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Do Private Investigators Investigate Murder?

Updated: Jun 19

Do PIs Investigate murder? Short answer no, long answer yes with a “but.” Private Investigators can and do investigate murder; however, it is very rare. What a Private Investigator will investigate most in their career will be insurance fraud. Furthermore, the few Private Investigators who have investigated murders or other serious crime have done so with large obstacles in their way.

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Who would ask a Private Investigator to investigate a murder? Typically, it is a family member of a murder victim who was not satisfied with the police investigation. Furthermore, the murder will often be a cold case file from may years ago. This is not to say that the police investigation was poorly executed, just that the client was not satisfied with the investigative outcome for whatever reason.


The obstacles that Private Investigators face when investigating murder are two-fold: the obvious first issue is access to evidence and the second, not so obvious, issue is economics. Private Investigators are not what you see portrayed on movies and television. We do not sit around a noir style office waiting for a murder file to be placed on our desk. This topic of “Private Investigator Misconceptions” is discussed in our 100-level Private Investigator course. Private Investigators need good constant revenue streams, investigating murder is not one of them. As mentioned before, our constant revenue stream comes from fraud investigations, at least for most Private Investigators. The issue of economics even makes it difficult for an individual to even find a Private Investigator who will investigate a murder.

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So, who are the Private Investigators who specialize in investigating murders? There are non. Yes, there are PIs who have successfully investigated a murder or two, and became famous for it, but if you look into their career you will see that murder investigations makes up a miniscule portion of their history. A Private Investigator I worked with was famous for investigating cold case murder files. However, he had investigated two in a 40+ year career. This article is not to downplay Private Investigators who have investigated and solved murders. A PI who has investigated and solved a murder should be proud. The ability to become an investigator who has garnered a reputation that will make clients confident that they can solve a murder is impressive. This article is more to illuminate what we as Private Investigators actually do.

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