There have been a number of high profile investigations that are associated with Southern California. There have been celebrity crimes and murders, and some have been recent while others took place some time ago.

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The one thing that all of these cases have in common is the amount of work and effort that goes into the investigative process. Regardless of whether an investigation is being carried out by a government agency or a private investigator, it requires a significant amount of resources, time and effort. When it comes to these high profile cases, the work of investigators can be magnified as they are forced to work around the media and the impediments they can present by leaking information. Below you’ll find just a couple of the most high profile cases that took a great deal of effort, manpower and resources to solve.

The Original Night Stalker

During a period of slightly more than a year, Southern California residents lived in terror as a serial killer, who was eventually dubbed the Night Stalker, killed 13 people while assaulting a number of other people. This case was interesting because it was not solved due to the direct work of detectives; however, the amount of attention that the investigation had garnered placed everyone on high alert. It was this heightened level of awareness concerning this killer that prompting a teenager to write down the license plate number of a suspicious vehicle that was driving through his neighborhood on the night of August 24, 1985. The teenager passed the license plate number to the police. This would prove to be a pivotal point in the process of solving this case.

That night someone was attacked in the area where the teen took down the license plate number. The cops were able to find the vehicle, but it had been abandoned; however, police were able to find a key piece of evidence in the vehicle — a fingerprint. Investigators were able to quickly match the print to Richard Ramirez, subsequently plastering his image throughout the media. Ramirez was recognized and captured by citizens within the next week. He was convicted of the murders and sentenced to death. He currently sits on death row in California.

Erin Brockovich and the Pacific Gas & Electric Company

This was not the conventional criminal investigation case. In fact, the vast majority of the investigative work was conducted by a legal clerk who discovered the fact that the Pacific Gas & Electric company was poisoning the water supply of the residents of a small town called Hinkley in Southern California. It was in 1996 that Erin’s efforts, assisted by Ed Masry, resulted in the largest direct action lawsuit in U.S. history, in which the utility giant was ordered to $333 million in damages — the largest toxic tort injury settlement in the history of the United States.

Tristar Investigation did investigation for Ed Masry and his law firm throughout the 1990’s until his death in 2005. Working with Erin Brockovich, Tristar investigated many toxic pollution cases similar to the original Pacific Gas & Electric case in Hinkley.

Whether it is the local police department, the U.S. Attorney’s office or a private citizen, true diligence in an investigation will eventually bear fruit. If you have an investigation or case you need help with, don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance. Our California-based private investigators can help you get the job done, no matter if you’re in San Diego or the OC, and no matter what the task is.

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Bruce Robertson

Bruce Robertson is a private investigator and founder of Tristar Investigation, California’s premiere detective agency. Bruce is also a media commentator for the investigation industry, featured in the New York Times, CNN, History Channel, MSNBC, Los Angeles Times and many more. You can find him on Google+ LinkedIn and YouTube.