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Salon Shooting in the News: The Role of Private Investigator in Domestic Matters

October 18, 2011

Seal Beach, CA: Michelle Fournier Dekraai was afraid of her ex-husband. In a May court filing she claimed he was mentally unstable and had threatened to kill himself or someone else. On October 12th her worst fears were realized. Scott Dekraai burst into the Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, armed with multiple weapons and wearing body armor. He shot and killed Michelle along with seven co-workers and patrons.

Unfortunately violence is all too common when marriages break up and couples argue over custody of children. Money often plays a large role in custody cases. Children, often caught in the middle, become pawns in a game where both spouses believe the other is using the legal system to exact revenge.

Michelle Dekraai had told a relative her ex-husband had walked into the Meritage Salon as recently as two months ago and threatened to kill Michelle and her co-workers. Those first threats in the Meritage Salon should have been his last. Let James Pollock, the Bulldog PI in  Virginia, offer some advice that might keep you from getting killed by your spouse.

Do Not Confront Your Spouse.
As hard as it will be to resist the instinct to confront your spouse when you initially find out about an extra marital affair or decide you have taken your last beating from them, you should not alert them to what you are planning — hiring a divorce lawyer or a private detective. You cannot confront them. Once you do, you will lose this unique opportunity to obtain leverage for divorce negotiation using a private investigator.

Don’t let your spouse know YOU are up to anything.
You cannot tip your hand, or reveal you are contacting a Virginia private investigator for video surveillance. You must remain calm and act normally. You cannot let slip that you are aware of their infidelity or plan to end their abuse as it will compromise the video surveillance efforts of your private investigator.

Do not use your regular email address or cell phone to communicate with your private investigator or your attorney.
Abusive or cheating spouses are controlling and manipulative. They will most likely be snooping through your cell phone and email accounts. Set up a new Gmail address and Google voice number to communicate privately and confidentially with your attorney and private investigator throughout the investigation. Consider a prepaid cell phone hidden near your home. At no time do you want your cheating spouse to become aware that you have hired a private detective or an attorney. You want them to behave normally so your private investigator can gather video surveillance.

Don’t Tell Anyone.
Trust no one. Do not tell anyone that you have hired a private investigator. The less people that know you have hired a private detective the more likely your private investigator will follow your cheating spouse to a restaurant or documenting domestic abuse of you or your children.

Do Not Discuss with Your Children.
Regardless of age, do not talk to your children about what you are planning. They may tip off your spouse intentionally or accidently.

Do Not Change Your Behavioral Patterns.
It is important to remain consistent in your day to day behavior. Act the same way you did before you became aware of extra marital affairs or when you decided to leave your abuser. This will increase the chances your private detective will capture incriminating evidence on video.

Do Not Panic or Let Your Emotions Rule Your Thinking.
The control and manipulation of an abusive spouse can easily cloud your judgment. Once you have decided to leave your abuser, be confident you have made the right decision. A host of emotions may impact your ability to think rationally. Trying to emotionally separating yourself from the situation may be a way of dealing with the stress and fear of confronting and leaving your abuser. Your spouse’s abuse or cheating means they have made this emotional separation, now it is your turn. Be safe. Be careful.

The best support in court is caught on video by a private investigator. Video cannot be disputed, and you want to increase your private investigator’s chances of obtaining valuable surveillance video footage that you will be able to use to leverage in your divorce proceedings.

  1. Excellent advice! As someone who spent time in a battered women’s shelter about 25 years ago, I can second this advice — especially the part about not tipping your hand. Thanks for posting!

  2. It is really interesting for me to read this article. Thanks for it. I like such topics and everything connected to them.

  3. Good advice. In this kind of situation, it is really necessary to hire a private investigator. Nice post.

  4. I wish I had known all of this when I had hired a private investigator to check out my cheating wife. Granted I didn’t tell her I was having her investigated and the PI was able to get enough on her that I don’t have to pay alimony.

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