In June of 2006 Tristar Investigation was hired by the parents of teenager Jessica Liccar to find their missing daughter. After wrecking the family car she disappeared from her home in Crete, Illinois. She was last seen in the company of a Simon Sotheras, who had records of criminal assaults. Her parents believed he was responsible for her disappearance.
Tristar Investigation President Bruce Robertson directed a manhunt for the missing pair. Postings on MySpace.com that indicated the two were headed to Lancaster, CA, a desert community north of Las Angeles. Robertson’s team of private investigators scoured the Lancaster-Palmdale area, conducting surveillance on several individuals that were friends or acquaints of Sotheras. They canvassed neighborhoods and posted missing person notices throughout the area. Word got back to Sotheras about the search and subsequently he posted a message on MySpace saying he knew about the manhunt and boasted that he would never be found.
At this point Robertson determined that the stakes were getting higher and scheduled a press conference with the girl’s parents at a downtown Los Angeles courthouse. The result was a flurry of television, radio and web stories that gained nationwide attention. These reports eventually reached friends of Sotheras in Illinois, who posted internet messages urging Sotheras to return the girl to her parents.
At the same time Robertson’s team immediately went to work to identify where the message had originated. Using internet forensics and subpoenas facilitated by Jessica’s father’s legal team, they were able to trace the origin of the posting by Sotheras. Those efforts produced information that the message was posted from an internet connection in McRae, Arkansas.
On Saturday June 17th police were dispatched to the identified location in McRae, which turned out to be a remote farmhouse about 40 miles north of Little Rock. The occupants were confronted and given an ultimatum. After negotiations, Jessica was returned to the custody of her parents. Jessica was back home with her parents the next day which was Fathers Day. Sotheras was not charged in connection with the incident due to the fact that he cooperated in Jessica’s release and that he was a minor at the time of her disappearance. The family has been reunited and has expressed their gratitude to Tristar for the successful conclusion to the traumatic events.
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