12 Tips to Find a Missing Person
If a loved-one has gone missing, the first thing you should do is call the police. That sounds obvious, but how many times have you read about parents or spouses who delayed calling the police (even though they weren’t involved in the abduction)?
- A myth is that there’s a waiting period before the police will take the report seriously. If your 14-year-old has been missing for two hours, call the police. Don’t wait 24 hours.
- Call the police daily. You should have the officer’s name who took the case; repeatedly contact that officer. The squeaky wheel finds the missing.
- In the case of an adult, check the missing person’s last known address—with permission—to look for clues: notes, belongings, mobile phone, wallet, signs of a struggle, blood, something left cooking, running water, etc.
- Contact the person’s family, friends and other contacts. Were there any fights? Talk to coworkers and bosses. Find out if there were any financial problems or signs of depression.
- Check with hospitals, medical examiners and coroners. Ask for the individual by name. Also ask if there’s any unidentified patients who fit the description of the missing person.
- Check social media; there may be a cyber trail.
- If a child is missing, contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
- Contact NamUs (National Missing and Unidentified Persons System); here you can upload information about the missing individual.
- Put up fliers. This is very effective for increasing awareness. There have been numerous cases in which the missing person called to have the fliers taken down. Post the fliers where the missing person goes often, and use a photo of the person smiling to evoke more community sympathy.
- Contact the media. This can put the heat on the police to get the case solved. Contact TV stations, newspapers and the websites of media and launch a mission.
- Hire a private investigator. Rates range from $50 to $150 an hour. Shop around good for one, preferably one with a solid record of successful cases.
- Never give up hope or action. Also get involved with support groups.