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Private eye prefers reunitings

Published December 17, 2006


After a dark year in the investigation business, Lynn-Marie Carty said she is reuniting with her passion of bring people together.

"We love our reunions more than anything else," said Carty, 49, a private investigator who runs

Carty spent most of the past year consumed with the investigation of Michael Nicholaou and his role in the Connecticut River Valley killings. Then six weeks ago, she got a call from producers at the Tyra Banks Show, asking her to help with a series of surprise reunions for the holidays. Carty was glad to shift gears to investigations sunnier than serial murder.

"The murder case pretty much took over my life," Carty said. "They take a lot out of you."

Carty said murder and missing persons cases are like reunions in that they answer questions and bring families closure. But she said the Banks show and its festive atmosphere were a holiday gift for her and her son, Jason Heath, 20, who will appear with her Tuesday afternoon when the show airs on WMOR-Ch. 32.

During the show, Carty said, viewers will see five reunion scenarios, though she had to solve 30 cases in all before getting those the TV show could use. She will also share tips on how to find your own lost loved ones.

Among the reunions on the show are a woman left in a trash can as an infant who reunites with the woman who rescued her, and twins separated as toddlers who find each other decades later. All the reunions are surprises, which made show arrangements tricky.

While Carty and her son were traveling to Los Angeles for the show's taping, they got a call from producers telling them not to talk about the show because one of the participants was on the same flight and they didn't want to spoil the surprise.

Carty has been on other television shows, but she said this one is special because of its timing. She said the holiday season is peak for her reunion work because people think of lost friends or relatives and suddenly want to find them.

"It starts up around Thanksgiving," she said. "This is definitely the busiest time of the year."

Carty has been gaining fame through such high-profile appearances, and she now incorporates her son, two daughters and a brother in the business. But riches haven't followed mainly because they often give away services to hardship cases.

"We're rich in a different way," she said. Jason agreed.

"Every time we do a free case," he said, "there's always some blessing."

Carty's work on the Nicholaou case will also be the subject of a feature story in the National Examiner that will publish Christmas Day.

Paul Swider can be reached at 892-2271 or or by participating in .

How to find a missing person

1. Good Old Google: The first thing to do when looking for anyone is Google the name.

2. Rely on a Nosy Neighbor: If you're looking for a female childhood friend and you know the maiden name of the person and the state where they lived, try to find your old friend's parents or relatives with the same last name. If they have left the area, be sure to check with all the neighbors. Chances are someone near the old address will be able to tell you where the family has moved.

3. The Letter in the Mail Box is for YOU: If all you know is that the missing person is a male or female and you know their date of birth and the state in which they were adopted, then go online to one of the many databases that provide birth date searches and run a search with the information of the birth date, sex of the person and the state. Take that list and write a letter to the person, make as many copies as you need, get lots of stamps, say a prayer and put the letters in the mail. This method has worked time and time again.

4. The Power of the Law of Attraction: Approaching your search with a positive attitude and a hopeful heart will be a great asset to your search. While you are searching, try to visualize what it will be like when you reach your goal. It's the secret for having the edge on finding people.

5. Tenacity is for winners: Be tenacious and never give up your search ... the chances are you will find the person you are seeking.

6. Get off the wrong trail before you get lost in the woods: Always triple check your information. Pick the brain of your source for every detail they might know about the person you want to find. Remember: Your investigation is only as good as the information you are using to perform your search. If your source is written information be sure you copy it correctly. Errors in this area are the most common reason why people have trouble finding each other.

7. Don't be a lazy searcher: Never automatically rule out any potential lead or possibility until you have pursued it.

8. Details rule: Find every single tidbit of information you can about the person you are seeking, no detail is too small, every bit holds a clue.

9. Use all available sources: The Internet, newspapers, telephone books, government agencies, the libraries and obituaries are a wealth of information. Be nice to the reference desk helpers at the libraries. They will help you over the telephone by looking up information for you.

10. Friends Will Want To Help You: Contact every known acquaintance of the person you are seeking.

[Last modified December 16, 2006, 21:24:05]

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