Although you can always hire someone to do your "skip tracing" for you, online resources often make it easy to find missing witnesses yourself. Some tips and ideas:
- Ask family, friends, and neighbors. If you have an address for your missing witness, neighbors will be easy to find. To find family, use a Google search beginning with the word "phonebook:" This search term will help you find people with the same last name living in the same city, zip code, or state.
- Make inquiries with licensing agencies. This tip will work for people who work in professions in which licensing is required.
- Try public resources such as property and voter records.
- Make use of the Internet. An article at About.com, "Find People on the Web," lists ten free web resources for finding people, including reverse look-up and military search tools. You'll find hundreds of other resources at the "Skip Trace Portal" at the PI Mall.
Finally, as the authors note in "Locating Elusive Witnesses," cited below, always make sure that you have the correct, full name of the missing witness, including suffixes like Jr. and Sr.
Partial source for this post: "Locating Elusive Witnesses: An Introduction," by Peggy Shapiro and Perry Myers, Illinois Bar Journal, July 2003.