Are you trying to hunt down a relative who has recently gone missing, or an old friend who you haven’t heard from in years? Keep reading to find out the critical steps involved in finding a missing person.
How To Find A Recently Missing Person
If someone has recently disappeared, here’s what you should do as soon as possible:
Call Hospitals And Jails
Start with the basics: contact hospitals and jails. If you’re really worried, it’s worth visiting these places in person and bringing a photograph with you.
Contact Their Friends And Family
Use social media to reach out to their closest friends or family. Put the word out on Facebook that you’re worried about them and need information about their location.
Check Their Social Media Accounts
Have they updated their social media recently? Where were they last? Did they check in anywhere? If you don’t have details of their social media profiles, you can use a TruthFinder search to find known social media accounts, which may include Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, and many more.
Go To The Police
It’s a common misconception that you have to wait 24 hours to contact the police about a missing person, especially if they’re young or in a vulnerable state of mind. Visit your local police department as soon as possible, and be sure to bring several photographs with you.
Reach Out To Your Community
Most neighborhoods have Facebook groups, or you can use Nextdoor, a social media platform just for communities. Upload a post or status asking if anyone has seen your missing loved one. Be sure to include a photograph and vital statistics like height, weight, age, and any distinguishing marks such as tattoos or scars. If known, it’s helpful to include a description of the clothes they were last seen wearing.
After posting in online communities, print out hard copies of posters and begin distributing them around your neighborhood. Put them on lampposts, and ask community centers — like libraries, churches, post offices, even the local bar — if you can display them on their property. Be sure to include your contact information, along with the same information about your missing person that you distributed online.
Use Missing Person Resources
Here are just a few organizations that are dedicated to helping families and friends looking for a lost loved one:
Polly Klaas Foundation
The Polly Klaas Foundation helps the families of missing children by providing counseling, working with law enforcement, making and distributing posters of missing children, and advocating for public policies to keep children safe.
Find The Missing
Upload your loved one’s details to this large national database of missing people.
Black And Missing
African-Americans, especially women and kids, go missing at disproportionate rates. But often, these cases are overlooked by the media. The Black and Missing Foundation is trying to remedy that while providing resources and help for families and loved ones.
Your local police station can help you connect with more local organizations that can help with your search.
How To Find A Missing Person Using Public Records
What if the person you’re looking for isn’t missing, per se, but they have been absent from your life for a long time?
Using a public records search engine like TruthFinder is an easy way to track down someone — even if you lost contact long ago. It’s easy to use and readily accessible online. But first, gather some information.
Grab a notepad, and jot down answers to the following questions:
What’s their full name? Include any first name variations (Susan, Sue, Suzy, etc), their middle name, and their last name, including their maiden name and married names
What is their date of birth? If you don’t know, calculate their approximate age
What city and state did you last hear from them? Have they lived in other places? Have they mentioned the out-of-town family?
Do you know the names of their relatives, including parents, spouses, siblings, and even children?
Once you have that information, visit TruthFinder and begin your search.
Namus.gov is the website to go visit and register if you find you and your family in an APB moment.
Over 600,000 individuals go missing in the United States every year. Fortunately, many missing children and adults are quickly found, alive, and well. However, tens of thousands of individuals remain missing for more than one year – what many agencies consider “cold cases”.
It is estimated that 4,400 unidentified bodies are recovered each year, with approximately 1,000 of those bodies remaining unidentified after one year.
NamUs is a national information clearinghouse and resource center for missing, unidentified, and unclaimed person cases across the United States. Funded and administered by the National Institute of Justice and managed through a cooperative agreement with the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas, all NamUs resources are provided at no cost to law enforcement, medical examiners, coroners, allied forensic professionals, and family members of missing persons.
Families of Missing Persons
NamUs provides tools that empower family members of missing persons to enter and search case information, and connects families with criminal justice professionals to assist in the search for their missing loved ones.