They were lost, but know they are found?
July 11, 2006 7:55 AM   Subscribe

How can I find someone who's missing, and probably wants to stay that way?

Subject lives in or around Montreal, Quebec.

I have some ideas of ways to proceed -- looking for more advice. Thanks!
posted by docgonzo to Society & Culture (26 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you know the person does not want to be found, perhaps you should respect that.
posted by Sara Anne at 8:02 AM on July 11, 2006

Define "Missing"? Has said person gone as far as changing their name? That could make it very hard.
posted by antifuse at 8:07 AM on July 11, 2006

Response by poster: Missing = Subject has tried to change her name, but was denied; is trying to hide in plain sight.
posted by docgonzo at 8:14 AM on July 11, 2006 has many services that should help -- current and former addresses, property they own, former roommates, etc. should be helpful.
posted by saffron at 8:15 AM on July 11, 2006

Unless you have a legal claim against this person--in which case her hiding is a matter of evasion--or she is seriously mentally unwell--as in, disconnected from reality--isn't it her choice to hide?

Leave her alone. (Unless, again, legal claim or mental inllness).
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:16 AM on July 11, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks, Saffron, but it appears is US-only.
posted by docgonzo at 8:17 AM on July 11, 2006

You're looking for Karla Homolka?
posted by gavia at 8:18 AM on July 11, 2006

If the person has a criminal record she would have to report to a parole officer on a regular basis. Staking out parole offices or the Elizabeth Fry Society might get results.

Knowing the person's habits or friends will be a big help in predicting where they will be.
posted by cardboard at 8:25 AM on July 11, 2006

No I tried hard to get in touch with someone that I knew fought depression and generally believed no one cared for them. Yes, it's somewhat corny but I at least felt good about doing it even when no one else would contact this person ("They don't want to be found, won't answer our calls, screw them!").

I didn't go so far as to search databases or hire an investigator but I did ask anyone I knew who might know where this person was. This eventually helped me find the city and the area and by contacting the former employer was able to find where they were currently working. I eventually got their new cell phone number and contacted the person, who told me in no uncertain terms they wanted to be left alone (which I respected). If none of their friends has any idea (which I highly doubt, usually someone knows just a little bit about something), try the employer. They coudl tell the person was somewhat disconnected and depressed and were happy to help me. If this is a woman you have to approach this carefully as there's all kind of stalker bells going off in people's minds, but if you play a professional and explain why you want to contact the person (depression and mental illness were my reasons), you should be able to find them. If they aren't a weird survivalist there are records and there is a human trail. It took me about a month of very casual searching, this was in the US though. Good luck.
posted by geoff. at 8:25 AM on July 11, 2006

Oh and if someone got paticularly defensive I just told them I was their doctor and needed to get in touch about "some tests." I totally pulled that line from Eyes Wide Shut, but as a doctor people will put you on a pedestal.
posted by geoff. at 8:27 AM on July 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

Leave her alone.

There are many legitimate reasons to seek someone out, even if they are running. This asker has chosen not to get into the backstory, but is simply looking for resources. Please limit the unhelpful answers since you have no basis to judge the asker's motivation here.
posted by scarabic at 8:42 AM on July 11, 2006

This is what a private investigator is for.

One of my great great grandfathers owned a piece of land in a place that was once the middle of nowhere. From just some documents regarding the property from the early 1900s, a P.I. working for a lawyer who represented a person who wanted to buy the land managed to track down myself and all the other family members who had claim to the property. It was a little bit scary.
posted by 517 at 8:43 AM on July 11, 2006

Why do you want to find Karla Homolka?
posted by raedyn at 8:56 AM on July 11, 2006

On re-reading, I see gavia had the same thought I did.
posted by raedyn at 8:57 AM on July 11, 2006

Response by poster: Do not presume I've not thought through my question and its implications before posting. Limit your comments to answers or help in finding an answer, not ill-informed moralising.
posted by docgonzo at 9:02 AM on July 11, 2006

Response by poster: (My comment was aimed at dirtynumbangelboy, but applies to jellicle's comment, as well.)
posted by docgonzo at 9:04 AM on July 11, 2006

Well, doc; you *have* thought through your question and it's implications, but history demonstrates that not all Askers have, so I don't -- in general -- think that such responses are out of line.

Certainly, people with that outlook could simply fail to respond. But I don't, actually, think that's the best solution for MeFi as a community (as absent as I've been from here for a while, my user number is 3 digits long -- oooh, ain't I cool? :-).

If you have thought through your question, more power to you. That should not preclude people who might want to help you from confirming that you've done so *to their satisfaction*. They're entitled.
posted by baylink at 9:20 AM on July 11, 2006

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:27 AM on July 11, 2006

I think the best way to find someone is to get as much of an idea of where he/she might be and actually to to the site and learn its patterns and flows. Watching and carefully asking around is probably the best way to do something like this.
posted by mikel at 9:44 AM on July 11, 2006

The best way to find a resourceful person who doesn't want to be found is to address the barriers to the issue - in this case, by sending broad-spectrum communication that encourages the person to come out of hiding.

Amnesty decrees for criminals do this.
Family members of hostages begging for their release on TV do this.
If it's Homolka, you need to get enough help and resources together to give her a better way to hide after she's given you what you want.
If it's a person in your own life you send your amnesty through people that know where the person is, or as close as you can get.

This way is less illegal and creepy, too.
posted by By The Grace of God at 9:59 AM on July 11, 2006

If you do mean Karla Homolka, I'd suggest that probably all the media types and some family members of her (& Bernardo's) victims have probably exhausted any methods for tracking her down. There are a lot of people hunting for that woman.

There are few places that a person deals with that require her real identity (Canada Revenue Agency, her bank, whatever they call the Health Dept in Quebec, welfare if she's on it). Anywhere else can be lied to about her identity. The previously mentioned bodies that would know her whereabouts are all governed by privacy legislation (of course) so there isn't an above-board way to find out from them, and she can avoid them all anyway by not going to the doctor and living on cash. If doesn't want to be found (and is smart about it) she won't be.

Maybe it's not Karla you're talking about, but if it is, then I think her biggest risk is that eventually someone will recognize her.
posted by raedyn at 10:01 AM on July 11, 2006

When someone is a monstrous sociopath I don't think their 'debt' to society is ever paid, that only applies when there is some chance of rehabilitation. The prison records for Homolka make it clear there has been zero rehabilitation nor is rehabilitation even a possibility. Until society realizes that illness is treated in a hospital she must be watched at all times, her desire to continue her activities has also been made clear throughout her incarceration.

Even if you are naive enough to think she has 'paid for her crimes' then you must realize that she certainly hasn't paid anything for sexually torturing and killing her sister, that was ruled an 'accident'.

Hire a PI
posted by Cosine at 10:11 AM on July 11, 2006

I think she's going by Karla Teale now, fwiw.
posted by meringue at 11:18 AM on July 11, 2006

As others have noted, a PI is the way to go. They have resources that normal people simply do not.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:24 PM on July 11, 2006

Now that we know that it is indeed Karla, I think you need to move beyond just hiring a PI. I am sure that several are already working on the search at the behest of media clients. What would one do that a PI might not? That would be a great answer.
posted by caddis at 12:58 PM on July 11, 2006

Mod note: a few comments removed, there's already a metatalk thread, if you feel the need to go there
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:18 AM on July 12, 2006

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