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7 Tips on What to Do When Someone Is Missing

WhatToGetMy Instructional Article

Knowing what to do when someone is missing will make locating the missing person easier and bring them back home. Many people experience pain, anguish, depression, and an emotional roller coaster journey from hell when a loved one goes missing. While some people who go missing are found injured or die, many others are discovered alive and sound, later discovering that their disappearance was voluntary. Here are some reasons why people go missing;

  • Children who run away from home may end up missing
  • Some persons get lost and end up in the missing persons report
  • Some persons are kidnapped
  • Some end up on the human trafficking radar

You don’t need to wait for 24hours before doing something if you suspect that someone is missing; you need to start immediately.

It was a hot sunny day, a lovely day to drop off at the beach and have a fun beach time. Monique thought so, too, as she sat at the cafe reminiscing on her next plan. She calls Eric to ask if he would love to go to the beach too; the surrounding was noisy as Eric told her they were already at the beach, he and five other friends from school. Excited, she told them she was going to meet them there.

As she dropped the call, two young men sitting beside her smiled at her, explained they were going the same way, and asked to drop her off. Monique was hesitant as she stared at the two young men; they looked friendly and gentle; she decided it was a harmless gesture, and it would not be nice to turn them down. Soon they were on the way to the beach; Monique noticed they took a turn away from the main road and into a narrow path, she called their attention to it, but they explained that it was a shortcut. The ride lingered for hours, and this got her scared as she kept looking back and forth to realize that the path was lonely, no car was coming or going, and neither were there any humans on the way. Monique requested they go back as she had changed her mind about going to the beach. They were silent and kept driving. She took out her phone from her bag and made it to dial her parent’s phone number; the guy in the passenger’s seat quickly turned and smashed her in the face. He took her bag and her phone and barked at her to stay silent, else he would decorate the car with her flesh. Monique said she was so scared as the once nice men she saw turned into monsters in a flash.

Monique’s parents got worried when they realized her phone was switched off. They called her friends, including Eric, who told them their last conversation. After many calls, they traced her previous stop to the cafe; the waiter told them Monique had left with the two guys and she had never seen them around there before. The following steps Monique’s parents took are exactly what to do if someone is missing;

1. BE SURE THE PERSON IS TRULY MISSING

Do not just assume someone is missing. Rather, you will need to check to be sure they are; here are how to tell if someone is missing;

  • Call their phones; dial their numbers, and see if they pick it up. This is the first thing to do when you suspect someone is missing.
  • Visit their home; they could be asleep or unconscious or too busy to pick up your calls. Be sure to check their homes to see if they are there. You can also get clues like; is their house in order, or are the items there scattered, is there any letter or sign they may have left behind? Does it look like someone forcefully broke into their homes? When was the last time they were in? You can be sure someone is missing by checking their homes.
  • Ask neighbors; if the person doesn’t live in the outskirts where no one else lives close, they should have neighbors who may know their whereabouts.
  • Call their close friends or spouse; this will go a long way to rule out missing or not. Their friends should know where they are; they may even be with the said friend.
  • Call their workplace or school; these are places they may be. You need to call their workplace to be sure they are not there before deciding if they are missing or not.

2. CALL THE POLICE

Even though California law requires police to take a report regardless of how long a person has been missing, it is vital to note that each police department has its protocol for handling missing person investigations. Some law enforcement agencies hold off on using their resources for 24 to 48 hours. To establish the priority, police will consider the circumstances of each case. When a child or an older person goes missing, police have a good incentive to act quickly. The police  may request the following while filling the missing person report;

  • Passport photographs or pictures of the disappeared persons
  • Name, nicknames, and aliases of the missing person
  • Clear descriptions of the person; height, weight, gender, any accent? age, hair color, eye color, etc
  • A clear description of what they were wearing as at the time of disappearance; cloth, shoe, glasses, any jewelry, etc
  • Items the person may be carrying as at the time of disappearance; car, bicycle, luggage, wallets, briefcase, etc
  • Do they have an accent? Tattoos, scars? Etc.
  • Is the individual on any medications? Or does he have any medical condition, abnormalities, or abilities?
  • Where does he usually go? Where are his favorite places or persons?
  • What happened? Here you give a detailed description of the circumstances surrounding the person’s disappearance.

3. CONTACT THE NATIONAL MISSING AND UNIDENTIFIED PERSONS SYSTEM (NamUS)

This is a system run by the United States Department of Justice that allows you to input information about a missing person into a database for law enforcement and the general public to access. You can notify the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children or the Polly Klass Foundation if a minor has gone missing. You can also use the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) of the FBI as a source of information.

4 ALERT SOCIAL MEDIA

How information goes viral once made public on social media could wow you. Make a post about the missing person stating their name, location, what they do, age, height, skin and hair color, etc., also tell a clear story of what happened and how they got missing. If your social media page doesn’t have a large audience, you may need to send this post to groups and pages with a large audience. Do this and watch this information go viral. You can use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., to alert the public about the missing person.

5. ALERT OTHER MEDIA PLATFORMS

Local TV and radio stations, newspapers, and local blogs and websites should all receive photographs and information on the missing person. Police are more likely to commit attention to the case if the media is involved. The media can also help disseminate the word more quickly and reach a large audience.

6. CREATE FLIERS AND POSTERS

This is important to create local awareness about the missing person. Ensure the flier or poster contains important information;

  • Name of the missing person
  • Their age, height, and weight
  • Their recent picture
  • The date they went missing etc
  • Do not forget to leave a contact number they can call.

Fliers can be handed out to relatives, friends, well-wishers, passers-by, etc. they can be passed out in public to read them and call if they locate the missing person.

Posters can be placed at gas stations, pubs, hotels, schools, banks, police stations, streets, etc.

The missing person could see these fliers and posters and then call to tell that they are okay or even return home. Others who may have seen the missing person could call to give valuable information about them.

7. CONDUCT YOUR OWN SEARCH

Call on your neighbors and ask them to join you in searching for the missing person. If there was ever a clue where they went or any suspected location they may have gone, this is the time to take with you some friends, relatives, and volunteers and conduct a thorough search of the area. Also, alert the police during this period to be part of the search if they are not already doing so. Search hospitals and medical facilities, churches, homeless shelters, hotels, libraries, etc.

Monique’s case was not the only missing person case reported this year. According to the Metropolitan police department, below is the number of missing person cases reported from 2014-to 2022. You can see more about this missing person report here.

Monique’s parents followed the steps in the “what to do if someone is missing” article.

At first, the Police had no clue who the guys were and where they may have taken Monique to. They checked all her favorite spots, called her friends, went to the school, church, public libraries, and even hospitals, but none reported seeing a girl with the description. The result was discouraging; Monique’s mother was at the brink of having a heart attack, her Dad stayed strong physically, but in between, he went into the bathroom and wept, for he loved his little girl dearly.

The thought of what Monique could be going through wherever she was didn’t let her parents sleep that night. They came out and called the neighbors, who hurriedly joined them in the search again even though they had done the same during the day. When they returned without any clue or result, it was already the early hours of the morning; her parents created a flier describing Monique, what she wore that day, her height, weight, age and hair color, and everything else they remembered to add plus their contact information.

They developed the flier into as many copies as they could; thanks to great neighbors who voluntarily took some of the fliers to work and some even distributed uit at the traffic to cars passing by, another who worked at the gas station posted it on the wall there.

Without news of Monique’s whereabouts, neighbors, friends, and relatives came to console her parents. Monique’s mum was already depressed; she feared the worst may have happened to her daughter. That afternoon, a call came from a farmer in a remote community; he had come across the flier and was sure he saw the girl on the flier around the neighborhood; what he did not remember was where.

Monique’s parents quickly called the Police, who in turn drove to the community to question the caller. He was an older man of 86 and couldn’t say much. But he kept saying he was sure he saw a girl with the said description. The Police didn’t think much of it; they told him to call if he remembered more;” he is an old man,” they said to Monique’s parents, “he may be mistaken, but we are doing all we can to find your daughter,” they said assuringly.

But Monique’s parents wouldn’t have any of that, they drove down to the older man’s house almost immediately, and he said the same thing the Police had said. Monique’s p[parents thought to themselves, “if this old man saw her in this neighborhood, maybe someone else did too.”

They went around the neighborhood sharing a flier of their missing daughter; not long after they started, three persons also stated they saw someone who fits Monique’s description at the local market. The Police soon joined the interrogations and searched for Monique in the new community. With the help of these people and their narrations about the boys who were with Monique, a clear sketch was made, which helped some locals recognize the two young men. The Police were swift in their action as they soon located their hideout, and eventually, an arrest was made. You may also like these practical gifts for police officers.

Monique was still alive as she was taken to the city hospital, where she received medical care and therapy at the time of the arrest. Thanks to the support from her family, friends, and school, she overcame the trauma with time.

Red and Black Missing Person Patterned Circle Poster

FAQS

1. How long before you can report a missing person?

You don’t need to wait for 24 hours before you report a missing person; it is advisable to report to the Police as soon as you are sure the person is missing.

2. How do you find a missing person?

You will need to first report to the Police and fill out a missing persons report. The Police will conduct their search based on the information provided, so ensure you have accurate information about the missing person.

3. Can Police track a missing person’s phone?

Yes, the Police can track the missing person via their phone records and digital footprint; this has helped locate a lot of missing persons.

4. How do you find a missing person who doesn’t want to be seen?

Well, since you don’t know yet if they want to be found or not, you will need to follow the steps as outlined in this article “what to do if a person is missing.”

Conclusion

One hundred and forty-nine children and 99 adults are reported missing as of February 2022; the numbers for the past years were even higher. What to do when someone is missing comes in handy in situations like this; you should also know what to do when someone is missing for 24hours. Your ability to put these ideas to work could save a life.

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