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Crime News

Is Found's Heroine Gabi Mosely, Who Helps Save Missing People, Based Off a Real Person?

Found's Gabi Mosely is the tough advocate we'd all want if our own loved one went missing, but is the relentless public relations specialist based on a real person?

By Jill Sederstrom

When it comes to the missing, there’s no tougher advocate than Found’s Gabi Mosely. 

As a former kidnapping victim herself, Gabi, along with her crisis management team, will stop at nothing to bring those who’ve disappeared back home to their families, even if that means deploying some rather unconventional tactics

But is Gabi, portrayed in the new NBC show by Shanola Hampton, based on a real person? 

Is Found based off a true story?

No, Gabi is a fictional character. However, Found and Gabi Mosely herself are inspired by similar real-life missing person firms. 

These firms, often led by private investigators, former law enforcement, or even volunteers, offer families another alternative. Often, these organizations either work alongside police or jump in when investigations stall out in an effort to help families bring their missing loved ones  home. 

The writers of Found didn’t base their uniquely talented crisis management team off any specific real-life firm, but there are firms and private investigators across the country committed to helping families find the answers they desperately seek.

RELATED: A Sinister Kidnapper, a Tough Missing Persons Expert — Meet the Cast of New NBC Drama Found

Kyle and Brooke Morris turned to one such firm after their 15-year-old daughter disappeared from a Mavericks game on April 8, 2022. Kyle Morris told CBS News Texas that just before half-time his teenage daughter got up to go to the bathroom and never returned. 

They immediately turned to police for help, but they didn’t feel the case was getting the attention it deserved. That’s when they reached out to JB Rice, the executive director of the Texas Counter-Trafficking Initiative, a Houston non-profit aimed at finding missing teens at risk. 

Within hours, Rice found photos of their daughter being advertised for prostitution miles away in Oklahoma City. 

“My jaw just fell to the floor,” Brooke said. 

Working in conjunction with the Oklahoma City Police, authorities were able to rescue the teen just days later. They ultimately arrested four individuals in connection with the sex trafficking. As of March 2023, the news outlet reported that three had been convicted.

The non-profit Adventures with Purpose also made headlines in 2022 when it used specialized sonar equipment and diving skills to locate the body of missing 16-year-old Kiely Rodni, who was found submerged in the Prosser Reservoir inside her SUV, NBC News reported at the time. Rodni had disappeared earlier that month after leaving a party, sparking a national search effort to find the teen.

Her death was later classified as an accidental drowning.

In South Carolina, a project known as The Unfinished started in 2017 to investigate unsolved cases for families at no charge. 

The group’s efforts helped spark a new law enforcement investigation into the 1986 kidnapping and murder of 4-year-old Jessica Gutierrez and eventually led to a suspect’s arrest, according to local ABC station WOLO.

Private investigator Brian Setree, who works with The Unfinished and is a former member of the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, said the organization’s goal is to find “a little nugget” of something authorities may not have uncovered before. 

“Once they take on the case or pick it back up, we stay out of the way,” he said.

Much like Found’s Zeke Wallace (played by Arlen Escarpeta) whose past abduction trauma has left him agoraphobic, there are also a growing number of cyber-sleuths who have helped to solve decades-old missing persons cases without ever leaving home. These armchair detectives pour through records, police reports, and even genealogy information to help name victims who’ve never been identified or find potential suspects. 

“I think you can really work from anywhere,” Hanna “Bree” Hanson, a volunteer with Uncovered, a website dedicated to helping solve cold cases, told KCRA in May.

While its true Gabi Mosely exists only in the realm of television, her story is certainly inspired by many real-world victories.

To see just who Gabi and her team save next, tune in to Found Tuesdays on NBC.