The short answer is IMMEDIATELY. People often wait to contact law enforcement, and this can waste valuable investigative time. What law enforcement looks for with missing adults is an unexplained break in his/her routine. An example of this could be a failure to report to work, pick up a child from daycare, or miss a significant life event. We also look at a person’s mental health, drug dependencies, and physical/mental disabilities. If an adult is missing and doesn’t have any ‘at risk’ factors, then law enforcement must wait 24 hours before entering the person in the national database. During those 24 hours, law enforcement can still take steps to identify evidence and interview witnesses. A Silver Alert can be issued for missing seniors with dementia or other disabilities.
FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
Every parent has had that moment when their child is unaccounted for and believes they are in danger. This is the time to act and mobilize resources. Most missing person calls involving children resolve themselves in a few minutes. The child is often found unharmed and inside the home. The National Center For Missing And Exploited Children recommends that parents search the following locations in a home:
- In and under beds
- All closets
- Inside large appliances
- Vehicles, including the trunks
- Favorite hiding spots
- Anywhere else a child could conceal themselves
If a child goes missing at a store, then notify an employee and contact law enforcement as soon as possible. Another good practice is to enlist the help of others to search for your child. Contact anyone your child is known to associate with and relay to law enforcement his/her last known whereabouts. It often helps to have an updated photo and a clothing description, too. If you are wondering, “should I call the police” then you probably should. Give law enforcement the option to evaluate the evidence and make recommendations to you. Missing person cases mobilize a community and are supported by local, state, and federal resources.
Runaway and enticement situations have become even more dangerous and scary with the lure of the internet. Predators often target vulnerable teenagers with the desired attention that they often seek. The thought of a tempting adventure with someone making promises online can quickly turn tragic. Parents should know their teen’s passwords and be able to access their internet history. Discussions about the dangers of online predators should happen within every family. Parents should be alert to some danger signs.
- Sending pictures to strangers
- Secrecy about their cell phone or computers
- Withdrawn from family
- Prepaid cell phones (disposable)
- Distancing from friends
For more information, contact the Montgomery Police Department at 513-985-1600.
Contact the Montgomery Police Department at 513-985-1600 or visit the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children’s website, missingkids.org, for additional information.
An Amber Alert can be issued when appropriate for a missing child.