Freddia and Michael Pritchett met each other at a social event in 2010 and fell madly in love; it wasn’t long before they moved in with each other and, within a year, the two were happily married. Soon after their marriage, they had a baby boy together, further cementing their relationship and driving them to do the best they could for their new family.
Unfortunately, however, raising the child took its toll on them, leading to constant bickering, arguments about finances, resentment and jealousy – an atmosphere that both Freddia and Michael knew was unhealthy for the baby.
After careful consideration and nearly three years of continuous fighting, the couple decided to separate. Given their circumstances, Freddia and Michael were grounded in their hometown, Warrnambool for roughly a year, with Michael renting a smaller house just a few minutes away and Freddia keeping the family home until the divorce went through.
The divorce took months to finalise as the pair argued over who got what, who’d look after their son and for how long – Michael suggested that he have the main share of their son’s custody as he was the family breadwinner, working as a successful engineer across many of Victoria’s farms and Freddia having temporarily retired from the workforce after she became pregnant. She was adamant, however, that her and her new partner, a man she’d met at a coffee shop just a few months earlier, would be capable of caring for the child by presenting themselves as “effective” mother and father figures, whilst Michael was alone.
Unable to reach a verdict, Michael and Freddia made an appointment to have their local child custody court decide on their behalves, with Freddia determined that she and her new partner would be granted full custody. Little did she know how fair the courts would be; the separated couple was granted an equal share in the custody, with a 50-50 split in the time each was supposed to spend with their son.
Unhappy with the outcome, Freddia, her son and boyfriend, Dean Simmons made a break for it, leaving Warrnambool and Michael behind to seek a brighter future within the confines of Victoria’s capital, Melbourne.
As they hadn’t informed Michael of their actions, nor anyone else for that matter, including Freddia’s mother, Michael arrived at their old home the following Saturday to pick Tanna up. Nobody answered the door and he wasn’t able to reach Freddia on the phone. After sending countless messages, leaving voicemails and getting in touch with Gemma, Freddia’s mother, he became worried about their whereabouts, knowing full-well that Freddia wasn’t happy with the outcome of the court order.
Distraught, angry and hurt, Michael decided to get in touch with Precise Investigation, enquiring as to whether we’d be able to help him locate his family and potentially in reacquiring his son, legally. The call led to a brief meeting at Michael’s home where he shared all the information he had with one of Precise Investigation’s foremost skip tracing and location specialists.
Within just one week, our dedicated support team was able to uncover a few traces of information that gave our field agent some insight as to where the family may have landed. Dean’s active social media presence along with an ad he placed on Gumtree.com.au for a sublease agreement was all it took to reveal their whereabouts, following which Precise Investigation set up a surveillance operation to gather evidence as to whether the family were living at the property and, if so, to determine their routine.
Over the course of four days, our investigator was only able to capture footage of Dean coming and going from the property, on one occasion bringing groceries home that seemed to be far more than one person could manage to consume – a hint that Freddia and Tanna may be inside.
On the fifth day, a Tuesday, Freddia was seen leaving the property with her son, getting into a car and driving to a crèche in a nearby suburb. There, she was recorded signing Tanna up for day-care, which later turned out to be an ongoing commitment, with Freddia dropping him off every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for the following two weeks.
After the second week, the routine seemed to be rigid enough for us to inform Michael of a potential window of opportunity. The following Sunday, the investigator met with Michael in a hotel in Melbourne, where we presented him with all of the information we had, along with video footage and photographs of our findings. Michael decided that he’d make his move the next day, after Freddia dropped Tanna at the crèche – it was imperative that our investigator follow him to record and monitor the situation as he interacted with crèche staff and potentially his wife, should they inform her of his presence at the day-care.
The next morning, Michael drove with the investigator to the crèche where they watched as Freddia dropped their son at the center. Giving her some time to drive further away, Michael hopped out of the car and went over to speak with the center staff and reclaim his son.
Our investigator recorded the entire interaction as to provide Michael with legal protection and evidence of any malicious, illegal or otherwise noteworthy circumstances that may have arisen through. As Michael began talking to the receptionist, Tanna spotted him and came running out of an adjacent classroom to give his father a huge hug. Michael went on to explain the situation, which called for the nursery’s director to discuss the situation further. Unwilling to give Tanna to Michael, he was forced to present the Ms Hitt with all of the court documentation, along with divorce papers and a copy of Tanna’s birth certificate, urging her to call the Police as his ex-wife had actively broken the law in breaching her court orders.
After numerous calls and roughly an hour’s discussion, Michael managed to convince the crèche to let him take Tanna with him, his son seeming happier than ever to be able to leave with his father.
The investigation came to an end after our operative was able to successfully locate Tanna and provide Michael with the means to effectively reclaim him, despite Freddia’s obvious attempts to shun her ex-husband from her son’s life.
Precise Investigation has helped hundreds of couples to work through their matrimonial issues and resolve any problems that may have arisen through potentially unjust child custody orders. If you feel that you have been unfairly treated during your last child custody battle, or you know your partner to be breaching his or her court orders:
Call Precise Investigation today on 1300 856 011 for a professional, Private Investigation Service
While this particular case was specific to Melbourne and Warrnambool, Precise Investigation has operatives stationed across the country to provide clients in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart and even the more remote reaches of Australia with discrete and highly effective private investigation services. Get in touch with us today and see what we can do for you.
Please note: all names, locations and identifying characteristics of any people, places or professions mentioned in this article have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.