Feb 8, 2022 - News

Austin tween detective duo cracks cases

A flyer posted to a telephone pole about private investigators.
A flyer posted to a telephone pole in the Bouldin neighborhood. Photo: Asher Price/Axios

Two Austin preteens are determined to find your missing receipt.

Driving the news: Over the weekend we spotted this sign posted to a South Austin telephone pole — "intrepid tween detectives … the investigators who solve your mysteries" — and wanted desperately to know more.

  • Who were these sleuths?
  • What sorts of cases do they solve?
  • Could they find my keys?

Meet Maddie Baehr, 9, and Louisa Haynes, 10 (who will turn 11 in about three weeks) — friends from the private Long-View Micro School on West 24th Street.

  • They go by the names Bouldin Creek Investigators and Tarrytown Investigators.
Screenshot of young Austin detectives.
Louisa Haynes, left, and Maddie Baehr. Screenshots via Zoom with parental permission

What they're saying: "We really like solving crimes, any kind of cases, and we decided we want to put that to good use," Baehr, a third grader who lives in Tarrytown, told Axios.

  • "I really like finding stuff when things are lost and going on the hunt for them," she added.
  • "People have problems that need solving that aren't huge deals like murder mysteries that people might not want to go to the police for," Haynes, a fifth grader who lives in Bouldin, told Axios.

Between the lines: The pair has solved one big case so far.

  • Haynes' mother lost her $112 receipt for some H&M clothes she wanted to return.
  • This was at the Domain — it was a blustery day, and the receipt had "blown out of her pocket somehow," Haynes says.
  • A born gumshoe, her daughter retraced their steps — as they say in the trade — and discovered the document.
  • Plus: At school they have determined the identity of two other kids who sent and received "a weird sticky note" found in the library — "let's move on to Plan B," it said, ominously.

By the numbers: As the private detectives build up their client base, they're sticking with a relatively inexpensive business model to attract and retain clients.

  • The rate is $5 — per case.

Of note: To be licensed as a private investigator in Texas, you must be 18 years of age or older with no criminal history.

  • Yes, but: Just try detailing state beverage regulations to all those precocious lemonade stand operators.
  • Also: The duo could add an edgy third business name: Unlicensed Investigators.

What's next: A potential client has contacted them about a cross-light button "that makes a horrible clacking noise and could be demonic," Haynes told Axios.

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