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Find Missing People With The Internet

Woman with magnifying glass wearing Sherlock Holmes hat and trench coat

This week I was tasked with finding two people that had not been seen in over a dozen years. I had completed a successful ancestor hunt for this customer a couple of years ago, and they knew how much I love sleuthing around on the internet. Both of the missing people were former employees, nothing nefarious involved, just a desire to see how they were after so many years. Let's see how my Google internet search went!

One of the men was using an abbreviated name, I surmised probably an expanded initial, "Dee," and the other was a Laotian man whose first name was "Khamkute" and his last name was a dozen digits long. Both men prided themselves in being able to stay off the grid, so the challenge glove was thrown down!

Golden Hand of a Buddha statue

I had been given clues about last probable locations, guesses about ages and physical descriptions. Dee had family in Texas, and Khamkute had joined a Buddhist temple in Sacramento. Now, you experienced Google Detectives will probably assume I went with the most unusual name first, and you would be right! Guess what? NOTHING. No matches of first name Khamkute, no matches of dozen digit last name, no matches of flipping first and last names, no matching with wild cards (*). Not in Google, not in Facebook, not in Ancestry, not in, not in FindAGrave, or FamilySearch. Laotioan does not transliterate into the English alphabet, and the names did not translate into anything meaningful in English.

There are three Buddhist temples in Sacramento, only one is Laotian. No similar names at all on their website or Facebook page. No public records of any kind for Khamkute. If this guy is still with us, he is an expert at staying off the grid, or a spy, or both! If anyone has any other suggestions about locating Khamkute I would love to hear them.
Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top

Now, our buddy Dee is also very good at having very few public records, but I got really lucky. I had a county of probable residence and a birth year of between 1940 and 1960. Like that exactness? I was also told that he was an expert poker player, he didn't drive, and he had a looonnnngggg flowing beard like members of the band ZZ Top (That Little Ol' Band From Texas, see Wiki link below).

For the sake of our story and his privacy, let's just say Dee's last name is "Brown." I had some hits in Ancestry for men with the middle initial "D" in the county in that 20 year span, but most of them were dead by the 1990's.

No FaceBook page, and nothing in the newspapers, and I found no properties in his name in the county tax records. But I did get a couple of hits in SearchPeopleFree and FastBackGroundCheck by Googling "'Dee Brown' + Port Aransas." They indicated he was living just outside of Rockport, in the Port Aransas area, probably as a tenant, since the tax records did not name him as an owner. My stroke of luck occurred in finding a news story from a Corpus Christi TV channel citing a "Dee Brown" as a complainant about a lack of animal control in Rockport.

Photo of a man who looks like Santa Claus

The first thing I noticed was the beard! The news story mentioned what hundred block of what street he lived on, so I went to GoogleMaps to search for the exact address. It took a bit of going up and down the street, click by click, looking for the house by color, type of fence, and signage you could see in the TV story. And sure enough, I found that the address in SearchPeopleFree was, indeed, where Dee was living. I also know what his full legal name probably is now too, but since this was not an ancestor or DNA quest, that doesn't really matter.

I forwarded off the news story, the list people that appear to be related to Dee from the free background searches in Google, and an address that he can be written at to attempt to regain contact. My client is going to contact the Buddhist temple in Sacramento that I located to see if they know of his other missing person.

This is a perfect example of how internet and/or Google searches using Boolean logic and wild cards can help you find missing people, be they ancestors, relatives, or long lost friends, dead or alive. Using internet search engines is free! You cannot just rely on the established family search subscription sites, especially if you have only a very vague idea of the age and location of your subject. I have included a link for how to do Boolean searches below.

older hands working on a colorful jigsaw puzzle

Hope you are still having fun working on your puzzles! Let me know if you would like me to take a peek at your brick wall - always a free quote.

As Thanksgiving approaches, please know I am very thankful for all of you!

Warm regards,

Leslie Ryan

“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

No compensation is received for any referrals or links herein. No copyright infringement is intended.

For more info on Boolean Logic internet searches:

For more information about ZZ Top (and you KNOW you want it)


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