As each hour passes, the likelihood that a missing person will be found decreases. That’s why the first 48 hours of an investigation are the most critical.

It’s not necessary to wait 24 to 48 hours before filing a report. When filing the report, give the police a detailed description of the missing person’s appearance such as their height, weight and age, as well as any identifying markers such as a tattoo or birth mark. Be sure to include clear photos of the missing person. Provide police with any details that may have contributed to the person’s disappearance, such as whether they are mentally impaired or may have witnessed a crime.

First 24 Hours

The first step the police take in investigating a missing person is to collect evidence. The first 24 hours offer the best chance of following up on leads. The police will gather information from the family and the public, including people who may have witnessed the subject’s disappearance. In addition, it’s important to generate as much awareness and as many leads as possible. The police then choose how they will allocate resources on a “case-by-case basis. In cases of missing children, in which the police have a reason to believe the child has been abducted, an Amber Alert may be issued. They may also issue a Silver Alert when the competitance of a missing senior citizen is in question. The police have  specific criteria for the level of danger the case must meet to warrant an alert. Too many alerts may desensitize the public. The police want the public to be “aware” when a message is sent out.

Second 24 Hours

For the families, not knowing what happened to their loved one is the “worst thing.” The police and investigators have that in the forefront of their minds as they search for the person. Getting the word out to the public that someone is missing is the most important objective.  Social media has become an asset purely due to the ease of spreading the message. A missing person report becomes more personal when someone sees the report on their Facebook, instagram or twitter account. Posting on social media has proven to increase the odds of finding someone.