20 Unexpected And Sometimes Shocking Discoveries People Made After Hiring A Private Investigator, As Shared In This Online Group
Private investigators are often romanticized in books and television. When I think of one, I think of a mysterious figure wearing a beige or tan coat and smoking a pipe. Sometimes, one would bump into a pack of goons and an action-packed shoot-out would commence.
However, the reality is disappointing. Investigators don’t just randomly stumble upon random pieces of information conveniently placed on their path. Most of the investigator’s work entails mostly some stalking and surveillance.
In a Reddit thread by the user Edgeworth, people poured in their stories with a private investigator. These people tried to look for something or someone, or to test their partner’s fidelity. The results are just as good as a mystery novel!
Are you interested in more PI stories? Check out our previous article here.
More info: Reddit
#1 Parents Pay $40k To Find Out Their Daughter Is A Full-Time Ski Bum
I was a private investigator for a little bit. Most work PIs do is searching financial/court records and serving documents. But one time I was paid by wealthy parents to stake out their college senior who had stopped returning their calls. They were worried about her. These parents paid like $40k for round the clock monitoring just to find out their daughter dropped out of school and was a full time ski bum.
Btw stakeouts are mostly just sitting in your car reading all day
Image source: KenComesInABox, Matt Janicki
#2 PI Helps To Find Person’s Homeless Mom
Hadn’t heard from my mom since I was about 15 (very unstable due to drugs n alcohol etc) … When I was 29 I decided it was time to find out what happened to her. I figured if she was a Jane Doe somewhere then I could put her to rest, and if she was alive then I wanted to let her know that I forgave her. Hired a PI to help… I guess she was moved by my story and so she also ran info for the man my mother was apparently married to (on the house) … And with one clue from his report I was able to track them down. I wouldn’t have found my mom (alive and was just starting out on recovery after being homeless and addicted for many many years) if it wasn’t for the PI who kindly ran an extra report for free. (Mom has remained sober now for about 7 years and is probably the healthiest she’s ever been, physically and emotionally).
Image source: crayzcheshire, Kevin Dooley
#3 The PI Used To Annoy Her Employer’s Former Family
A PI tried to contact me about my father a few years ago. She was extremely rude and pushy, and intimidated my sweet mother by showing her a pistol she wore on her waistband. She called me once, yelling at me about why I was hiding from her, calling me my father’s name. Took her 5 minutes to stop talking long enough for me to explain who I was. Warned her that if she ever threatened my mother again, I was just as armed and I’d call an actual police officer to calm her a*s down. She never bothered us again.
Image source: HeartAche93, marcusrg – Hello, nice to meet you!
#4 Woman’s “Boyfriend” Turns Out To Be A Crook
My grandmothers first “boyfriend” after my grandfather died said he was a retired cop and a veteran. They enjoyed dancing to country music together, and bought a new car, in her name though, even though she can’t drive anymore.
My uncles hired a PI. Turns out, that old bastard had a habit of shacking up with widows and bleeding them dry. (The boyfriend not the PI).
Image source: SimonSaysx, Jamie
#5 Private Detectives Spend Most Of Their Time Investigating Insurance Scams
I had a girlfriend that worked for one for a while. She said that the majority of their work was insurance scams. She took a lot of pictures of guys who said they were hurt on the job playing golf and surfing and such.
Image source: catfarts99, Tim Lenz
#6 Hired Detective Proved That Man’s Wife Cheats On Him
Not the person who hired them but my father hired one and found out my mom cheated on him while they were married. My father still has the evidence in his house.
Edit 1: clarification. The only reason I know is because my dad told me and showed me the DVD trying to make me watch it to hate my mom.
Image source: MalonePostponed, Jason Witwicker
#7 The Woman’s Newfound Sibling Was Actually Herself
My sister (mid 30s) is adopted and hired one to find her estranged biological father.
They came back saying that not only was he still alive and nearby, but he had a daughter. Meaning she also had a biological sibling!
Further digging from the PI uncovered that they weren’t just similar ages either, they were exactly the same age. The evidence suggested that my sister had a twin and her birth father had taken the twin and vanished.
Huge, life-changing news.
Eventually, through more incredible detective work, the PI realised that the daughter was actually just my sister. There was no other sibling and they had just been investigating my sister the whole time accidentally. Needless to say, we asked for the money back.
TL;DR: Sister hired a private investigator, private investigator accidentally investigated sister.
Image source: grzzlybr, Nathan
#8 PI Helps To Find Out That Teachers Ignored A Special-Needs Kid At School
Not mine specifically, but my mother hired one to spy on the school. See, my little brother is dyslexic and has severe social anxiety, and so was struggling a lot in a public school setting. He had an IEP, which the teachers and principal were insisting was being followed. But everyday my brother would come home in tears shaking because he felt abandoned and stupid.
So mom hired the investigator, and sure enough the teachers were basically just ignoring my brother. They’d sit him in the back of the room and demand he do his work, then wouldn’t help him through it. Then they’d yell at him because he didn’t do it (again, he couldn’t write because of the dyslexia).
With all the evidence, my mom was able to arrange a meeting with the school board and threatened to sue. They agreed to pay his tuition for a private school that was supposed to help. It didn’t, and mom ended up just pulling him out and homeschooling him. He’s been doing a lot better.
Image source: Cyynric, Elizabeth Albert
#9 Woman Tries To Find Her Daughter Kidnapped By Her Ex, Later Becomes The Detective
My mom’s best friend. She divorced her husband and was awarded full custody of their daughter. His family was a s**t-show.
He kidnapped his daughter, and he and his parents just disappeared. (This was easier in 1977 than it is now.)
She tried hiring a PI, but couldn’t afford one.
So she started learning how to trace people on her own. In the days before the Internet.
She spent years doing this whenever she wasn’t waitressing.
She did find her daughter in ”81, but by this time her daughter was poisoned against her.
Mom’s friend went on to get her PI license, and was a PI specializing in woman’s issues for the next two decades.
I dont know what happened to her after that. If she’s alive, she would be in her ’80s I think.
Thank you for the upvotes everyone. There’s a couple of common questions that people are asking about this.
1. Did mom and daughter reconcile? I asked my mother about that. She lost contact with her friend when mom left Texas over 20 years ago. The last she knew, no. They never reconciled. They communicated. That’s it.
2. What about the police? As I explained to another comment, it was different in the 70’s. Unlike now, it was easy to assume a new identity, and easy to “get lost”. It was hard to find people who didn’t want to be found. The most popular method of assuming a new identity became a plot point in the 1986 movie “Highlander”.
– Police usually considered kidnapping by a spouse to be a “civil manner” to be handled by the courts. It was low priority for the police.
– Amber alerts weren’t a thing until 1996. Before that were just milk cartons with pictures of kids on them.
Amber alerts started in 1996. Before that, there were several other ways to highlight missing kids. Adam Walsh was famous. Kids appeared on television – often after the show “America’s Most Wanted”.
Image source: calladus, Dmytrok
#10 BF Wrongly Accused His Fiancee Of Cheating
I was the recipient of a PI. I came home from work one day and my bf asked to have my engagement ring as he wanted to take it to be professionally cleaned. The second he handed it over he accused me of cheating on him. The conversation went back and forth for ages. I was beside myself, I couldn’t believe what he was saying and he would not believe I was innocent.
He then told me he’d had me followed for six weeks by a PI who had seen me get into a red mini. It was a girl I knew giving me a lift to work but he would not believe me. I knew then it was over and packed my things and left. I told him to get in touch with the PI and have another look at this so called evidence that I was cheating. An hour later he turns up at where I was staying begging to have me back. He’d realised his mistake. There was no way I was going to get back with someone who would behave that way though so we parted ways.
Image source: Blondeinsideandout, nakhon100
#11 Couple Hires PI To Expose The Thieving Babysitter
Had a babysitter we thought was stealing from us, luckily our neighbor was a PI couple and they ran a background check for $10. Babysitter had a string of DUIs and a few days before a large fine was due, my camera disappeared. He also stole money from my kids piggy banks.
He sort of disappeared but was also really into Instagram so I surreptitiously followed him. He started babysitting again for a single mom (easy target) and posted a lot of ‘fun’ pics with this family. I tracked down the mom and sent her a long email detailing out his whole scam. She said we were right and it was clear he’d been stealing from her business.
He has since gone underground but I still Google him regularly to see what he’s up to. He’s been able to avoid arrests for a while now.
Image source: dewayneestes, Toro
#12 Investigator Says The Main Job Is Searching For Long-Lost Relatives
One of my jobs is to search for long lost relatives (usually several generations ago). Typically, the case is about old plots of land where I should track down owners (or their heirs) to update the land registry because a state wants to build there something.
Let me tell you, the amount of information you can find on Google and in public records is astounding if you know where to look.
Image source: Der_genealogist, Elvert Barnes
#13 Detective Helps To Find A Stolen Car But The Owner Can’t Get It Back
Back in the 90s my dad had a friend who owned a Renault clio williams and one day someone stole his car (the car was located in Athens). So after reporting the event to the police he really wanted to get his car back (because it was expensive) and he hired a private investigator to find his car. After like a week he received a call from the investigator telling him that his car was located at a junkyard outside of Thessaloniki. So he went at Thessaloniki and found his car, so he rushed inside a police station to inform them that his car is located at X location. Believe it or not the officer told him not to mess with the owner of the junkyard (this junkyard was known for stealing cars etc) and hope he will get his money back from insurance.
Edit: sorry for any mistakes I am not a native speaker
Image source: a12345ks1, crash71100
#14 It Turned Out That The Allegedly Unfaithful Husband Was Actually Secretly Renovating A New House For His Wife
Not me, but a friend hired one because he was suspicious his stepdad was being unfaithful to his mom. So, he asked me, and I put him in contact with a guy I knew.
Bit of a backstory, the stepdad is 5’10”, 160ish pounds. My friend is 6’2” 235 pounds, ripped. At 15, when my friend’s mom and stepdad started dating, my friend gave the the typical “you hurt her, you’re dead” speech. Also his bio dad walked out on him and his sister when my friend was like 4. It took a while, but my friend warmed up to the guy and he’s a good guy (took my friend and I to an 49ers game once which was pretty cool).
Anyways, the PI said he wasn’t cheating. Apparently there was a house on the market that my friend’s mom wanted, and he bought it. He had been remodeling it for some time and he kept it a secret. As a 5-year anniversary gift to her, he bought it. Anyways, they live in a five-bed house now.
Image source: Dchung0217, denisbin
#15 Family Hired A PI To Do Some Covert Geneology
My boyfriend’s family hired a PI to do some covert geneology, because they’re white but all have thick wiry hair that only black hairdressers can handle. And because there are things older folks in these parts Just Don’t Talk About.
Turns out there’s a fair amount of Lumbee Indian (a community founded by disenfranchised Native Americans and escaped slaves back in the day) in boyfriend’s family, which explains the hair.
Image source: Tiny_Parfait, Herrick District Library
#16 Private Detective Finds Out That The Businessman’s Brother Was Stealing From Him
My dad hired a PI in the mid 90s in Eastern Europe to find out if one of his business partners was stealing from him. Instead he found out his own brother was stealing from him. He refused to believ the PI and his brother robbed him blind. Took a huuuuuge amount of money and left him with gigantic debt. He still forgave him.
#17 Private Detectives Found Out Almost All The Information About A Potential Employee
I had one hired against me, and they found out everything. Tattoos that aren’t visible normally, the address I lived at in a different country, medical records from an accident that happened 6 years prior, so many random things that aren’t publicly available.
Image source: heyjoooo, Elvert Barnes
#18 Woman’s Dad Leaves Family And Dies In Jail
My mother’s dad walked out on mom, my aunt, and my grandmother when mom was just 5. A few years later, my grandmother died of a grand mal seizure. Mom was taken in by her grandparents, but she always wondered why her dad left and what became of him. In her 40’s, she saved up a bit and hired a PI to track him down. Turns out he moved over time from Pittsburg to California where he wound up in prison for armed robbery and so e other violent crimes. He died in San Quentin penitentiary.
I think mom got a lot of closure out of that. She was able to see that life would have most likely been even worse had he stayed. At least living with her grandparents, she was loved and raised to fulfill her potential.
Image source: antisocialoctopus, Alexander C. Kafka
#19 Man Hires PI To Find The Guy Who Used To Bully Him At School
In his twenties, my SO hired a PI to find out what had become of the childhood bully who had made his life hell, and who had vowed to kill him. Actually, he *did* try by bringing a loaded gun to school, but some other kid ratted him out & the bully got expelled—but still lived in the neighborhood for a few more years & beat up my SO every chance he got.
The PI found the bully living in a town more than an hour outside the big city, in a dead-end job. He’d been arrested for assault and public drunkenness a couple times.
That info helped my SO get past his fear that the guy would find him some day & make good on his threat.
#20 According To A Private Detective, Many Suspicions Of Infidelity Are Actually Justified
I’m a private investigator and I’ll tell you that a lot of people are right. Your spouse is cheating on you
Image source: ableseacat14, Joe Le Merou
Got wisdom to pour?