With a constant stream of personal content on social media, it’s easy to find what’s going on with somebody even if you don’t remember them. Everyone’s connected somehow! But some connections are thin and hard to find. So, private investigators work their magic and track these untraceable people. These are the emotional finding family, betrayal, and fake life stories investigators have uncovered for real people.
1. Where’d Daddy Go
My mom was just five when her dad walked out on her, her sister, and their mother. A few years later, they lost my grandmother after she had a seizure. My mom went to live with her grandparents but always wondered why her dad left and what happened to him. So, in her 40s, she’d saved up enough to hire a PI to find him.
The PI found out that her father had moved from Pittsburgh to California and ended his life in prison. He had committed various offenses after he’d left his family. My mom got closure from knowing that. She realized him leaving had actually been better for her. Without her father, she grew up being loved and cared for.
2. Maternal Determination
I hadn’t heard from my mom since I was a teenager due to her instability and issues with substance misuse. I decided when I was 29 that it was time to find out what had happened to her. I thought that if she was a Jane Doe somewhere I could put her to rest. But if she wasn’t, I wanted her to know that I forgave her. So, I hired a PI to help.
Apparently, my story moved her, so she also looked up the man who my mother married. With one clue from his report, I was able to track them down. When I found her, I burst into tears. My mom was alive and just starting her recovery from addiction. She had been homeless for years because of it and hadn’t had many options to help her get better.
If my PI hadn’t run that one report for me for free, I wouldn’t have been able to find her. My mom is now seven years sober and probably at her healthiest both physically and emotionally.
3. Bigger Than You
In his 20s, my significant other hired a PI to find out what had become of the childhood tormentor who had terrorized him then even vowed to end his life. He actually did try to carry out this threat by bringing a loaded gun to school. But fortunately, some other kids ratted him out, and the school expelled him.
But he still lived in the same neighborhood for a few more years and beat up my significant other every chance he could get. The PI found him living an hour from the city working an average job. He had a record for public intoxication and got into fights regularly. This helped my significant other to get over his fear.
4. Taking Candy From A Baby
I suspected my babysitter of taking money and valuables. Luckily, a couple who were private investigators lived close by. They ran a background check for ten dollars; My babysitter had several driving tickets. A few days before one of his fines was due, my camera had disappeared. He even took money from my kids’ piggy banks!
I eventually lost contact with him, but he was really into Instagram. So, I followed him. He had started babysitting again and posted lots of fun pictures with the family. But this time for a single mom who seemed like an easy target. I found the mom’s contact information and sent a long, detailed email about his scam.
After getting my email, she looked into it and realized that he had been siphoning money from her business. He has since deleted his social media, but I still look him up online from time to time. He hasn’t been caught with anything for a while now.
5. Bros Being Bros
My friend was hired to keep an eye on a woman’s husband who she thought was cheating on her. The husband had a trip planned to the Caribbean with a bunch of his friends, and his wife authorized the PI to follow them there. Rather than nonchalantly observing, the PI befriended the group and partied with them. The husband wasn’t cheating. He just liked his friends.
6. Use What You Got
For our wedding, I wanted to invite my husband’s friends. Except my husband didn’t keep in touch with any of his college roommates and he wasn’t on social media. All he knew were their names. So, I looked on social media and found three out of the four. The other roommates had not kept in contact with the last one either.
My husband knew his name, which was common, and the closest city where he thought he lived. I paid $25 to get a background check on him and got his mom’s name. I found her on social media and went through her friends list. I found this one woman who shared the same last name as the last roommate. I wrote her a message.
I asked her if she was related to the roommate who I was looking for. She responded and told me she was his sister! She gave me his address, and he came to the wedding.
7. Going Swimmingly
I used to work for a PI firm that specializes in insurance cases. My job was to handle the surveillance and background reports for our clients. The number of people who claim to be suffering but also regularly posted photos and videos of themselves doing things like running marathons or building decks always amazed me.
Over half of the cases that I’d handled over two years were flagged because of social media posts. There was a case where the investigator watched the claimant loading his car for a beach day with his family. He followed the car but eventually lost it. Being too far to drive back, the investigator checked into a motel.
The next morning, he checked his phone and saw on Facebook that the claimant “checked in” at a water park. So, he made a pit stop to grab some swim trunks and a towel, drove to the waterpark, and recorded hours and hours of covert footage of the guy doing a lot that would be impossible to do with a serious spine injury.
8. Absent Father
My good friend was raised only by her mom growing up. She always told her that her father had walked out on them when she was a baby and that he had never wanted anything to do with her. My friend took it really hard and struggled through her whole childhood believing that. She hired a private investigator to find him.
Well, they did, and it turned out what her mother told her was a lie. Her dad is actually one of the sweetest and soft-hearted guys I’ve ever met. He left because my friend’s mom forced him out when he uncovered her infidelity. He probably wasn’t actually her dad because her mom cheated on him while they were together.
It didn’t matter though. He loved her as his own and had avoided contact because her mom convinced him that he had no parental rights. Even worse, she threatened to accuse him of terrible things when my friend was a baby if he did try to reach out. Thankfully, my friend is an adult and had moved out of her mom’s house.
Now, she can have the relationship with her dad that she had always wanted. It just sucks that she had to wait years and go through all of the trouble of hiring an investigator to get it.
9. Teach You A Lesson
My younger brother is dyslexic and has severe social anxiety. He was struggling a lot in a public school setting. The teachers and principal insisted they were following his education plan, but every day, my brother would come home shaking in tears feeling abandoned and dumb. So, my mom decided to hire an investigator. What they found was chilling.
Sure enough, the teachers were just ignoring my brother. They sat him in the back and told him to do his work. Then they wouldn’t go through it with him. They yelled at him again when he could not do it because of his dyslexia…that they knew about! With all the evidence, my mom arranged a meeting with the school board.
She threatened to sue them. So, 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.
10. A Turn Of Events
My friend hired a PI after suspecting his stepdad of being unfaithful to his mom. My friend is 6’2” tall and 235 pounds; his stepdad is 5’10” tall and about 160. My friend gave the typical “if you hurt her, you’ll regret it” speech at 15 when his stepdad and mom started their relationship. The PI found out that he wasn’t cheating—but instead, he found something else.
There was a house on the market that my friend’s mom wanted. He bought it and had been remodeling it for some time in secret. As a fifth anniversary gift, he surprised her with the newly finished five-bedroom house.
11. Back To Their Roots
My boyfriend’s family hired a PI to do some covert genealogy because they’re white but have thick wiry hair that only black hairdressers can handle. It was also because there are things older folks in these parts just don’t talk about. They discovered they were descendants of the Lumbee Indians who were a group of disenfranchised Native Americans and escaped friends.
12. Cleaning House
I came home from work one day, and my fiancé asked me for my engagement ring to have it professionally cleaned. The second I gave it to him, he accused me of cheating on him. The conversation went back and forth for a long time. I was beside myself; I couldn’t believe what he was saying and he wouldn’t change his mind.
He then told me he’d had a PI follow me for six weeks who had seen me get into a red car. It was someone who drove me 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 the so-called “evidence” that I was cheating.
An hour later, he turned up where I was staying begging to have me back. He’d realized his mistake. There was no way I was going to get back with someone who would behave that way so we parted ways.
13. Know Your Mark
I worked at an insurance company that dealt with injury claims. More often than not, the investigator would find nothing or give us video showing that the claimant was indeed injured. Some people exaggerate their injuries, but they’re in the minority. It sadly places unfair suspicion on the legitimately injured people.
In one case, the insurer collected hours of video of them following a young, physically fit guy while he worked outside on a home renovation that involved a lot of heavy lifting and carrying things up and down ladders. All that despite a reported back injury. The insurance adjuster was quick to bring the case to court.
Lo and behold, I looked at the video, checked the age of the claimant in the file, and thought to myself, “This guy looks awfully young for someone in his 50s.” That’s when I figured it out. Ten minutes of looking through social media showed me that the PI had been following the claimant’s 25-year-old son for two weeks.
14. Looking For A Second Opinion
I hired a PI to get a third-party source to confirm my ex was cheating as this was a serious issue. My ex had claimed it was only an “emotional” affair. The guy called me into his office after two days and confirmed my suspicions that the relationship was physical and that it had been going on for longer than she told me.
Day after that, he called to say, “Yeah, there’s another guy that she is still talking to.” I confronted my ex at our third marriage counseling session and just walked out. To get this information, I handed over my phone records, let him have my laptop for a day, and made a list of everybody we knew with phone numbers.
He also searched her car for about an hour. He found a receipt for condoms and a pregnancy test that was several months old. We didn’t use condoms, and I had a vasectomy. It was the best money I have ever spent.
15. Adult Expectations
My parents hired a PI when I was 14 and met another “teen” online. They knew if they forbid me to talk to him, I’d just rebel big time. The investigator did his thing, and my parents sat me down. They said that I was actually speaking to a 40-year-old man who had been grooming me and was trying to lure me to his state.
16. Officially Disappointed
I was once scammed out of $50 000 for a business that I wanted to purchase. The scammer used a fake name, a burner phone, and fake documents. My bank did nothing even with all the proof. A few officers said that it was out of their jurisdiction and couldn’t do anything either. So, I emailed my state’s attorney general.
He told me that he also couldn’t do anything because it most likely happened over state lines meaning I would have to contact the US Attorney General. So, I did. I spoke to an assistant who said that I needed to contact the FBI but would probably never get my money back. The FBI said that I had to file the case online.
They also said that nothing would probably come out of it. So I came up with a plan of my own. Out of official contacts, I went online and found seven other people who were scammed by the same person. One even had audio recordings of their phone calls. The total amount was over $300,000. So, I hired an attorney to help me out with an official court case.
He said to hire a PI to find the scammer. Within 48 hours, they found out his identity and provided me with phone numbers, addresses, and business names. I shared the information with my attorney and all the others. I learned online that the scammer had already gone to prison for 20 years for running the same scam.
He and 11 others people scammed victims out of $6M in two years. The leader was also charged with setting fires six times. My attorney contacted the scammer’s attorney. Now, I, as well as the other seven victims, will be getting all our money back.
17. Lost Connection
My husband and his mom hired a PI to find who her biological parents were. She’d always known she was adopted when she was six months old and that her biological mother was a single woman who couldn’t take care of her. But that’s all she knew. The PI found her mother and found out that she was the product of an affair.
Her biological father was a wealthy businessman in 1942 in a small town in Arkansas, and her mother was his secretary. He was married so it couldn’t get out that his secretary was pregnant because people in town would gossip. So, he sent her to a home for unwed mothers to have the baby and then put her up for adoption.
My mother-in-law called her biological mother and introduced herself. Her mother was hesitant to meet her but eventually agreed to it. She learned that she has two brothers and a sister with several nieces and nephews. They kept in touch for a bit but cut ties since my mother-in-law and her brother are terrible people.
That means my husband doesn’t get to know his new aunts, uncles, and cousins because of his messed-up mother and uncle.
18. More Out There
My aunt broke ties completely with our family about 28 years ago and took her husband and two boys with her. I tried looking for one of my cousins off and on for a decade but to no avail. Finally, I hired a PI, and within a month, the investigator found him. I learned my cousin had fallen out with his immediate family.
He still had a relationship with them, but it was very strained. He also changed his name which was why I was having so much trouble finding him. Once I knew his name, I found him and his wife on Facebook. It must have seemed completely bizarre and out of the blue to them, but I had enough information to convince them.
I also let them know that there was more family out there. My aunt had apparently never told them that we existed, and there’s a lot of us. The best part was that my cousin and his wife are lovely people and lived 25 minutes from where my partner and I were moving to. They ended up celebrating Thanksgiving with us all.
19. Sorry To See You Go
My general manager was looking into where the secretary was going at all hours of the workday without any repercussions. She got away with one and a half hour days, “working from home,” a huge office where she never was, an executive parking space, countless sick days signed off by the president, and undeserved raises.
She was not good at her job, so all of her responsibilities became someone else’s. So, my manager hired a private investigator to look into her. She always left early on Fridays and immediately to a hotel. Either she liked to meet a lot of men for short amounts of time or she had a second job after her regular workday. But that’s not even the most shocking thing he found.
The PI also found out that she was sleeping with the owner of the company. Well, the vice president of the company confronted the president, who admitted to the whole thing. They “fired” her and gave her 18 months of severance and had a goodbye party! In the next staff meeting, the president told us to do and be better.
This was with no context of anything that was happening so everyone looked very confused. But the secretary made out well enough.
20. Worst Case Scenario
I grew up in a close-knit community years ago. My mom’s best friend suspected her husband of cheating and hired a PI. After a week, the PI discovered that he was cheating…with my dad. My father was always denouncing “unnatural relationships,” so it was just delightful watching him squirm until he admitted the affair.
21. Back End Issues
My most exciting case as a licensed PI was following a woman who claimed to have a back injury. She was taking down a campsite, and I propped my camera on the tripod and sat there looking inconspicuous. It was going to be a slam dunk—but I never could’ve predicted what happened next. A car drove up to their campsite and fired off six rounds.
I didn’t catch it on camera because he missed. Because the video was taken into evidence, it took two and half years for the insurance company to start their case with the woman.
22. Not Over You
I had broken up with my crazy ex-girlfriend for the second time and started noticing a guy following me everywhere I went. Thinking nothing of it, I just brushed him off as a neighbor. Then one time, I was sitting outside a restaurant with my dog when the guy approached me. He came and told me that my ex had hired him.
He told me he thought that she was bananas crazy. She’d threatened to fire him constantly for not producing any evidence of me with any another woman. He also said that he was ending the assignment and wanted to let me know what she was doing. Then, he told me that I was really boring. Ha. I know, man. But the story didn’t end there.
Then two weeks later, I was at the same restaurant. A gorgeous woman walking by stopped to pet my dog. Immediately, she started flirting with me. It was like she went from 0-100 in the blink of an eye. I knew something was off so asked if my ex hired her. Her face changed just as fast, and she said, “that’s officially the fastest anyone has blown my cover.” I was right.
My ex hired her to start a relationship with me. She wanted her to find out what was going on with me and if I was with anyone else. My ex eventually got tired of tracking me, but it was pretty messed up.
23. A Bit Of Extra Time
My mother had a feeling my stepfather was cheating on her. I was off college for the summer and offered to stake him out. Every morning he’d leave for work at 8 but had suddenly been leaving at 7 with no explanation. So early one morning, I parked my car down the street, brought my camera with zoom lenses, then waited.
He left at 7 on the dot, but instead of heading toward the city, he turned the other way. I followed him at a distance hoping he wouldn’t notice my orange car. He drove for two miles into a suburb and parked outside one of the houses. So, I parked and got out holding my camera covering it with the bottom of my T-shirt.
I strolled across the street, and after about 15 minutes, he came out of the house. He was waiting on the steps, and I snapped a few photos. Then this woman who I had never seen before came outside. I took more pictures as they got into his car and drove away. By the time I got to my car, they’d already been long gone.
I tried to give chase, but there were too many traffic lights, and I lost them. So, the next day, I brought my friend with me. We followed him back to the woman’s house and this time parked behind his car about five houses down. As soon as they came out and got in the car, we were ready and tailed them. It wasn’t easy.
I didn’t want to be right behind them, but so many cars kept cutting in that I was getting further and further away. Then it was the red lights. I ran a couple of late yellows and even some reds when I was sure no traffic was coming from either direction. We were almost downtown even though he worked south of the city.
So, I didn’t know where he would go. My friend and I struggled to keep our eyes on them. Luckily, they turned into a parking lot and parked. I parked across the street in a no-parking zone taking my chances with a meter maid. We went into the big parking lot and as close as possible to his car without them noticing us.
We saw them just sitting and talking as we got closer. Then they started to kiss! It was a total make-out session. I got my camera out and took dozens of photos of them sucking face. After they finished, she got out, and they both headed to work. My mom’s lawyer thanked me for the photos, which he said were a gold mine!
24. I Just Live Here
My mom rented to a tenant who kept giving her checks that bounced and fake wire transfer information. She found out that he was not the “famous” author whose name he went by. Instead, he was wanted in two states for bad cheques and owing child support. He got by in life by scamming women romantically and ripping off landlords.
25. Taking A Hit
When I used to teach martial arts, two serious-looking people in suits came into the club to speak to my boss. They told him that two of his students, a married couple in their late 40s, were claiming disability benefits. After a workplace accident years before, one often needed a wheelchair while the other had a cane.
The couple had won awards at an interclub tournament and had been mentioned in a local newspaper. Their benefits liaison saw the snippet and arranged for a PI to do some digging. The PI found much more information than he had expected. He wanted my boss to sign a testimony detailing how long they had been his students.
26. Improper Investigation
My sister is in her mid-30s and adopted. So, she hired a PI to find her estranged biological father. The investigator reported back that not only was he still alive and nearby but had a daughter. That meant that she also had a biological sister. More digging showed that she and her sister shared the very same birthday.
It seemed that meant that my sister had a twin, and her birth father vanished with her. It was big, life-changing news for my sister. But the investigator came back and told her that her sister was really just her. There was no other sister. He’d been investigating my sister the whole time. We asked for our money back.
27. Down The Bunny Hill
When I was a private investigator, I was paid to follow a wealthy couple’s daughter who was a senior in college and stopped returning their calls. They were worried about her. So, they paid me almost $40 thousand for around-the-clock monitoring just to find out that their daughter dropped out to be a full-time ski bum.
28. Mother’s Intuition
When my mom’s best friend divorced her husband, she had full custody of their daughter. But her husband’s family was crazy. One day in 1977, he took his daughter and disappeared with his parents. She tried hiring a PI to find them but couldn’t afford one. So, she took matters into her own hands. She started to teach herself how to trace people on her own.
Whenever she wasn’t waitressing, she was following leads to find her daughter. Then in ’81, she found her. When she’d gone to meet her, so much time had passed that her daughter had been poisoned against her. She moved on and got her PI license. She then went on to specialize in woman’s issues for the next two decades.
29. Looking Back
When my dad got my 15-year-old mom pregnant, her father forced her to put the baby up for adoption. Nobody ever mentioned it. I only found out because my dad drank himself silly and talked about what was bothering him. He never got over the loss of his oldest son, my mom who cheated on him, and losing my little sister.
When we were married, my ex-wife decided that she wanted to find my older brother. I was against looking for him since he probably didn’t know that he was adopted, and I didn’t want to ruin that. Well, she hit a roadblock when my paternal grandfather would not cooperate but got as many details as she could from my mom.
After getting my parent’s hopes up, I agreed to hire a PI. We found someone who looked like my family, a website to a small company that he founded, as well as links to his other many high-profile jobs. A college professor had adopted him and given him a good life—a life that was much better than what he would’ve had.
I gathered the report, pictures of his biological family, and some medical information and sent him a package. He never responded. But years later, I found out he was divorced around the same time, so I thought that maybe his ex-never gave him the package. So, I joined social media just to search for him and found him.
I sent a message telling him who I was, why I was contacting him, and why he had been put up for adoption. At the end, I requested that he would at the very least tell me off so I could get some kind of closure for my parents. He ended up setting his page to private, and I never heard from him. I lost my mom years ago.
But she was glad to know that he was well and successful, but she never got to meet him. My dad is much better now, but I know that it still eats away at him.
30. Empty Evidence
My brother injured his back at work due to his employer’s unsafe work practices. During the suit, my brother’s lawyer received a folder full of documents from the employer’s team. They had hired a PI to investigate and prove that he was faking his injury. Well, that investigator had apparently not been a very good one.
The photos were of me operating an ATV-mounted leafhopper. So, my brother walked into the court hearing and introduced himself. He watched the color of the opposing lawyers’ faces slowly drain as they realized he looked nothing like me.
31. Eyes Everywhere
My grandfather once hired a PI to investigate my grandmother. While spying on her from his car, another investigator he knew came up frantically to his window. He asked him, “What are you doing here!?” He responded incredulously, “What are YOU doing here?” He told him that the DEA was also investigating my grandmother.
I don’t think anything came from the investigation, but we’re all certain it was the reason the old family barn burned down.
32. Taking It Personally
I worked for a PI who was a big biker-looking guy. I called him Santa because of his white beard and hearty laugh. In my three months working with him, we had a lot of insurance cases. It was a lot of sitting in a car, reading a book, and occasionally taking photos of somebody in a cast getting in and out of their car.
But there was this case with a woman in her 30s who came to us wanting to find her birth mother. We spent a month with the usual visiting courthouses, city halls, and libraries to try and find her. It was taking longer than usual since we didn’t have the mother’s name. All she knew were her late adopted parents’ names.
There wasn’t any paperwork, and she didn’t know where it would be. Finally, I found the paperwork in a courthouse in the next county over. I had a name. I was running late so just went to drop the copies at his office. Santa stopped me when I was leaving. He’d seen from the paperwork that the birth mother was actually his wife.
His wife who’d given up a baby over 30 years before. So, he called her. She dug up her old paperwork, and sure enough, it all matched up. We called the client but didn’t get an answer. We went to pick up his wife and drove to the client’s home. She had been on the phone with her adopted sister talking about our search.
Santa and his wife immediately bear-hugged the woman who looked very confused. Both were too emotional to get any words out. So, I explained to her that the woman was her birth mother and Santa was her husband. It was a beautiful scene.
33. A Bad State
One day, we were sitting on the porch looking through old photo albums when we came across a picture of my grandmother and her older brother. Back when they were little, her grandmother and her husband took them in when they’d lost their parents. They were at the state fair when their uncle kidnapped her older brother.
Apparently, he wasn’t happy that his mother and another man were raising his nephew. A couple of years after she told us that story, my grandmother’s health started to decline. It’d been over 60 years since she’d seen her brother, and my mother and aunt hired a PI to look for him. He managed to find him down in Brazil.
Their uncle brought him there, and he’d never left. He’d even started a family. My grandmother got to reconnect with him over video calls and meet an entire part of her family she never knew about. They talked on the phone and video called regularly up until she was gone.
34. Believe It Or Not
My sister was 15 when she was kidnapped from our home. There was a note from her that said she was “leaving for a better life,” but we didn’t believe it. But because of it, she was considered a runaway, which meant that there would be no amber alert for her. My uncle knew a PI who we hired right away to find my sister.
Within the first 24 hours of her disappearance, he found a string of emails from “Stan” with a description of the car that was coming to get her. Stan was 27 but in Florida. Officers went to his house where he was alone. He’d promised my sister that they’d live an “amazing” life together and hired someone to drive her.
Stan had told the driver that my family mistreated my sister and she wasn’t safe with us. The driver bought it and was on his way back to Stan. Undercover officers tailed him waiting for him to stop for gas just in case he was armed. I got my sister back, and after years of therapy, she’s great with an awesome partner.
Stan ended up in federal prison after his trial where I testified against him. We learned that he spent almost two years coaxing my sister to trust him through an online game. That meant she was 13 and he was 25 when everything started.
35. Never Ever
My grandpa had a younger brother, John, who’d always been the black sheep of the family. My grandpa was protective of John and always defended him when friends or family gave him a hard time. John asked my grandpa one day to borrow a couple of thousand dollars, which was no small sum in the 60s, for him to buy a house.
After talking it over with my grandma, they gave him the loan. John then swiftly skipped town and never contacted them. My grandpa never talked about it after that. Then in the 80s, my mom’s cousin was curious about what happened to John and hired a PI to find him. They were living in northern British Columbia, Canada.
After a while, the PI found John in Vancouver. He’d actually been living on the streets of downtown. So, my grandmother and her sister flew to see him and try to bring him home to my grandpa who still wanted nothing to do with it. But when they met John, his reaction was chilling. My grandma said that he was absolutely livid that they found him.
He had made the streets of downtown Vancouver his home and lived with a small group of people who he treated like his family. He angrily told my grandma and her sister that he was very content with his life the way it was, to leave, and to never contact him again. So, they got back on a plane and flew home without him.
36. Daddy’s Right Here
My father likes to act like I don’t exist. He lived in another state and owed well over $20 thousand in child support. He’s in the US army but never took any of the money he’s entitled to. Because if he did, it’d alert social services and force him to owe even more money. The weird part was that his sister reached out to me.
After a while, my mom was tired of him dodging payments and hired a PI. She asked him to find out where my father lived and worked and about his family. Well, the PI found him. Instead of across the country, he was just a few blocks away with his sister. The same sister who wanted to “get lunch” with me after 15 years.
My father isn’t your typical absent dad. He’d actually tried to total his truck by driving straight into a brick wall in an attempt to get rid of my mom who was pregnant with me. Never has he or anyone in his family met me. Finding out that the same sadistic man was living so close to me made me feel unsafe for months.
Over $500 later, all we got was disappointment and uneasiness. Social services never got evidence of his residence or work.
37. Just Doublechecking
My dad was using illicit substances and in a rough spot when he broke out into a severe psychotic state. His paranoia was so bad that he’d hired a private investigator to look into my mom because he thought she was cheating on him. When that investigator came back with nothing suspicious, my dad hired another PI to investigate the first.
38. Jumping Into A Relationship
My wife’s grandfather passed years ago. Then a few years after, her grandmother met a charming gentleman in his 70s. Both widowed, they started a relationship and eventually married. My less than lovely mother-in-law and her crazy sister decided that the marriage was a terrible mistake, thinking that he was after money.
So, they hired a PI to follow him around. He found out that the gentleman was nothing special—just a widower with adult children who lived out of state. He lived in a modest apartment, but the only thing that stood out to the investigator was the upscale retirement home he visited once a week. The security was tight.
So tight that the PI wasn’t able to get through the front door. My mother-in-law and her sister ambushed the man with this information and demanded that he tell them what he was doing there. Rightfully so, he politely told them to mind their own business. What they did was absolutely brutal. First, they contacted their late father’s brother who was a lawyer.
They wanted power of attorney over their elderly mother to stop her from getting married. But the uncle, seeing that she was happy, refused. Finally, they found a lawyer who took the case but charged a lot upfront. By that point, the sisters had made such a big mess of everything that it’d made the gentleman miserable.
So much so that he felt that the relationship was not worth it and broke everything off with their mother. The sisters then decided to proceed with taking power of attorney over their elderly mother to protect her from “all the other men who wanted to scam her.” They met to see whether the case would continue to court.
My wife’s grandmother showed up with her two lawyers who crushed and destroyed her daughters’ attorney. It was quite the spectacle. They then learned that the gentleman was actually loaded—in the millions! He had been visiting his 98-year-old mother at the upscale retirement home. It was quite the exclusive place.
All kinds of important political people retired there and had butlers as well as gourmet chefs on staff. After some time, my wife’s grandmother passed miserable, broke, and fighting with her daughters. She got the last laugh leaving her house to her son who never got involved. He demolished the home then sold the land.
39. Crossing Sides
My mom hired a PI to find her biological mom. She’d wanted to find both her parents but didn’t have enough saved. But the investigator found her dad too while looking for her mother. He was living in a house that she’d passed on her cross country runs in high school and never knew it. She learned that she had siblings.
She has three older half-brothers, and I have two new cousins. Unfortunately, after she found her biological family, my mom decided to leave and live with them. My parents weren’t on the best of terms, which she saw as a sign. I haven’t seen her in almost a year, and it’s complicated my relationship with my new family.
40. Making Families
My partner and I adopted our son from an orphanage in Bulgaria in the early 90s. When we were there, we fell in love with a three-year-old girl who we wanted to adopt too. The orphanage said that they had very little information on her and no papers for adoption. So, we hired an investigator to research her background.
If he found her family, we could get them to sign the release papers. Except we found more than we bargained for. Her father was in prison for the death of the girl’s mother. She also had a grandmother who wasn’t aware of her or that she was staying at the orphanage. So, the grandmother asked for custody of the little girl.
It was approved, and she went on to live with her grandmother. We think of her often and wonder how her life turned out. She’d be in her 30s now.
41. Around The World And Back Again
My brother and I moved to the US from Japan with my dad after our parents divorced in 1969. As the years passed, we eventually lost contact with my mother after she remarried. When I retired a few years ago, I decided to look for my family in Japan. I flew there and managed to find where my grandparent’s house had been.
But it was just an empty lot. I flew back home not knowing what to do next. Two years later, I looked for private investigators online. One investigator and I exchanged emails where I shared the 50-year-old information not expecting much from it. A week later though, he found an aunt and my mother. I flew to meet them.
It had been 50 years, and I finally got to see my mother. When I was back in the US, I enrolled in a local college to start relearning Japanese at the age of 65. Then the pandemic happened, and I’m just waiting until travel restrictions are lifted.
42. Sheriff Himself
There was one guy in my men’s group at church. We were talking about how adult content affects the brain and relationships. This guy talked about his time as a sheriff and shared all of the horrific details with us. His stories were always very unsettling, but we listened. Plus, we thought that his sharing was helping him get through his past.
A few months after the study ended, this guy vanished. He left his wife, got into his car, and just disappeared. Another sheriff had joined the church, started talking to him, and spooked him. His wife hired a PI to find out why he’d suddenly left. The PI found out that his entire life story was made up—he’d never been a sheriff, in the army, or from the state he told us.
His name hadn’t even been real! He was the most convincing liar I’ve ever met. He cried when he’d tell his stories, had an infectious laugh, and was always ready to talk with a friendly smile. We had no idea.
43. Always On My Mind
My grandmother and great-grandmother had baby boys weeks apart. My grandma loved her brother like a second son. When he grew up, he got married and had a daughter. His wife, however, became an addict and left him with their daughter Bri, who was an infant at the time. One day, he went to a bar where an officer was drinking and dancing.
Wasted, he took out his piece, raised it in the air, and pulled the trigger. It immediately hit my grandmother’s brother. She sued law enforcement and was generously compensated. The money went to Bri, but a few weeks later, someone took Bri. And for years and years, my grandmother had searched for Bri. She hired a PI.
But they’d never found anything useful. They only knew that the money was gone. Over 30 years later, my grandmother learned how to use social media. First thing she did was of course search for Bri. And she found her! She came to live closer to us for a bit, but we all could tell that she didn’t feel like she belonged.
44. Watch Yourself
During a custody battle with my child’s father, he was only allowed supervised visitation with his parents being the supervisors. As the weeks went by, I was concerned about whether the supervision was actually happening, since I would run into his parents at the grocery store when they were supposed to be at the visit. So, I took matters into my own hands.
There was one incident when I sent my infant son to a five-hour visit and got him back in the same marked diaper. So, I hired a PI. Over the next few weeks, what he observed confirmed my suspicions—they weren’t supervising the visits. I was not surprised.
45. Who’s Your Daddy
After he’d passed, my great-grandfather had left some money for my mom and her sisters. They were expecting much more than they received. The will explicitly stated, “to my grandchildren,” but the lawyer could not tell them who the other grandchildren were. Well, my mom’s dad had admitted to cheating on my grandmother.
So, my mom and her half-sisters hired a private investigator to find if their father had any other children. They found out that not only did he have two sons with two different women but also that one of these women worked with my dad.
46. Physical Difficulty
I worked for a company that investigated insurance cases. One case was the usual bad back injury, which the guy said hurt so much that he could barely walk, couldn’t work, and needed 24-hour assistance for everyday life. The investigator followed him around recording him going about his day. He then gave the DVD to me.
I played the DVD and watched the man “with a back injury” walk around, bend down, twist his torso, and all sorts of “impossible” actions. If that wasn’t enough, he did one thing that shocked me. He did a backflip. He stood on a bench and did a backflip off it. We showed him the video, and he quickly withdrew his claim.
47. Job Insecurity
I worked at a small firm that provided security guards and private investigators. An electric store hired a security guard for the night shift. One night, we got a call from the guard. He told us that he’d been beaten and tied to a chair. He’d been able to escape to call officers and our office to report what happened.
The three guys managed to pry the back door open and subdue the guard. They then went on to get away with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of inventory. The guard looked pretty bad and sounded pretty shaken up. Except two days later, officers found everything that they’d taken from the store. The thieves weren’t very careful.
And it made sense why—it was an inside job! It was our brilliant security guard’s idea for the heist, and he recruited his brother and cousins to help him
48. Getting Warmer
I worked as a Skip Tracer in the early 2000s for a credit card bank. My ability to track people down put me on a task force that went after people who’d skipped out on their payments. Except these people had little to no contact information. So, it was quite the challenge. I was in my early 20s and clever with my ways.
I could do anything as long as I didn’t break any debt collection laws. Once, I found this guy who was in South America doing a religious mission. He had very, very little access to a phone. He could only use one for an hour of one day each week. And it was my job to call around to find information on how to reach him.
I finally got him on the phone, and he was so flabbergasted that I found him that he wanted to know how I did. Well, I told him that I’d called his mom who told me about his mission. Then I called a local church to “confirm” the church he went through. The church corrected me on that and the pastor who worked with him.
Then, I called that pastor. I explained to him that I had just spoken about getting a phone number with the mother who suggested him. He gave it to me then told me when the debtor was expected to be there. It took me a few tries, but I got him. He directed me to his parents who worked out a payment arrangement for him.
49. The Hardworking Husband
When I first met my wife, she seemed to have a normal modern family with two moms and two dads. Over the years, it became apparent that her stepdad was never around that much for holidays, birthdays, you name it. He’d pop in, say hi, grab a nap or whatever, then take off again. This was just normal to my wife’s family.
It was just the way it had always been since they were teenagers. He claimed to have a job following FedEx trucks around the state as security. But to me, it was strange, and I started making jokes about him having another family. Well, that got my sister-in-law thinking because she was owed a favor from the PI at her firm.
Sure enough, he had not one but three other wives around the state with five other stepchildren between them. My sister-in-law told her mother who then immediately changed the locks and filed for divorce. They haven’t spoken since. The divorce was even uncontested. They also sent the report to let his other wives know.
50. Who’s That Girl
I used to work for an insurance defense firm. My favorite story is when we hired a PI to tail a guy who was suing our client for his injury that wasn’t entirely our client’s fault. The guy was refusing to settle and insisting on going to trial even though we offered a fair sum that would have covered his medical bills.
The PI took great pictures of the plaintiff that proved that he was nowhere near as injured as he had claimed—but that’s not even the best part. The crown jewel photo showed him walking on a pier feeling up a woman who was not his wife. So, during a later deposition, the attorney slid the picture to him and asked who she was to schedule her deposition.
The guy turned ghost white and then to his attorney. He decided that he was going to settle. He knew that if his wife found out about the other woman’s deposition, he would have had to hire a family law attorney as well to deal with divorce papers.