4'11" South Texas woman considered world's best bounty hunter
LOCKHART, Texas - The bright lights of Hollywood are now shining on the small Texas town of Lockhart.
Right now a reality series is in the works about a woman who's been called the world's best bounty hunter - tracking down the felons and fugitives police can't find.
Oh, and did we mention she's only 4'11"?
So we went to Lockhart to find out what has Michelle Gomez standing tall and grabbing the attention of Hollywood.
"I do things a different way," Gomez told us from inside the offices of White Star Consulting. It’s here, at her home, where she keeps all her case files. "I'm not a cop. Not an attorney. I have my own little tricks. I'm a skip tracer. We locate information faster."
Gomez recently spent the weekend on assignment in Louisiana. She’d been hired to find a man accused of stealing a champion horse three years ago.
"He was unable to get served," Gomez later explained. "Nobody could find him."
Gomez found him and the horse - an Arabian stallion - in less than three days.
"My whole attitude changes from nice girl to ‘Let’s go'. I'm very demanding. I have to puffer up." She paused, then laughed. "Even if I stay at 4'11."
Gomez says being short in stature works to her advantage in a big way.
"You’d never think that I'm a bounty hunter and will come after you!"
The 47-year-old mother has spent the past two decades crisscrossing the globe. She’s part private investigator, party bounty hunter, part skip tracer.
"There are a lot of skip tracers," Gomez told us. "But I'm a very good one."
Desperate clients turn to her to find the people and property it seems no one else can.
"They call me when it’s already too late, and they’re already two to three months out, on the run. I locate heavy machinery, yachts, planes."
She works as many as 15 active cases at any given time.
"This one's in San Diego," Gomez said, pointing at a map. "This is an outlet where the cartel is moving from. I’m watching them online, and I know their every move."
Some cases are more dangerous than others.
"I don't take them lightly, because there are some with cartel. There are some that are dealing with murder."
Like the fugitive she recently helped catch in San Antonio.
"He was screaming for all his homies to come,” she recalled. "And I'm like, 'Ok, I'm dead. I am dead today. You know, today is my day of death.' They will shoot you. And they don't care."
Gomez says the key to her success -- to making sure a dangerous job never turns deadly -- is the element of surprise.
"I change up. And you do not recognize me."
Blending in. Adapting to her environment. Changing the way she talks on the phone and the way she looks in person.
"Pigtails," Gomez said pointing to her hair. "I'll get a wig on, I'll put a hat on, I'll throw it backwards. I'll wear gear like I'm going to go skateboarding. And if I have to get into a smaller 16 or 17-year-old figure...I mean, I'm little."
Now Hollywood has taken notice. Click on the video at the top of this article, and you’ll see clips courtesy of Daniel Ostroff Productions with Lightbox.
Ostroff has the rights to Gomez's life story, and they're now developing a reality series all about her adventures in skip tracing.
"I keep all that Hollywood stuff out of my head.” Gomez told us with a grin. "Because I have enough on my own."
Even 15 years later, the thrill of the chase never gets old for the biggest little bounty hunter in Texas.
"I'm writing an email to my client, and I'm like, 'Yo, I found the guy! He's right here. Right now.' And they’re like, 'Ok, well, calm down, Michelle. Calm down.' It gets exciting."