

That said, there's a unique approach being used to catch this kid now.
It involves a community meeting, an attorney, a well-respected bounty hunter and an anonymous donor who is willing to offer this kid big bucks for coming out of hiding.

Here's a link to the article about offers Colton's being made....
and the local Bounty Hunter spear-heading the efforts.
I believe today they upped the reward to 50k and that may not be in this article.
Go To: The Crook, the Bounty Hunter and the Deal

I'm not sure how I feel about this.
I do know whatever he is paid will go right back into his defense.
So if the kid is smart enough to fly a plane... maybe he's smart enough to figure out, he's busted the minute he steps forward.
And the money goes back into the justice system and not his pocket.

But then, how long will he really get behind bars?
In my humble opinion, what this kid needs is a group of powerful soldiers.... manly men... to surround, command, mentor, father and re-direct him. The US Military would be ideal.
Obviously Colton is great at evasive techniques: living off the land, infiltration, evasive maneuvers.
Avoiding capture.

Think about it:
Stealing, flying and landing a plane without lessons?  
And surviving a Pacific Northwest winter barefoot?
That's quite an accomplishment.
It's cold and wet out here.
Moss grows on the soles of our feet.

But there are also plenty of beach houses, that are abandoned winters and weekdays by city dwellers, who use these remote residences as second/vacation homes. I'm sure Colton found refuge in those.

I wonder... can this kid be saved?
Can his twisted talents be turned into a force for good?
Only time will tell.
One man told me last night, that they don't care if he's a kid.
If the shows up in their house, they will shoot him on sight.

People who live in the areas he is terrorizing are angry.
They don't see him as a hero. Rather, a target.
Shattering the Myth

Bottom line, I believe Colton will be shot.... or he will surrender.
I don't think there's grey space here.
If I were his mother, his friends... I would encourage him to step into the limelight now before his steps into a sniper's liner of fire.
What a waste of potential that would be.