Project Description

Missing Persons Discreetly Traced and Found

Reliable service provided by experienced international investigators

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Finding Missing Persons Since 1977

Research Associates was first established in August 1977 as a specialist detective agency for the location of missing persons, and has since evolved into an approachable, highly professional and multi-faceted intelligence and investigation organisation with a reputation for delivering unparalleled results for its clients. Finding missing persons is an exacting art, requiring extensive knowledge of open-source intelligence, fieldwork, legal acquisition of private information, and other more traditional tracing techniques. We are adept at finding people in a lawful, confidential, sensitive and cost-effective manner.

With over 40 years of experience serving private citizens, company executives, entrepreneurs, and business and public sector organisations, Research Associates has a unique wealth of industry knowledge and experience and provides an unrivalled degree of customer service.

Common Missing Persons Investigations:

  • Missing or lost family members and long-lost friends
  • Former partners to re-establish contact
  • Adopted or fostered children’s birth parents or siblings
  • Family members given up for adoption at birth
  • Parents in arrears with child maintenance
  • Seriously ill or dead people who have ‘disappeared’
  • Beneficiaries of a will, inheritance, gift or prize
  • Debtors, including people who may be actively avoiding being located (see Debtor Tracing)
  • Persons required for legal purposes (see Process Serving)

How we operate

Research Associates offers a specialised service locating the current confirmed whereabouts of missing persons throughout the UK and internationally. Furthermore, where required, we supply valuable background information (including place of employment, telephone numbers, email addresses or other contact details, and specific intelligence relating to the instruction provided) contained in a written legal report.

We avoid basing research solely on databases or any other sole source of information (which may not be current), preferring to fully substantiate our findings before reporting. We routinely find partners, children, relatives, family, friends, as well as debtors (if you are specifically tracing a debtor, please see our Debtor Tracing page, as there are further resources we may access that we may not have the right to use under other circumstances).

When looking to find people who are missing or that you have lost touch with, family, friends, or a debtor who owes money, Research Associates offers a comprehensive and successful trace/locate service for the tracing of missing people within the UK, Europe and internationally. Our highly experienced private investigators successfully find people with minimal information, often under challenging circumstances; we are happy to assist in the more complex cases where other investigators may be unable or unwilling to help.

Research Associates’ network of wide-ranging resources allows us the best possible chance of finding a missing person or persons who are actively avoiding being traced.

How long does it take? What does it cost?

Research Associates conducts missing persons investigations on a strictly confidential basis. The depth of service and cost will reflect individual requirements, which depend on the situation and possible location of the subject. We assure confidentiality at all times; the subject remains unaware of our enquiries, which we conduct with absolute sensitivity and discretion at all times. As with all cases, Research Associates ensures we keep clients apprised of the progress of their case and consult them on any crucial decision.

The cost of finding people essentially depends on the available information about the person’s circumstances and, therefore, the complexity of the investigation and searches required to locate a person. Our service ensures we find the most linear, straightforward approach to finding a person. This is accomplished by asking the right questions before starting enquiries. Having up-to-date background facts reduces the cost of the investigation in comparison to the more complex requirements of locating people whose whole identity is unknown, tracing birth parents or tracing people internationally.

What next?

Since each investigation is unique, we strongly recommend you call us directly to talk through your situation with one of our experienced detectives, who know the right questions to ask to better understand your investigation requirements and how we can help. The more detail you can give of the person to be located, the better, as this will allow for a more time- and cost-effective investigation. A quick call will also enable you to understand how we work and will allow us to give a clear plan of action, costs and timeframe.

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Before instructing us, it is imperative that we get to talk through the nuances of your situation. Please use the form below to arrange a convenient time to communicate.

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Frequently Asked Questions

A competent investigator will not rely only on database tools but will have a spectrum of trusted legal contacts and access to privileged index registries, libraries and archives. Some more established agencies have proprietary ‘open-source intelligence’ software which crawls and analyses websites both on the indexed web (found on Google etc) but also the wider ‘deep web’ and its subset referred to as the dark web. There are also databases that synthesise information gathered from other databases. The main quality to look for in an investigator locating people is a deep understanding of the investigation techniques that need to be utilised in order to locate a specific person.

The simple answer is yes. Social media and to a degree some paid-for online databases are obvious ways of locating people, however, when put into the hands of an experienced investigator these valuable tools are a minute fraction of what is available through experience, study and real-time investigation. These tools include specialist proprietary software that reads the whole (deep) web, privileged databases not typically available to the public, and of course, trusted contacts built up over time.

Anybody can be found given the right resources and focus. There are different techniques that are used to locate people who have gone missing over time. What needs to be appreciated is that people do not disappear – they continue to go about their lives and establish new routines, typically based on old habits. Even when people change their name or hide their identity on the internet or by other electronic means, they exist and everyone needs both income, shelter, clothing and sustenance. They also have some semblance of continuity in their lives, much of which stems from their own unique history. Obviously, the more that is known regarding a person the easier it is for a professional investigator to identify helpful indicators that assist in finding an address and other contact details for a person.

Having exhausted your own searches online and with friends, it may be wise to engage with a professional investigator; one that is proficient in the arts associated with finding people swiftly and in a focused manner. If you are sincerely concerned for their wellbeing (in terms of mental/emotional health) or if you think they are in danger of harming others or themselves, it may be worthwhile approaching the police. However, if this is not an option or is in any way inappropriate or the police are unable or unwilling to help, it could be worthwhile speaking with an appropriate investigator.

It is important to have as many factual details as possible that can be cross-referenced in order to locate somebody. The most obvious factors that help in the investigation into somebody’s whereabouts include a full name, age/date of birth, a last known address and/or place of work, any historic contact details such as previous addresses, old phone numbers, including mobile/cell phone numbers, email addresses and social media accounts, including online pseudonyms and handles. A proficient investigator may make good use of hobbies, interests and other ways that the person has used up their time in the past, and in some cases, siblings’ and other family members’ details may be helpful. The right investigator will make good use of information you may hold about the person you are trying to locate but that you don’t appreciate is salient.

The length of time it takes to find a person depends on various factors which include the given budget, which allows several investigators within an agency to work in parallel and share information, the use of contacts or highly specialised software and databases and, where appropriate, the need to use human resources in the field. The answer to how long it takes is dependent on the specifics of the person that is missing. When you use an experienced investigator, they will ask you the relevant questions based on your particular situation and are typically able to give you a good idea of timing. Most local cases can be tied up within a week.

An experienced and competent investigator will have the resource, education and have processes in place that ensure that people are able to be located legally without their knowledge. As long as someone has a legitimate reason to locate another person, the process can be undertaken confidentially. So it is entirely possible to locate somebody and confirm their residence beyond doubt without the person knowing.

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