The Utah Gumshoe: Mystery of the Vanishing Husband and Wife
- February 06, 2015
- by Scott Fulmer
Listen: Mystery of Vanishing Husband and Wife
Do you smell that? (sniff) Ah, that’s the smell of fraud in the air. With two parts missing persons thrown in for good measure. You see, in the murky world of the private eye things are not always as they seem. Consider the case of Paul and Evangelina Walker. A case I call the mystery of the vanishing husband and wife. The Walkers both worked for a large public utility in Salt Lake City. The married couple did everything together. They became injured at work together. They even filed their workers comp claims together. When relatives at the same business file workers comp claims at the same time that’s what we call a red flag. It’s definitely worth looking into.
They were on workers comp. And they had regular physical therapy appointments that they were missing. But regardless of who I asked no one seemed to know where they had gone. I finally located a neighbor that recalled them talking about a trip…which led me to the airport where the mystery only deepened.
The Walkers lived in a house near the Avenues, an older area just west of downtown Salt Lake City not far from historic Temple Square. The front yard was surrounded by a chain link fence and whoever had designed the landscaping had gone nuts. The yard contained so many trees, shrubs and thick vegetation that their house was barely visible from the road. I set up surveillance between two houses on a nearby cross street. I guzzled down a bottle of water and pulled my camera close waiting for activity. The chain link fence included a gate in front of their driveway. This required someone to open and close the gate in order for the Walkers to pull their distinctive yellow Volkswagen Beetle in and out of the driveway. It presented a perfect opportunity to get video of either subject in action.
I did not have a picture of the Walkers. I didn’t need one. I had a physical description. Apparently they were both about five feet tall and weighed approximately 300 pounds each. When it comes to surveillance, even if the client provides you a photograph, make sure to get all the identifying features of your subject. That includes race, skin color, facial hair, hair length, height, weight, eyeglasses, scars and tattoos. Anything and everything to help you identify your subject. This is important because sometimes photographs are old and sometimes the subject has lost or gained weight since the picture was taken. And sometimes…they just don’t look very much like their photograph.
After two days of absolutely no activity and no sign of their vehicle I was stumped. So I hit the street and began making discreet inquiries throughout the neighborhood. They were on workers comp. And they had regular physical therapy appointments that they were missing. But regardless of who I asked no one seemed to know where they had gone. I finally located a neighbor that recalled them talking about a trip…which led me to the airport where the mystery only deepened. It was there I found their dusty and dirty yellow VW bug in the long term parking lot. A silent clue that the Walkers had flown “…the friendly skies” to some, as yet undetermined destination. I remember looking in the windows of the vehicle and underneath the trunk in the front for blood or signs of foul play. There was no reason to suspect any. It was just something that Magnum, P.I. always seemed to notice.
A few more discreet inquiries and I learned that they had flown to visit their daughter who was in the military at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. It must be nice to file an exaggerated workers comp claim with your wife and then use that paid time off to visit your daughter. When they returned to Utah I gathered enough video of the Walkers to put into question the legitimacy of their workers comp claims. I would not have been able to do so, had not their neighbors given me the 411. Shortly after their return they decided to retire. When it came to Paul and Evangelina Walker the only thing missing…was their integrity
Until next time
this is Scott Fulmer, the Utah Gumshoe, reminding you the game…is afoot!
Next Friday on The Utah Gumshoe
5 Tips for Using a Rental Car on Surveillance
“Regardless of the reason, you may sometimes find yourself having to use a rental car to conduct surveillance. Whether it’s because you’re experiencing car problems with your own vehicle or the surveillance job is out of town, this may put you out of your comfort zone…”
About The Utah Gumshoe Podcast
The Utah Gumshoe Podcast follows the real-life exploits, riveting case stories, investigative tips and insightful advice of Scott Fulmer, The Utah Gumshoe. Scott is a 20 year veteran Utah private investigator, surveillance expert and President/CEO of intellUTAH, a private investigation firm based in Salt Lake City.
He has written numerous articles on investigative and surveillance techniques that have appeared in PInow.com and other industry journals. He is a decorated combat veteran of the Persian Gulf War where he served with the famous 2nd Armored Division (Hell on Wheels). Whether you're a novice or an experienced investigator this is the podcast for you.