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  • When Investigative Agencies are Family Businesses

    September 6, 2016 | Susan Lajoie

    The search for a missing family member – who was also a fugitive from the law – proved to be one of the toughest cases for another family-run agency, Lajoie and Associates of West Boylston, Massachusetts. John Lajoie, CLI, CCDI, founded the agency in 1983. He and his wife, Susan, who came from the field of medical technology, are both licensed in Massachusetts. Their three children have also worked for them doing surveillance, field work or research.

    A few years ago a client hired Lajoie to find a long lost brother who had deserted from the US Army 33 years earlier. The complicated investigation lasted nine months and cost more than $75,000. They started with basic identifying details and a very old photograph of the missing man.

    When they were stumped, John recalled, “Susan suggested that we have the old photo ‘aged’ by an expert to see what the man might look like as he grew older.”

    Then, with field work aided by colleagues from the National Association of Legal Investigators, (NALI) the team identified ten different aliases and old addresses from a dozen different states. Finally, the search was narrowed to a hotel in Florida where their subject had lived in recent years.

    The hotel had been sold. A previous owner recognized the photo as that of a man who had left belongings at the hotel — including the false ID he was using at the time — when he was arrested for a chain of bank robberies. That ID was “a perfect match” for the aged photo of the client’s missing brother. Further investigation showed that he had a long criminal history and was doing time in yet another state for bank robbery. None of his convictions was in his real name.

    “The subject is now out of prison and enjoying his time where he belongs, with his family,” John said.

    Jimmie Mesis, Editor-In-Chief, www.pimagazine.com
    Professional Investigator Magazine, September/October 2016