Call Kurtis Investigates: Psychic Detectives

TRACY (CBS13) — The 2009 surveillance video from a Tracy mobile home park shows an innocent Sandra Cantu skipping in her Tracy neighborhood. They are the last images of the 8-year-old alive.

“Please whoever has her, let her go,” her mother pleaded before cameras. “She needs to come home to her mom who very much misses her.”

After ten days of gut wrenching agony, searches, vigils and news conferences, Sandra’s lifeless body was located in a suitcase in a nearby pond.

Tracy Police Detective Tim Bower says of the 1,400 tips that poured in during the investigation, 300 to 400 of them came from psychics.

“She had a vision of a child near railroad tracks,” Bower reads from a tip sheet.

He says none of these psychics were accurate, although some did say Sandra was in a body of water. Detective Bower says those tips aren’t helpful because seventy percent of the world is water.

“Do they want to tell me an irrigation pond? Do they want to tell me a swimming pool, a backyard pool, a fishing hole? That’s a good tip,” Detective Bower said.

Marc Klaas, whose daughter Polly was abducted from her Petaluma home and murdered nearly two decades ago, says psychics are predatory.

“They’re vile and evil. They have absolutely nothing to offer besides false hope in a missing child’s case,” said Klaas who now runs the Klaas Kids Foundation.

After Shawn Hornbeck disappeared from his Missouri neighborhood in 2002, self proclaimed psychic Sylvia Browne of Campbell, California told his family on the Montel Show that Shawn was dead and within twenty miles of home. Shawn was found four years later, alive and living with his kidnapper.

Published reports state Browne apologized in a newspaper interview saying, “I’m terribly sorry that this happened, but I think my body of work stands by itself. I’ve broken case after case…I think it’s cruel to jump on this one case in which I was wrong.”


Sacramento psychic detective Debra Dominique claims she received the gift as a child and says she helped police find Laci Peterson’s body. She says she’s done some work for the FBI many times. What she doesn’t know is as we meet with her at a coffee shop, we’re undercover. Our producer has a picture of a ten-year-old boy named Matthew, wanting to know what happened to him.

After staring at his photo, she uses a special pendulum claiming it allows her to talk with the dead.

“They’re saying he’s not alive anymore,” Debra tells our producer.

She tells a tale of how a man on drugs kidnapped Matthew and sold him to a rich man where she sees him alive until he was fifteen. She says he died while trying to escape and his body can be found in water near an overpass in Europe.

“I see him by water,” she says.

She then claims she’s connected with Matthew directly. She says he’s wearing white and is in heaven.

But we know that’s not true because Matthew, the boy in the photo is a CBS13 worker and he was sitting in the booth in the coffee shop right behind her. After the hour long reading, our producer paid Debra her $160 charge. I meet her outside.

“I understand you thought he was deceased,” I ask. “Yes, I believe he could be,” she responds.

I reveal the boy in the photo is alive and standing right behind her.

“That’s great. Oh my goodness, that’s great,” she said.

“How can you say he’s deceased?” I asked.

“That’s what I was feeling,” she responded.

“You said he was in Europe. You said he was taken. Weren’t those a bunch of lies?”

“No. At the time they weren’t.”

After I questioned her about taking money from families, she immediately returned our $160 and apologized.


The FBI’s Chris Hopkins is a 23-year veteran and has worked several high profile missing persons cases including Sandra Cantu’s.

“We don’t seek psychics and we don’t utilize psychics for any of our investigations,” said Special Agent Hopkins.

“Has a psychic ever helped solve a missing person’s case?” I asked.

“The FBI is unaware of any case that’s been resolved with information from a psychic.”


Marc Klaas thinks psychics are looking for fame and fortune hoping one of their stories may turn out to be true, “which will certainly raise their profile and get them on the cover of tabloid magazines if nothing else,” he said.

Detective Bower confirms one psychic tried to collect reward money after Sandra Cantu was found in the pond. The tipster said she deserved the money because she tipped off authorities that Sandra was located in water. Tracy Police did not pay the psychic the reward money.

“The last thing you need is a distraction when searching for a missing child,” Klaas said.

We checked Debra Dominique’s claim of helping find Laci Peterson’s body with the FBI and Modesto Police Department. Modesto Police say she did not help them. They do confirm a woman by that name called in a tip that Laci’s remains were near the San Mateo Bridge. Investigators say that tip came six days after the media started reporting of searches in the San Francisco Bay. Laci’s body washed up ashore approximately twenty miles away near Richmond’s Point Isabel.

After our sting, we emailed Debra asking her to supply us cases she’s helped solve, and the names of contacts within law enforcement agencies who could back her claims. She did not respond.

More from Kurtis Ming
  • mikey

    lol !! FRAUD!!!

  • John Welsh

    WOW, what a weak, one sided article. I can see that this reporter values a balanced story that presents more than one aspect of what it is to be a human being in this world. Great job sir!

  • Steve

    Great story. Thanks to the Call Kurtis team for investigating this topic.

  • moderatesense

    This reinforces what most intellegent people know already. These self proclaimed psychics are just a bunch of quack con artists. Its really sad to see them take advantage of people and give them false hope.

    Isn’t it funny how these psychics are always right AFTER the facts of the matter have been revield. Why don’t they ever predict a terrible event BEFORE it happens?

  • Marlene DiPinto

    Next, please expose more upper Government misconduct, that is directly affecting the economy of middle America . Lets work on Bigger Issues that touch everyone’s
    well being. The public needs to know. ( Like best ways to get America working again. Getting rid of the EPA?.. why we need to control the EPA..)

    We really need to encourage more positive actions. Even reporting all the
    wonferful things everyday people are doing right now I believe it’s a positive form
    of peer pressure!!!!

  • R-Truth

    As opposed to Mark KlASS, another clown frauding people for fame and money.

  • rmcsticks

    only a fool goes to one of these fools

  • BlueFairy

    I dont know that you guys get the level of desparation that occurs when a loved one goes missing. And the guilt-what if you dont roll over every stone and explore every possibility? That is where these shysters make their money. They prey on people at the most horrificly vulnerable time of their lives. It should be against the law to grift like this. As Mr Kurtis noted, the MO is that the MP is deceased and their body is near water. Over and Over and Over again.


    this a fraud case, and the police need to arrest her… this fake needs to be sentence her to the max to set a exsample…they have child&senior abuse….this is abuse

  • still kicking

    So what’s the difference between a psychic and an economist?

  • patricia hull

    ok some are fake some are not I shook a guys hand at work years ago just met him when I worked at Walmart . Told him his sister was dead and that she was abused and then murdered left in water and 2 young kids would find her in a dark place by water like a ditch or creek near her school. this was a case that his sister was mentally disabled and handicapped Sylvia Brown was hired by the family and had the same vision about the water they found his sisters body where I said and she said to look. they laid her to rest and the guy and I became good friends but his parents were freaked out about me. Now this happened in North Highlands she was lured out of her special school where there were lots of creeks over by american river college and winding way area.

  • Your Big Daddy

    Ya I had a reading from each one of these readers too they are all scam artist and frauds. Watch out for them!!!!

  • jackie

    People who,have had NED’s do have heightened intuitions that they never had before however but not enough to go into the fortune telling business by a long shot. People who prey on those brokenhearted folks missing loved ones are the lowest of the low con artists..

  • sassafras

    The pyhic who said that Lacy was in water is a fake. Every adult with just a half a brain from Stockton Ca and every city between there and San Francisco knew that the first five minutes while Scott opened his lying mouth about her disappearance that HE had dumped her some where in the Delta or bay, no phyic needed, the same thing with precious little Sandra there is water in every direction around Tracy Ca.

  • R.W.

    Guess I’m not the only one that feels that way

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