April 5, 2011 — -- Last week we invited you to submit questions for Ken Brennan, the private investigator whose patient tenacity took the Miami airport hotel rapist off the streets and put him in jail. More than 600 of you wrote in. Here are Brennan's answers to a selection of questions.
I am totally fascinated by you and your investigative talents! Your hard work, determination and dedication are amazing. This truly makes me want to become a private investigator. Can you let me know what the best starting point is?
You have to be licensed by the state you reside in. So check to see what your state's qualifications are. I'm sure it will require a training course, usually provided by a local college, and the successful completion of a state exam. You may also have to be sponsored by a licensed private investigator and work under his license as a trainee for a time, usually two years.
Do you work alone or do you have a partner that goes with you and helps you out sometimes? Did you like working as a policeman better, or do you like it better now as a private investigator?
I work with my son who is also an investigator and often work with other associates of mine on larger cases that might require more manpower. I have worked as a police officer, a Federal agent and a private investigator since 1975, and by far the most rewarding of the three is being a police officer. There is nothing as rewarding as catching someone in the act or coming to the aid of someone in need. The largest impact you can make for a community's well-being is as a police officer.
What part of your job do you like the least?
Having to tell a victim that my time has been consumed by other cases and I won't be able to give their case attention till sometime in the future.
How many rapists have you caught and put away?
As a police officer -- several.
I have a 26-year-old daughter who lives alone in a city. What would be the most important piece of advice you could give her as far as her safety? What can we do to insure she can protect herself from someone like the man in the "20/20" piece?
The most important advice I could give your daughter is to be aware of her surroundings. If she is in a parking lot and walking to her car, stay off the cell phone. Look to see who is around you. Always go with your gut feelings. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. If someone is closing their distance toward you, it is better to return to the store and have someone escort you out. But if a predator does manage to accost you and start to pull you into your vehicle or theirs, don't let them get you out of the parking lot. Even if they strike you or pull a weapon on you. Fight like your life depends on it, because it does. I've always been a proponent of carrying some type of weapon for self-defense, but you also have a plan of action.
How do I hire you? Do you ever work pro bono?
Contact my website: www.olympianinvestigativeservices.com. I wish that my financial situation was such that I could afford to not charge anyone for my services, but as of now that is not the case. I can assure you that no one will work harder for the money.
You're the kind of guy I could date! Are you available?
I thought one of the biggest shockers was Michael Jones "bombing" the polygraph test. Why was it not used in court?
It's not admissible in court. It is only probative in nature, helping to assist in the direction of an investigation.
Did he dump the entire suitcase or dump her body? How did the victim get out of the suitcase?
He dumped her body. I'm certain he pulled her out of the suitcase inside the trunk of the car. Michael Lee Jones is a big, powerful man and wouldn't have much difficulty with a victim of that size.
If he left with the body in the suitcase and didn't return with it, what did he use to take his clothing out when he checked out? Was there video of him checking out?
He kept the suitcase. There was no video of him checking out. I entered the case almost a year after the crime was committed. The only video retained was the day of the incident.
Why wasn't the hotel registry checked immediately after his name was learned to see if a "Mike Jones" was a guest at that hotel that evening? I would think the hotel records could have been subpoenaed for further information, such as permanent address or that associated with a credit card used to make the reservation (his or the employer's), to help narrow the search for him.
Tami, N.Y. After learning that Mike Jones was the man seen in the video, that is exactly what I did, and confirmed that he was a guest of the hotel. The difficult part was determining who the person in the video was at the time of the incident.
Did you feel any pressure to find a quick conclusion that would find your client (the hotel) blameless in the case?
I don't succumb to pressure. I have a clear understanding with all of my clients that I will try to determine what the truth is. If that revelation helps the client, all well and good. I will not direct, slant or alter a report of an investigation to make someone look good.
Was this the hardest case to crack that you have ever been involved with?
How has this case changed you and your family?
The phone rings a lot more.