Linda Robin Meier was last seen leaving her condo in Hallandale Beach, Florida ten days ago. Her whereabouts are unknown and police are officially calling her disappearance the result of foul play. Meier’s Cadillac Escalade was found in good condition in an Opa-Locka parking lot this past Sunday. Police have not revealed what evidence, if any, was recovered from her vehicle.
So far, the only interesting lead into this case comes from Meier’s credit cards. According to police, Jessica Morales, 24, of Opa-locka, and Susan Panchoo, 23, of Miami are believed to have used Meier’s credit cards at a Wal-Mart near Miami Lakes.
Neither woman has been charged and police have not revealed how the two came to be in possession of Meier’s credit cards. They did, however, provide police with the name of man who has since become a person of interest in the case.
The circumstances surrounding Meier’s disappearance are still unknown. Without any known reason to disappear, without her credit cards, her car, and not having made any contact with her very concerned family, it is clear that there is much more to this case than meets the eye.
If I was working this case, I would conduct a multi-layered approach to the investigation. First, a forensic analysis of her computers, email accounts, and social networking is essential. Second, all of her text messages and phone calls should be pulled for as far back as they go. Third, the GPS locations of her cell phone(s) for as far back as can be traced should also be pulled.
For those that are not familiar with forensic GPS analysis, cellular carriers do not hold onto GPS data for a long period of time. However, even if Meier’s steps over the past few months can be traced, clues about her disappearance may be uncovered. For example, one thing to look for would be out of the ordinary activities. Random phone calls, unexplained car rides to out of area locations, or intimate emails from persons that friends and family do not know would might yield invaluable clues.
On the next layer, all of Meier’s known associates, friends, and family members must be mapped out. Criminal histories must be run on each person. This process is painstaking and exhaustive. However, the idea is to flush out the clues. Does anyone have a motive to harm Meier? Does she have an association with someone in trouble? Did someone in her social network also mysteriously disappear? The answers to these questions can only be answered by exhaustive research.
Once the probability of foul play is presumed, then investigators are presented with two possibilities. First, the missing person disappeared due to the random criminal act of a stranger. Second, the missing person disappeared due to the criminal act of someone he or she knew.
Truth be told, most victims know their attackers. Therefore, the likelihood that Meier’s attacker is connected to her in some social way is very real. In the absence of an obvious suspect, the only way to flush out possible attackers is to map out Meier’s social networks and research each and every person.
This process takes time and should be triaged intelligently.
Of course, a thorough forensic analysis of Meier’s home, place of work, and automobile is essential. There is no doubt that police investigators have already been hard at work doing this very task.
Hopefully police will be able to determine what happened to Meier and locate her in a safe and secure condition. Our hearts and prayers go out to her family.