Laura Pettler & Associates

Casework & Forensic Services

Grounded by law. Guided by ethics.

For law enforcement, prosecutors, defense counsel, wrongful death attorneys, and families

We strive to be accurate, thorough, objective, and ethical in everything we do. None of these are about “us:” not the cops, not the lawyers, not the crime lab, or the witnesses. Cases are about the victims. Cases are about the defendants. Everyone’s lives and families should be treated equally and respectfully. We are not judges. We are not jurors. They are the only ones who truly weigh evidence and determine guilt or innocence.

LPA’s scientific death investigation methods minimize investigator bias and maximize probability for solvability and clearance.

Bring your case to LPA. Our online case management system keeps you informed about work on your case, monthly progress reports keep you up to date, and we always respect your budget.

LPA helps you prepare for the battlefield.
— Michael Parker

What is Scientific Death Investigation?

People ask us all the time, "how do you guys solve so many cases?" The answer is not as complicated as you might think. Most of the time, cases come into LPA having many or nearly all the pieces they need to move forward, but the pieces are not in the right order and the pieces have not been analyzed. Most often the investigations have been suspect-centered, which has caused the investigation to stall and go cold.

Most cold cases are not difficult to solve. Most hot cases are not difficult to solve. Where the problem comes in for investigators is not having the resources and skill set they need to solve the particular type of homicide they're dealing with.

If you have a specific problem with your aortic valve, you'd want to find the best of the best cardiac surgeon who specializes in aortic valve disorders instead of a general cardiac surgeon and you definitely wouldn't want to have your Primary Care Physician handle it. Detectives are generalists, not experts. They are like your Primary Care Physicians. When you have a specific illness or problem, they send you to a specialist. LPA is the specialist you come to for domestic violence homicides, staged homicides both hot and cold. You wouldn't want to come here for your hot and cold gang homicides, organized crime homicide, sexual serial killer homicides, and the like.


LPA is the only scientific death investigation firm to focus on “Special Operations”:

Tactical Casework:

  • Crime Scene Processing

  • Crime Scene Consulting

  • Crime Scene Reconstruction

  • Evidence Processing

Strategic Casework:

  • Crime Scene Analysis and Evaluation

  • Case Review

  • Special Ops (Intelligence Investigation)

  • Interview Techniques

  • Strategic Trial Consultation (including personalized online Go To Meetings) to plan courtroom strategy

LPA is victim-centered.

NOT SUSPECT-CENTERED. LPA investigates deaths using a scientific system called Pettler's Victim-Centered Death Investigation Methodology (VDCIM). VCDIM focuses on the victim in a death investigation, murder case, or missing person case. VCDIM is a six stage process that keeps the investigation organized, prevents steps from being missed, has built in safeties to ensure every piece of data is analyzed, and categorizes data so the investigation is constantly moving forward. 

Before you hire any investigator: Authentic v. “Fakes”

There are legitimate reasons why private investigators and industry professionals often get a bad rap. There are also genuine reasons why law enforcement is often leery of working with private investigators. Before you hire a private investigator, death investigation firm, or consultation agency, consider this:

  • True industry professionals who are highly educated, extremely well-trained, and come with years of successful experience don’t have to talk to establish credibility

  • “Fakes” don’t have the chops, so they talk, talk, talk, trying to prove themselves in the industry

  • True industry professionals don’t seek fame and followers

  • “Fakes” will crawl over the backs of their clients and cases to gain fame and followers

  • True industry professionals who’ve spent years in death investigation respect boundaries

  • “Fakes” know no boundaries and will do anything to achieve their goals

  • True industry professionals know that premature publicity can jeopardize the integrity of a case, create false leads, waste valuable fiscal and human resources, cause changes of venue due to pretrial publicity, cause a defendant not to get a fair trial, and the list goes on

  • “Fakes” don’t care about any of the above because it doesn’t align with their goals

  • True industry professionals don’t care about glory, credit, or accolades

  • “Fakes” will take credit for cases they never investigated or worse take credit for solved cases they didn’t solve

  • True industry professionals work with the media to build case awareness appropriately without jeopardizing the case

  • “Fakes” will try to sell you on running straight to the media with your case under the guise that they have the your best interest at heart

  • True industry professionals demonstrate their true intention by supporting law enforcement; they offer partnership to bring in support and resources towards justice for victims and answers for families

  • “Fakes” don’t offer solutions, they only throw stones without ever having done the job themselves

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of cases does LPA work? We are a forensic criminology based company that provides a new perspective on your case from crime scene to courtroom. We are retained primarily in possible staged cases, intimate partner homicides, domestic violence homicides, cold case homicides of all kinds, missing persons turned homicide, and occasionally assault cases.

Our agency is low on man-power and money, but we could really use a fresh set of eyes on our case and new ideas for how to move it forward on our own. Can LPA help us? Absolutely. Most of us are retired or former public service workers like yourselves. Therefore, LPA offers an affordable Case Review Plan to meet constraints of any budget...even the smallest budgets. We are here to provide a thorough review of your case, to help you cut through the white noise, and assist you in moving your case forward. Take advantage of LPA's FREE Case Consultation for Law Enforcement to learn more about what affordable payment plans LPA offers.

Who retains and pays LPA for service? Law enforcement agencies, civil attorneys representing victims in wrongful death suits, coroners, among other professionals are Clients of LPA along with the families of murdered or missing loved ones who pay for LPA's services so LPA can help the agency investigating their loved one's case. When a family pays for LPA's services so LPA can work in partnership with the agency working their loved one's case, LPA does not give case update information to the family. The investigating agency must be responsible for choosing what information the family is given at all times.