None of that stopped her from traipsing the streets of one of America’s most dangerous cities as if she owned the joint. Eileen is fond of little sayings, epigrams that capture her beliefs. One is the answer to the question, “Does anything scare you?” She’s asked that frequently. Her answer is always, “Narrow minds and bigots scare me.” When your time is up on this earth, that’s it. Why worry?
She’s been working in law enforcement all her adult life. Eileen grew up in a big Catholic family in West Chester, and right out of high school, she got a job as a secretary to the Chester County D.A. She always thought she’d go to vet school, but ended up at the Police Academy, and worked in the county sheriff’s office and as a PI for another firm before starting hers. She’s got satellite offices in Wilmington and Maryland. She has more than 50 employees. A big part of the business is looking for missing people.
Eileen’s done well. She tools around in a Mercedes convertible. Her house, an open-beam beauty with three decks, is filled with knickknacks that say success and scream Eileen! There are small model sailboats and pictures of boats of all kinds—she owns a 38-foot yacht, docked in Maryland, which cost north of $400,000—and many, many, many pillows of brilliant hues, and a dining room where the sun streams in to strike burnished wood and exquisite crystal. There are also mermaids. Eileen, 58 years old, is very fond of mermaids. One in the kitchen the size of an eight-year-old girl sports a bronze body, a skirt of aqua Tiffany stained-glass scales, and water trickling from her fin to form a pool. Eileen hands me a heavy metal lighter, in the shape of a mermaid, with hands clasped over her head. “You’ll like this,” she laughs. When I flick it on, the mermaid’s nipples light up, as red as cherries.
All this makes it tough to know just what to think of Eileen. But a survey of law-enforcement folks she’s worked with—other PIs and sheriffs and a retired police chief—fetches a uniform answer: She’s top-notch. Eileen’s often tapped to give talks on investigative techniques to other PIs. She’s a member of what may be the world’s most elite snooping organization, Intelenet, whose 500 members rub shoulders by invitation only.
But back to one of her prime techniques, that business of relying on her gut or intuition or psychic ability. Eileen doesn’t have a comfortable name for it, and she knows how it might make her seem a little touched.
“It’s just a knowing,” she says. “I don’t know what other word to use. It’s a knowing within your soul, and years ago I would question it. I just don’t bother anymore.”
Her husband, a former cop in Indiana and Florida, now an insurance investigator, says she’s either a witch or an Indian. A retired PI from Ventura, California, named Steve Hendrick, who hired Eileen to find his mother a few years ago (he was adopted at birth), says her intuitive leaps of knowledge are, simply, “a gift.”