Mother credits PI for helping solve missing teen case

·3 min read

Jan. 26—The mother of an Owensboro teenager who went missing in December and was found weeks later in Texas said an Owensboro private investigator provided city police with the leads that led to her being found.

Elizabeth Bartolon, the mother of 14-year-old Alina Bartolon, said private investigator Louvinia Thomas identified the man that took the teen out of Owensboro, which resulted in OPD issuing an arrest warrant.

"She gave the police the information, so they could get a warrant for the guy's arrest," Elizabeth Bartolon said Tuesday.

Alina Bartolon was reported missing on Dec. 25 from her home on Florence Court.

Last week, troopers for the Texas Department of Public Safety arrested Emery Wayne Trombley, 21, of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Trombley is being held in Texas on a Kentucky warrant of felony custodial interference.

According to a Texas DPS statement, a state trooper pulled over Trombley's vehicle for a traffic violation on Jan. 19, near Childress, Texas.

DPS says Bartolon was with him, and that the trooper confirmed there was a warrant for Trombley for "kidnapping and harboring a runaway child."

Elizabeth Bartolon said the teen has been back in Owensboro since Saturday. The family contacted Thomas to investigate the disappearance.

"She did it for free; she wasn't interested in the money," Bartolon said. "She just wanted to help."

Thomas, who is in business in Owensboro as A+ Investigations, said she was contacted by the family on Jan. 4. Thomas said she contacted OPD, identified herself and asked about the case.

"Finally, (the detective) let me know his supervisors told him they weren't allowed to share any information on the case," Thomas said Monday.

Thomas is a licensed private investigator in Kentucky. Thomas' license is listed as active with the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Private Detectives, a government agency.

Becoming a private investigator requires an applicant to undergo a background check, file an application and pass a qualifying exam. Private investigators are governed by state law.

Thomas said she shared information she found about Alina Bartolon's disappearance with OPD. Emails Thomas provided show her sending information about communications allegedly between the teen and Trombley to the police department.

"She (Alina) has at least two different accounts," Thomas wrote in an Jan. 18 email. "You probably already have the history of the chat on Discord between the two of them? If not, let me know I will send it."

In an email sent the same day, Thomas sent OPD an address for Trombley in Colorado Springs, adding that Trombley had allegedly sent Bartolon a bracelet with Bartolon's name on the front and the inscription "I love you more" on the back.

In an email, Andrew Boggess, OPD's public information officer said, "This is still an open investigation involving multiple agencies. We can't comment further on it at this time."

When asked why the family contacted Thomas' office, Elizabeth Bartolon said: "It was taking quite a long time for the police to find her. I didn't feel they were doing as much as they could."

The period the teen was missing was difficult, Elizabeth Bartolon said.

"I didn't know if she was safe. I didn't know if she was being hurt or abused," she said. "I honestly didn't even know she was alive."

Thomas said she traveled to several states to check possible leads.

"The fact that (Alina) left her phone behind told me a lot," Thomas said. "I knew she was with someone older — at 14, the phone is your lifeline."

Thomas said the teen says "she was treated very well" while she was with Trombley.

A case file on Trombley was not listed in either the state or federal court system Tuesday. OPD did not answer questions about whether or when Trombley might be extradited to Kentucky from Texas.

Thomas said she knew the family couldn't pay for her services.

"I've always had that service mindset," she said. "...I'm glad they found her. I'm so glad they found this little girl."

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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