Denise Diana Huddle

Denise was raised by her oil man father, who was fifty-three when she was born. He took Denise with him almost everywhere he went. Instead of cheerleading camp and home economics class, she grew up in her father’s office and in the oilfields, a world away from the nearest charm school.

After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in geology, she went to work in her father’s business. In the early months at her job, she attended a meeting where the topic was a missing landowner, the countless efforts to locate the woman over the past months, and the serious legal ramifications of the company’s inability to find her or her heirs. Denise excused herself from the meeting, snuck into her office, and started making phone calls to funeral homes near the well location. In fifteen minutes, she was on the woman’s trail and had found her heirs by the end of the week. That single experience changed the trajectory of her entire career.

While Denise was one of the few professional women working on drilling sites in the Texas oil fields in the 1980s, the attorney working to resolve the problem with the missing landowner she’d found reminded her that moving over to the land department meant working in air-conditioned courthouses and sleeping in motels instead of trudging around rattlesnake-infested drilling locations, sleeping in her car, and eating cold Hunger Busters for breakfast. It wasn’t a hard decision. As a landman, Denise bought and sold oil and gas real estate and examined land titles across West Texas and the Gulf Coast. But mostly…she found missing landowners.

Finding people and evidence and unmasking secrets and hidden information were Denise’s one true professional love. In 1995, she got her private investigator’s license and started Aardvark Investigations. As a private investigator and forensic genealogist, she specialized in the location of missing heirs and mineral owners for oil companies and law firms across the country.

Now retired, Denise brings her investigative experience to historical true crime and writes novels inspired by cases and experiences from her colorful career. Decades of discovering hidden secrets and unraveling complex family histories has left her with a lot of stories to write.