Missing persons expert Troy Dunn (The Locator, APB With Troy Dunn) tracks down long-lost loved ones, helps repair fractured relationships and often provides closure for long-held pain. And, tonight in his new series on UP, Last Hope With Troy Dunn, the investigator is continuing his mission of “helping one half of the world find the other half,” with his toughest cases ever.
“Being very true to the title,” says Dunn, “we aren’t taking on cases from people who we would have done in the past … We’re trying to help people who have reached the point of last hope. They’ve called everyone, they’ve done everything they can, or there’s an incredibly urgent, pressing reason to do it. So that we can provide hope to somebody who is at the edge of giving up on everything.”
Dunn uses technology and social media in the gripping series, but says now that search technology is accessible to everyone, he often relies on low-tech “boots on the ground” investigation to find the unfindable. “We end up doing it old-school,” he says. “We revert to genealogy and obituaries, and very creative ways of calling friends and relatives to extract information without interrupting and disrupting lives. We pull out the voice-changer.”
But Dunn is also excited to help more families than ever before on the UP TV website, where viewers can help solve cases. “Every single case becomes potentially solvable when the army of locators grows from me and my little team to hundreds of thousands. We will have the largest team of people-finders in the world when our viewers become a part of the process.” He says, “We’re going to use Last Hope… to empower other people to not just watch the show, but to become ‘Little Locators.’”
Dunn says that every viewer has the potential to reunite families. “It’s incredibly humbling to me to see that cases my team and I might have spent 8 or 9 months on, can be solved in minutes by our army of viewers.”
Dunn says that by one estimation, he and his team have helped reunite over 40,000 people. “It seems like a lot,” he says, “but it’s a lot less than I wished it was. I wished we could help in the hundreds of thousands, and if our viewers help us out, we can reach those kinds of numbers. Once I can release cases out to the “Little Locators,” I think not only will we help more people, but I think we will solve cases that up until this moment, were literally unsolvable. That’s when it gets exciting!
He continues, “And we’re going to post those successes on our website and on our show. I want to recognize the viewers and the fans that have helped solve cases because I think it will help empower more people to become more involved with us.”
There are several ways that Troy’s army of “Little Locators” can get involved with Last Hope With Troy Dunn. “You can get the app,” Dunn says of his Apple and Android smartphone app, Troy Alert. “I didn’t name it!” he laughs. “You can follow us on Facebook. And if you think it’s interesting to watch the show, just you wait my friend. Wait until you get a text from somebody on my team saying that you’ve just solved one of our cases. It’s so exciting; it beats all video games!”
And for people who are in a desperate search for a loved one, Dunn encourages you to contact him. “The fastest way is to go to UPtv.com or TroytheLocator.com,” he says. “There is a rapid-form there, that people can simply click on, and fill it out. All they need to do is tell us who they need to find, and why it’s important. In 15-20 minutes it’s being read by somebody.” Members of Troy’s network will reach out from there. And who knows, perhaps you will appear on a future episode of Last Hope With Troy Dunn!
In the series’ first episode, a family searches for the son and brother who was given up for adoption decades earlier. The family’s exhaustive search has come up empty, and they turn to Troy and his team for help. It’s a case that surprises even Troy, who admits he’s seen almost everything, and leads to an unforgettable reunion.
“The longer I’m in television, the more I realize how different we are from other shows, says Dunn. “I know that we keep being put into that category of ‘reality shows’ but the more I meet people who make reality TV, the more I realize theirs is ‘reality’ and ours is real.
Last Hope With Troy Dunn > UP > Thursdays at 9pm ET beginning Sept. 10
All images courtesy of UP