Something I Didn't Want To Know

jannieNovember 13, 2012

I tried doing a Yahoo search on a former neighbor. Well, not exactly a neighbor, but the now-grown daughter of my next door neigbors long ago. Both parents are long dead, I wanted to get in touch with Denise. According to the search results, she's now living in Indiana and has a criminal record. Yes, for a "price" I can see her criminal conviction record. I am not interested in bad news like that. For all I know, it was shoplifting as a teenager or something else that's none of my business. I am going to write her a letter in the next week and ask how she's doing. Have you ever contacted someone from your past like this? Are you glad or sorry you did?

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You may not want to know about her criminal record, but if I were searching out an old acquaintance, and found that, I'd hold off contacting her. Without knowing what the record is for, you COULD be opening yourself up to be scammed, robbed or having your identity stolen. Or having her show up on your doorstep one day, looking for a couch to surf.

If I were determined to touch base with this person I WOULD check into the record. You can do so for free, searching her state's criminal records.

I do agree that in some ways, I wouldn't want to know about that, but neither would I put myself at risk once I DID know there was a question.

Please, be very careful. People on drugs often steal from their friends, family and acquaintances. There are people out there who look to scam anyone they possibly can--an old friend would be considered ripe for picking. And yes, there are people who get into trouble once and learn their lesson and never do anything like that again--but you have no way of knowing, unfortunately.

Please, be careful about this. Take your time deciding what to do here, make sure you know what you're doing.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 9:53AM
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Where is this free place to check public/criminal records? Every one I checked, via, costs money.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 10:25AM
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You have to be a little creative with your googling.

But I found a way to search my state's criminal docket records for cases. You can also search what prison convicted criminals are serving their terms--if she was in prison, it should show up there (they have current and past inmates on my state's search, but they only keep the released ones on for a imited time. Newspapers are also a source of some info for this sort of thing.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 10:33AM
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I googled the name of a neighbor who is a problem to me. His son has the same name. The kid's pic came up on a mugshots web site. Now I know where he was for the past two years.

I don't think I would get in touch with Denise. I just like to let the past be the past. On the pther hand, some college friends from many years ago found me on FB and I was thrilled beyond words to hear from them. Hard to know what to do.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 11:10AM
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Were you close friends with Denise? Or at least very friendly?
I'm wondering why you feel the need to touch base with her now. She'd have to know you were Googling her and realize that you saw the conviction info. Awkward -- for her, least.

I have to add that if I were in her shoes, if someone I knew in passing -- my parents' neighbor lady -- were to reach out to me and ask how I've been doing, I'd find that a tad creepy. As in, what does she want from me?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 12:01PM
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Have you ever contacted someone from your past like this? Are you glad or sorry you did?

Ahhh...yes! That old adage of "let sleeping dogs lie" has a lot of merit. In a late night reminiscent moment, I, too, decided to reestablish contact with an old friend from whom I'd parted several years ago. I'd decided that perhaps the relationship still had worth until I succeeded in making the contact and realized that my instincts of years ago had been right. Some things in life are better left undisturbed and this was one of mine. We parted company...again...after a heroic attempt at re-establishing our original friendship.

Am I sorry I made the attempt? No...but it did squander a lot of energy that could have been put to better use.

Beyond my own experience, I do hope you note Azzalea's very wise advice. It didn't apply to my experience but I've seen cases...not involving me personally...were it should have been followed.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 1:22PM
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Sally Brownlee

My mother had a childhood pen pal in London. They became fast friends and maintained their correspondence for many years.
When her friend was diagnosed with cancer, my parents paid the way for her and her adult daughter to visit for their one and only face to face meeting.
After her pen pal passed, Mom tried to keep in touch with her daughter.
My mother, wanting to be a good friend agreed to help her daughter travel again to the US with aspirations of staying. She lived with my parents for a nightmarish 3 months.
Unbeknownst to anyone, her friends daughter had a drug addiction. She was doing and dealing drugs in my parents house!!
My folks could not be nicer, more middle-class America even if Hollywood wrote the script.
It was quite an ordeal to break ties with her...hopefully she never surfaces again.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 1:35PM
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Ditto what anne said. Deeply and truly ditto. I'm actually in the midst of doing it a second time. Why? I keep asking myself why?!

I can only think you might want closure for some reason, and for that, I'd contact her. Since she wasn't the friend, I couldn't see you being all that close. If it was something that could be said and didn't require any response, you could write the letter and deposit it without a return address from a neighboring town so that the postmark wouldn't give you away? Maybe. It's the best I have! Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 1:35PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

Also there are many people with the same name, those search sites like you referenced are certainly not the most accurate and they don't care the point is to provide you with some enticing tidbits to suck you in and get your money. I certainly would not provide them my credit card information.

I am on the step away from this band wagon.

As mentioned arrests and jail time is public records and is available for free. I had a great friend that decided to try to locate her first husband from years ago because her son was asking about him. He had been a heroin addict and she really figured he was dead. Turns out he had been in prison for extremely serious crimes.
Long story short the SOB reached out and put his sick talons into the boy, took him from his mother, ran off to North Dakota with him and some skank he had working for him.
It was horrible, cost her every bit of money she had hiring investigators and attorneys. In the end when she finally got her son back he was on drugs and a completely different kid.
It is a long drawn out story of tragedy and it all started with an Internet search.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 3:14PM
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Whatever you do, just be careful and don't release any information. Maybe get a hotmail address to communicate and not release your real/current email address.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 3:27PM
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oh raven, you're truly breaking my heart. That is so awful. Poor baby.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 3:41PM
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If you really want to know-

Google: Offender search indiana

The state's data base should come up (look for .gov sites). Public record. Free.

A criminal record may be for something as simple as being charged for watering your lawn on the incorrect day.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 4:03PM
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Maybe I shouldn't have even looked for her. I won't be contacting her. We were just neighbors, not close friends, and we were about the same age. Thanks everyone for the advice.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 4:41PM
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I found the data base for Florida and it costs $24.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 5:24PM
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Kayjones, here's a Florida link. Free.

Here is a link that might be useful: Florida offenders

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:20PM
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I just contacted a friend from 20 years ago, and now I'm doubting myself. Like Anne said, there's a reason the relationship ended. I said what I wanted to say to her, which was to apologize for acting like a jerk at the end of the friendship. I told her that I would call her when I went "home" for Christmas, but I just don't know. We are just different people in different stages of life.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:43PM
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The first boy I ever kissed. I googled his name....his picture came up....licensed sex offender. :(

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 6:22AM
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Seems to me much depends on how you would react. It's a pretty good bet that you've both changed over the years and maybe you'll be closer or maybe you'll be farther apart. If the person is much younger, perhaps they'll be involved more in their own life, raising kids, work, hobbies, etc so you might not get a lot of time. If that sort of thing would bother you, don't do it. If it wouldn't bother you and you really are interested, I'd say go ahead.

The issue of their arrest, to presume that they'd "know" or "think" that you'd know is pretty presumptuous. If it's a concern, maybe you should find out what it's about. Sounds like you don't care so no big deal.

I'm concerned as anyone about personal safety and the like but I don't run scared thinking that everyone in the world will attack me. Checking with someone to see how they're doing is a pretty LOW likelihood of great danger or of them camping out on your doorstep or moving in with you, unless you want it.

There's been a couple people I've wanted to touch base with over the years. On research I've found some are dead. Others I didn't find, though I didn't search too hard either.

Good luck with whatever decision you make.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 1:41AM
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