The Investigator of Faith
By Ralph Thomas
He could never be mistaken for Jim Rockford! He's a mild mannered, well-dressed private eye who says grace over his
meals in restaurants and he's more likely to be mistaken for a preacher or accountant than for his real profession.
After serving in public law enforcement for seven years as a patrolman with the Florida Highway Patrol and with the Orange County Sheriff's Department, Brown decided to become a private investigator. He has been a private detective for more than 26 years in the Central Florida area, with each year enhancing both his reputation and his income. His
agency, Brown and Associates Inc., occupies a nicely furnished suite of offices in Orlando, Florida (5227 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando, Florida 32807, phone (407) 275-1104), where he has eight full-time investigators.
Brown's years of practice have brought him cabinet files full of solved cases ranging from missing persons, fraud, domestics, criminal cases and murder. He says that half of his cases are domestic in nature, usually involving a spouse who wants information on a mate. But while a heavy load of marital discord cases can prove to be quite financially rewarding, Brown is happiest when a couple eventually gets back together. In fact, Brown is trained in marriage counseling. He believes that through counseling a couple can often salvage a marriage, and he's helped save many in his more that 27 years of Christian-based counseling.
Brown is a born-again Christian who says he was worried about how his faith would affect his job and career as a private investigator, a career often filled with grey areas of ethics and deception. However, things have appeared to go well for Brown and Associates. He says he has become a better Christian by ministering to clients as a counselor. "When a person is down, I try to build up spiritual stability". In an age of ministerial quackery, you know that Brown is speaking from the very bottom of his heart when he talks about this subject.
Like most full-service investigative agencies, Brown and Associates does its share of domestic surveillance, which usually involves cheating spouses. Brown separates himself from other investigators after the evidence is brought back confirming the spouse's suspicion. Brown offers both counseling and spiritual guidance in hopes of reconciliation in the marriage, particularly when the straying spouse recognizes the error. His efforts are paying off. About 40% of the time, Brown's counseling and spiritual guidance leads to the couple giving their marriage another go. Brown says, "To get people back together, that's the ultimate satisfaction."
His office walls are completely covered with degrees, certificates and commendations from everywhere. One wall plaque says, "God Is Greater Than Any Problem I Have." The door going into the office has a sign reading, "When You Must Know For Peace of Mind."
Brown's personal secretary, Maddie Brown, has worked for the agency for more than a decade. She says she has come to respect her boss not only as an individual but as an expert in his field. She says, "He's the kind of person who makes
people nervous when they have something to hide. He has a way of moving about undetected, finding keys to old locked
closets and turning up bones that some people prefer remained buried. Moreover, there are many who are behind bars
because of his special ability and many who have been forced to stay on the run for fear of being caught. Brown is not one that you would want on your trail because he has a bad habit of not letting go."
Brown was featured in a book written by Karen Kingsbury called The Snake And The Sprider for his work on one of his murder cases. The Central Florida Business Section of the Sentinel Star, a regional newspaper, billed him as "The
Investigator of Faith" in a profile in August, 1987. In July, 1988 WFTV, Channel Nine News, asked Brown to participate in a special report they were airing concerning the privacy act. On the air, Brown was given the name of a person picked at random to complete a background investigation. The volunteer who was picked as Brown's target was astonished at what Brown found out. Not only was his personal history developed while living in Florida, but Brown had traced the subject back to his college days in Indiana and provided a complete list of all the jobs he had worked, the rate of pay he received and other personal information about the subject that even surprised the news station. He continues to do numerous media interviews.
The religious devotion Brown carries inspired a screenplay about one of his cases in 1978 that involved the abduction and murder of Daryl Barber, 19, and James Boucher, 17, from Daytona Beach. The screenplay, "My Son Is Missing,"
portrays Brown as an investigator in which religion helps him search for two young men. The screenplay was written by Tony Sheperd of Winter Park. A movie production of the case is in preproduction.
Barber and Boucher died of carbon dioxide poisoning in the trunk of Boucher's car, which had been fitted with a hose
from the exhaust pipe. The bodies were later thrown into a Volusia County swamp. Brown started his investigation and
obtained clues by paying informants for information. As a result of Brown's investigation, Earl L. Smith was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. One John Cox was also convicted with a life sentence. Brown said he repeatedly looked toward religion for guidance in the case. He says most of his direction came from prayer. In fact, Brown says, "My faith has always been my guide."
In a business in which many people are in it for the fast buck, Brown stands out. In a business in which many
investigators do their cases and submit their findings with a bill, Brown is one of the few who asks the question, "What's going to happen to the client once the information is turned over." Brown has taken the world of private investigation a step further with his words of wisdom and counseling. He's one of those rare caring persons who is pioneering the use of pastoral and professional counseling after the evidence is developed. He's saving marriages and bringing people back into the mainstream of American life. He's really helping people.
His work goes above and beyond the call of duty of even a very ethical private investigator. (If you are a private
investigator, think about this story the next time you are revealing evidence to a spouse on a domestic case.) Remember
Brown, the Orlando investigator of faith, who is putting the basic human institution, a family and marriage, back together. Do not just report your findings. You are dealing with people's lives. Ask yourself the question concerning whether the marriage can be saved and if you are not trained in this sort of thing, find someone who is so you can refer your clients to them. If more lawyers and more private investigators would do this like Brown, it would be a much better America in which we live.
In all the reviews I have done on private investigators, in the hundreds of private investigators I have talked with, and in
the hundreds of investigators I have studied, C. Robert Brown has that certain something about him that has impressed me more than anyone else. You can tell he is not in this business for the money, the glory or the fame. He just likes to help people. It's as simple as that.
Don't think Brown's an easy business man. I can tell you from experience that anyone in the private eye business has got
to be a hard and fast-on-his-feet business person. But Brown has turned the sometimes seedy image of the private eye into a professional person who's contributing to society as a whole instead of just snooping around for a fee and being a keeper of the dirt.
In all the years of doing private investigations, Brown has worked one of the broadest range of cases of just about any
private investigator in the country. He has located missing persons and missing dogs. His agency has done cases
involving industrial espionage. His name appears on scores of loss prevention reports, criminal and civil investigations,
background checks and electronic debugging checks. Brown does not turn away from people because of their financial
limitations. He treats all his clients the same in both time and respect. Brown feels that his success comes from both prayer and years of street-wise experience. We can all learn from such a man who seems so rare in the private investigation business.