Private Investigations: Real-Life Situations
Anyone that isn’t in the investigation business, or hasn’t lived through some trauma of their own, will tell you that this is all scare-tactics, and that the probability that something terrible like this will happen to you is slim-to-none. Especially since you play it safe - you don’t go out to bars, you don’t meet people online, you are good church going boy or girl. Unfortunately, just as many (and in some cases more) dangerous people attend church than patronize the local bar. But if you don’t believe us, check out this real-life story of one of our employees, in her own words.
TRIGGER WARNING - CONTAINS GRAPHIC DETAIL AND PICTURES
Dating in the 21st CenturyIt’s been so long now that I don’t rightly remember how I met him. I’m sure it was online - I was a member of a variety of social networking sites, some of which still exist, and some of which don’t. I was not long out of college and a serious relationship, and was trying to find ways to socialize. That’s when John* came along. He was polite, well spoken, loved animals - and they loved him - and originally from the west coast. He was in town visiting family friends and trying to decide what he was going to do with life since he was having trouble with a business he had started back in California.
By all accounts, he seemed like a good guy. I automatically distrust someone that doesn’t like animals … or someone that the animals don’t like. He was willing to meet my parents, and even my mom’s very sissy dog that normal runs and hides liked him and wanted to play.
Things progressed, and he moved in. He started working temp jobs to bring in some extra money until we figured out what we were going to do. It was a normal sort of daily life - go to work, come home, cook, clean, play with the kitties, go to bed and do it all over again. We didn’t drink much, we didn’t do drugs, we didn’t lead extraordinarily unusual lives.
And then he started becoming possessive and controlling. I had a job as a weigh scale operator at a quarry. It was through a temp agency, but it was a small office, and it seemed like it had potential to be a good, long-term job. The atmosphere was laid back, there was no real dress code, and spent all day long listening to truckers talk to each other while they waited to get back on the road. Even though I dressed MUCH more conservatively than my boss (who was female), John seemed to want me to be covered neck to wrist to ankle. What if one of the truckers looked down my shirt?! I don’t mind being careful, but what I was choosing to wear to work would have been appropriate to wear to a conservative church.
John became more and more possessive and manipulative. He came up with reasons that he needed to drop me off at work so he could have use of my car. He started finding reasons to keep me from talking to my friends. Eventually, it became too much, and I told him I’d had enough, he needed to leave. We were over.
How the End of a Relationship Can Be the End of the Line
Most people consider themselves nice people. They want to help those around them, especially people they know, and most people couldn’t live with the thought of someone hurting themselves if there was something they could do to stop it. Most people would not kick someone out of their home, especially someone that has been living there, knowing that the person has no where to go, and would sleep on the street that night. I am the same way.
Throughout the day on the day I ended our relationship, John sent me text messages:
Can’t we just be roommates? Can’t we still be friends? I still love you. I’m going to kill myself. Please call me. I cut myself, and I’m going to bleed out.
Finally, he showed up at my work. He had walked approximately 10 mi to show up at my workplace. He was hours before I was scheduled to be off, and I refused to speak with him. He sat, quiet as a mouse, and waited until I was done working. Between making a scene at work, and being unwilling to tell him he had to just keep walking, I gave him a ride back. He said he only wanted to use the computer to see if a friend could come pick him up, and then he’d be gone. It seemed like a reasonable request.
It was probably the worst decision that I ever made in my life. As I sat and waited from him to leave, my stomach too upset to bother trying to eat dinner (even though I’d also skipped lunch), I essentially stared at the wall. He finally gets up, tells me that his friend should be there soon, and before I know it, he’s gone to the kitchen, got a butcher knife and is threatening to kill himself. I am all for the “tough love” approach to suicide and self-harm threats, because I am of the opinion that it is often for attention. But when push comes to shove, I will not attempt to call someone’s bluff. I certainly should have this time. With knife poised above upturned wrist, he changes from cutting himself to cutting my throat. From one side to the other, catching both external jugular veins (not the internal, so not AS lethal) and the windpipe, the cut was at least 7 inches long.
This was three days after it happened, the day they released me from the hospital. There were hundreds of internal stitches to repair the blood vessels and close the wound, as well as a trach-tube that was removed before I left the hospital.
I am suddenly fighting for my life, in such a literal way that most people cannot even begin to imagine it. John would not let me call 911, he would not let me leave to get help. I tried screaming, and in doing so sprayed blood everywhere through the hole in my throat, but I could not scream loud enough that someone would hear me from outside of my apartment. Finally, I sat down on the couch and told him, and I quote “You’re going to kill me.” I was covered in blood, down to my knee on one side of my body. I knew, without help, I was going to die.
These pictures are crime scene photos, provided to me by the police, of my apartment. These are real photos, of a real crime scene.
He finally called 911, after making me give him the car keys, telling him I loved him, and promising him that we would talk later. The pictures above show where I sat on the couch, where I tried to get out of the apartment to get home - the blood spray and splatters from my trying to scream for help before he slammed the door shut. You can see how everything is turned upside. We struggled, after my throat was cut, and it wasn’t a mild or passive thing.
When he had finally called for help, he left. I knew that finding me in an apartment building, getting me out before I died, and in the process not letting my cats loose (yes, I seriously thought about that), didn’t leave me a lot of chance of survival. I got up, went outside, and laid face down in front of the door - which I closed behind me, of course. You can see the blood stains on the deck in front of the door, and the blood stains on the ground where it dripped below to the concrete. I laid face down because I knew if I laid on my back, more and more of the blood would get into my lungs and shorten the time I could live until help arrived.
Luckily for me, and obviously as I am here to tell you about it, help arrived in time. I still remember the color of the stretcher, what it was like to ride in the ambulance with my vision fading to black though I was still awake - likely due to blood loss, the paramedics worrying that I could not breath enough with the hole in my windpipe. I survived, thanks in part to the quick response of the paramedics, the talent of the trauma doctors at the ER, and my own surprisingly clear thinking in that situation. I was only 22. It is one scar that will never heal and fade away completely, and is there across my neck for all the world to see.
Dating in the 21st Century
Her story is a tragic and sad story, even though it has a happy ending. She survived and her ex-boyfriend was sentenced to 14 years combined for two separate felony charges. But wouldn’t it have been better if her friends and family, not to mention the victim herself had never had to go through all this?
Had she run a Background Investigation with us, she likely would have never dated John, let alone lived with him. This is what she would have found:
These are real records, though sensitive information has been removed.
*This is not his real name. Though he was convicted of two felony charges - the third dropped in agreement to him pleading guilty to the other two - he is still a person with as much right to his public privacy as anyone else.