Setting expectations

Now that we’ve debunked the myth that cases aren’t as solved as fast as Hollywood would make you think, it still isn’t clear how long an investigation takes. A day? A week? The truth is, there is no easy answer. In this article, we show you what to expect from your investigation before getting started.

Infidelity cases

How long do cheating cases take? “That depends on what information is provided before the case, and what happens during the case,” said Trustify Sales Manager Sam Rosenberg.

The more information you can give your investigator, the less digging they have to do before they begin surveillance. So be sure to tell them as much as you can, even the details you may not think are important. This is true in all cases.

If your details on the subject are limited, Rosenberg says that there are three necessary details private investigators need on the subject to solve any case: “Who they are, what vehicle they are driving, and where they are going to be.”

According to Rosenberg, the starting location is of particular importance for infidelity cases. Sure, they might say that they’re heading to the gym, but “cheaters tend to lie about where they’re going.”

That we already knew, but we still don’t know how the case will turn out. “We can’t control what that subject does during the surveillance,” said Rosenberg.

For example, a private investigator might watch a client’s husband after work when he says he’s going to the gym. But maybe he did go to the gym, and not his mistress’s that day, Trustify Private Investigator Network Manager Mike Hunter cautions.

“If you do surveillance and he doesn’t do anything bad, that doesn’t mean he’s not cheating. It just means he didn’t do it that day, said Hunter” If the investigator doesn’t find any evidence of infidelity, then they must reassess the subject’s schedule and activities. “Maybe he visits his mistress in the morning before he goes to work. Or maybe he stopped the affair.”

That’s why surveillance takes a lot longer than people think. Not to say it’ll take a hundred hours, but it varies by case by case. “There’s no average time in length,” said Hunter. But one thing’s for sure, “we like to take cases out the door in one to two days after they’ve been brought to us.”

Child custody cases

On the other hand, child custody cases usually take longer. Like infidelity cases, give your PI as much information as possible, and focus on details like “date and times and things that related to the child,” said Rosenberg.

“Specifically, when your ex has visitation of your child, when your ex goes to work, or whether someone is watching the child that shouldn’t be. We need to know what to look for that would help you in your case.”

Say you suspect that your ex is violating a custody agreement, or worse, abusing your child. You’ll need substantial evidence to prove that she is an unfit parent. Unfortunately, that’s not as easy to prove as infidelity.

“Even if we get the proof or photos of what the customer needs on the first try, that may not be enough for the courts,” said Rosenberg. “We need evidence of recurrence and consistency of the abuse.”

While this investigation might take a while, it’s worth the wait to have that peace of mind knowing that your children are safe.

Locating someone

Locating someone can be difficult, as you may not have a recent description of the person, let alone their address or make of car. But as long as a person has a bill in their name, “we can find them,” said Hunter.

But don’t get your hopes up just yet. “There might be cases where you might not be able to find people,” said Brian Willingham, resident of private investigation agency Diligentia Group. “There are some people who don’t want to be found, some who might be homeless, some who might have passed away, or some who might be living off the grid.”

That’s why Willingham recommends “discussing those options as to what could or could not happen” before the investigation begins. Knowing what to expect makes the process easier while you’re waiting to get the truth.

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Danny Boice
Danny Boice

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