When a friend or relative goes missing, it can be traumatic, especially if it is a loved one and you are very close. Of course, if the person who has gone missing is a child, you should call 911 emergency immediately. If the missing person is an older teen or an adult, you should take the following steps.

missing person at the park

If the missing person is an older teenager:

If the person in question is a minor, but still in their teens, you should check with their friends and their work, if they are employed. Make sure they are truly missing. The next step is to call the police. Although the police place a strong priority on missing children, once they enter their middle teen years there is also the possibility of the minor being a runaway. If you suspect foul play, you need to explain this to the police.

If you suspect that your teen has run away, after contacting the police, you need to contact a missing person investigator as well. The police have limited resources, and they are not likely to offer a great deal of assistance in locating a runaway teen. We, however, routinely find runaway teens. In addition, we may discover the cause of your teen running away, and understanding this can help to avoid a repeat occurrence.

If the missing person is an adult

If there is no evidence of foul play, the police may simply tell you to wait until the required time has elapsed, and then file a missing persons report. This can be as little as 48 hours or as long as 30 days, and being told this can be extremely frustrating, so if you have observed anything unusual surrounding the individual’s disappearance, tell this to the police. This is especially true with a change in routine. For example, if your loved one has always been home at a certain time of the evening, and never spends overnight anywhere but home, being missing for as short a time as eight hours may be significant.

File a missing persons report

After the required number of days, you can file a missing persons report with the police, but don’t expect much. This only serves to notify the authorities that an individual is missing in the case they come across him or her in an unrelated investigation. Unless there is something strange the gets the attention of a detective, the process of finding your loved will likely end here; it is up to you to take the next step and contact a missing person investigator.

A private PI firm, such as ours, will give the full attention to finding your loved one. You will need to gather together all of the information you have. This includes the person’s employer, names of friend and where he or she was last seen. Personal information such as a social security number are valuable as well as financial information such as bank account numbers and credit card numbers.

A professional missing person investigator makes no moral judgment about why someone has gone missing. In is often the case that the person has intentionally gone missing, but we can find them and find out what the reason for disappearing was and arrange a reunion. There are many reasons people go missing, but once you have exhausted the possibilities with the police, contact our firm. Once we have heard your story, we can explain how we can help you.

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Bruce Robertson

Bruce Robertson is a private investigator and founder of Tristar Investigation, California’s premiere detective agency. Bruce is also a media commentator for the investigation industry, featured in the New York Times, CNN, History Channel, MSNBC, Los Angeles Times and many more. You can find him on Google+ LinkedIn and YouTube.