My name is Justin Billard and I am a Licensed Private Detective in Massachusetts. I live and work just outside of Boston and there is a case right now where OpenROV could be used in a very real way to help right now in a missing persons investigation. Unfortunately at this point, it looks like it will be a recovery effort from the water.
I have spoken with David Lang, who was extremely helpful and he suggested I harness the power of the OpenROV community, since a commercial Rstrong textOV is not yet available.
On February 13, 2016, a Massachusetts man, Zachary Marr was out celebrating his 22nd birthday with his friends in Downtown Boston. He left the bar in the early morning hours and has not been seen since. Authorities believe, based on video surveillance footage in the area that Zach most likely accidentally went into the water in the Boston Harbor. This area is protected from tidal currents, so it is believed that his body is still in a fairly specific area, although searches to date by dive teams have yet to locate him.
I have worked missing persons cases in the past, one being that of Franco Garcia, a Boston College student who went missing in similar fashion in 2012, near Boston College. I was heavily involved in that case, working 15 hour days for many weeks, all of my hours and out-of-pocket expenses donated by me, to the family at no cost. The authorities searched the Reservoir with helicopters, a boat, divers and sonar and did not locate Franco. Seven weeks after he went missing, his body was spotted approximately 17 feet from shore, in 9 feel of water. At the time, I had no access to an underwater ROV at the time. if I did, Franco’s family would have had closure much sooner than they did.
So, what my dilemma is, is that I am a trained Detective. Not an engineer or software programmer. I’m 36, so I understand and use technology effectively, but I can’t really just buy a kit like OpenROV and hope that I get it right. I am looking for someone who is in Massachusetts that may be willing to help by bringing an ROV that they already have built and help me search the areas along the shoreline that are of importance. Originally, I would have bought a Trident, which is user friendly out of the box, but the release date is still many months away.
So that’s it. If you can help in any way, please feel free to contact me on my cell phone (857) 523-0925 or on email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I appreciate anything anyone can offer. I know firsthand what closure means to a family in this situation. I have yet to contact the Marr family, as I wanted to see what technical resources I could gather before I do that.
Truly, thank you in advance. -Justin Billard