The Columbia Investigations team of licensed private detectives is rounded out by individuals from a broad variety of backgrounds, skill sets, education, life and professional experience. The majority of our investigators carry degrees in fields related to sociology, criminal justice and psychology. Your investigative team will be designed to fit the specific needs of your case, hand picked to bring you unparalleled results. 

About Melinda Kidder, Columbia Investigations Owner

Melinda is the owner and lead investigator of Columbia Investigations. A graduate of the University of Missouri at Kansas City, Melinda holds a Bachelors Degree in the Administration of Justice, earning the Edward Tomich Memorial Award and Honors from Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Sociology Honor Society. In addition, she was one class short of a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and plans to continue Graduate coursework in Psychology and Law.

Prior to opening her own firm in Columbia, Missouri, Melinda worked as a public safety officer on the Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri, as a Loss Prevention Detective for a major department store (before being recruited into Human Resources & Customer Service Management) and as a Private Detective under another agency’s license. However, her prior volunteer work as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and Guardian ad Litem in the Jackson County Family Court, working with a team to help child victims of abuse was the most rewarding work of all. Both Melinda and her agency have been sought after for print and radio interviews on topics ranging from child trafficking to targeted individuals. Melinda has also guest lectured at the University of Missouri – Columbia (MU) on the topic of privacy laws as it relates to private investigations and journalists.

Melinda lives with her family in a quiet country setting enjoying the peaceful surroundings. A fourth degree black belt master instructor, she also utilizes this country acreage as the setting for her martial arts classes. She donated her school to a charitable organization in 2007 in order to do more good for the local and global communities through martial arts & safety mentorship and leadership training. Melinda believes that communication, balance and integrity should be the building blocks of a successful life and overcoming obstacles. A powerful communicator, she uses her intelligence, experience and ingenuity to assist others in achieving their own successes and quests for truth.


WAD W.A.D. – World Association of Detectives

With origins dating back to 1921, W.A.D. is the longest established and largest association of its kind in the world. W.A.D. was formed as a joint venture by the combined membership of the World Association of Detectives and the International Secret Service Association for the following purposes of promoting and maintaining highest ethical practices in the profession of private investigator or security service; selecting for membership only those individuals whose personal and professional backgrounds and business affiliations have strictly observed the precepts of truth, accuracy and prudence; eliminating unreliable, incompetent and irresponsible members of the profession; fostering and perpetuating spirit of cooperation among its members and with all those engaged in law enforcement; and furthering and establishing a mutual feeling of trust, goodwill and friendship among agencies throughout the world.

F.L.I.P. – Female Legal & Investigative Proessionals

An informal association of women working individually and in teams to assist the public and law enforcement in a wide array of legal and investigative specialties. Our members include private investigators, law enforcement officers, attorneys, handwriting analysts and questioned document experts, computer forensics experts, skip tracers, drug and cadaver dog trainer/handlers, bail enforcement agents, process servers, auto repossession professionals and more. Our reach extends throughout the United States, and around the world.


F.L.I.P. Justice – Forensic, Legal & Investigative Professionals 

We have hundreds of volunteers in the United Sates, and around the world. As we are able to fund more cases, we expand our activities. As before, we assist the general public with civil and criminal cases, working alone or with law enforcement. We also assist law enforcement, solving cold cases, locating missing people, exposing fraud and more. Members include private investigators, law enforcement officers, attorneys, handwriting analysts and questioned document experts, computer forensics experts, skip tracers, drug and cadaver dog trainer/handlers, bail enforcement agents, process servers, auto repossession professionals and much, much more.

N.C.I.S.S. – National Council of Investigation & Security Services

The NCISS, Inc., is a cooperative effort of those companies and associations responsible for providing private security and investigation services to the legal profession, business community, government and the public. Each day we find an increasing number of problems confronting the orderly growth of our profession. These problems include, among others: overly restrictive legislation regarding training and standards, proliferation of legislation requiring local licensing, public misunderstanding and misinformation on the role and contribution of private investigators and security services, and an uninformed media. It is the role of NCISS to meet and solve these problems while seeking to uncover and recommend action on any hidden potential problems which may have an effect on our profession.

N.R.E.P. – National Registry of Environmental Professionals

N.R.E.P. is dedicated to professionally and legally enhancing the recognition of those individuals who possess the education, training, and experience as qualified environmental engineers, technologists, managers, technicians, and scientists. We aim to consolidate such recognition into a single, viable source so that the public at large, the government, insurers, and employers can easily see, understand, and justify the importance of these individuals. Columbia Investigations owner, Melinda Kidder, currently holds the N.R.E.P. specialized certification of CESCO (Certified Environmental Safety & Compliance Officer) and Former NREP SCADA Committee Member until the committee’s end date.

I.E.I.A. – International Environmental Intelligence Agency

IEIA certifications programs are recognized by many international, federal, state and local governmental agencies, the military and industry as identifying individuals with the capability, education and work experience to do the job right.  IEIA  is  a  legally recognized certification and accreditation organization, which has as its mission to provide legal and professional recognition of individuals possessing education, training and experience as environmental managers, engineers, technologists, scientists and technicians.

Since 2001 to present date, IEIA has provided the skilled professional a professionally recognized credential as one would advance in their career and receive appropriate recognition for their highly revered qualification as they become tapped as the “The Elite” of their profession. IEIA has been a leader in offering highly professional certification programs through experience, specialty verification, examination and mentorship that has given the greatest personal and professional benefits to certified professionals.

Columbia Investigations owner, Melinda Kidder, is an I.E.I.A. H-SCADA Bio-Energy Field Professional and the IEIA Fellow in Bio-Engineering, Advanced Materials, and Nanotechnology in Applied Science & Engineering

I.S.P.L.A. – Investigative & Security Professionals for Legislative Action

The I.S.P.L.A is a proactive legislative action group which helps guide federal and state legislation to help benefit the investigative and security industries by providing a voice for the individual investigator and giving proper representation.