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Compassion needed for investigating family matters: MKD

MKD International Inc. handles all family-related investigations with compassion and understanding, says Jim Downs, the company’s founding partner and managing director.

“These files generally deal with emotional issues,” he tells

The vast majority of family cases MKD takes on relate to separation/divorce proceedings, Downs says.

“A great deal of it surrounds income — some people try to hide their assets and earnings to mitigate alimony or child support,” he says.

Downs says MKD mostly works directly with legal counsel on these family law issues, but occasionally directly with spouses and/or relatives.

“Lawyers, who aren’t emotionally vested in the matter, can direct us to what is most relevant,” he says. 

Sometimes family members are trying to locate relatives who are missing or known to be living on the street somewhere.

“They may want to reach out to see whether they can assist,” he says. MKD helps find them, Downs says.

While the type of family cases that MKD takes on run the gamut, he notes the firm has had “some great success” tracking down relatives.

He recalls one case in which a family was trying to find a brother with whom they hadn’t had contact in decades; MKD located him in British Columbia. 

Another matter involved a man who had been adopted as a young child and his wife wanted to find his birth mother after he developed serious health issues.

“Lo and behold, we found her through old-fashioned gumshoe work,” Downs says. “We called many people who had the same last name in a particular area. We found a sibling, who ultimately passed the message along to the birth mother, and she eventually connected with the man. We felt good about that one.”

Downs says for those individuals hiring a private investigative firm, it’s important to ensure they understand the sensitive nature of the work. It's also important for clients to have a sense of how realistic their request is, he adds.

“If we think it’s an impossible task that is unlikely to be successful, we inform the client up front,” he says. “We do that for family law matters and all types of investigations.”

Downs says that some people appear to be educated by Hollywood movies and believe that an investigative firm can hop on the internet and obtain any piece of information about anybody.

"It doesn’t work that way," he says.

Investigative firms like MKD are only able to access information in the public domain; when it comes to surveillance, investigators are only permitted to gather it in public places, Downs says. 

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