Trying To Locate A Missing Witness? Searching Public Records Can Help
In litigation, one witness can be the difference between winning and losing. Unfortunately, that witness might not be easy to find. But, if you have a name, you have enough to start your search.
One of the best methods for locating witnesses is to utilize public records in your search. Even starting an online people search in a public records search platform with relatively little information can yield robust results.
Start by searching for the most commonly used type of information for locating individuals: address, utilities, and DMV records.
Searches through public records databases can provide a number of addresses associated with an individual, and if you have the general geographic area in which this person is believed to reside, you may be able to obtain the missing witness’s home address or a list of potential addresses to continue your search.
Similarly, real property title records can also help locate a witness, if that witness is a registered owner of any real estate. But without additional information such as a date of birth, you may have to filter through a lot of false positives – especially if the witness has a relatively common name.
If false positives clog up your search results, you’ll need to find other identifying information that can help you pare down your list.
Generally, the place to start for this is on the Web – specifically with the witness’s presence on social media, blogs, and other websites.
One may question how combing through the Internet could save time. The short answer is that these resources provide types of information that many public records do not – photographs, videos, and self-disclosed associates.
Imagine this: Your client knows the witness’s name and general appearance, but little else. Scouring through social media accounts of individuals with the same name as your witness may become much easier if your client is able to identify the witness from some other markers on the account, such as a photograph. Alternatively, a witness’s social media account may be identified through the recognition of one of the witness’s “Friends” or “Followers.”
Some public records search platforms can collect and arrange social media and other Web information more comprehensively and effectively than you could manually. And the information discovered on the witness’s social media can be used to supplement your query into other public records databases to narrow the search results – or to locate the witness outright.
For added efficiency throughout this process, consider using a public records search provider that aggregates, sorts and summarizes all of the relevant public records results for you. Doing so can help save valuable time when locating a missing witness.
Even in the unlikely scenario that one has little luck locating a witness through these methods, public records are so expansive that, with a bit of creativity, very few individuals are completely undiscoverable.
For a free sample search and demo to public records on the most reliable search engine, visit PeopleMap on Thomson Reuters Westlaw.
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