When a friend or a loved one is missing, all sorts of
thoughts circulate through your mind about what could have
happened. The first thing you need to do is to contact the
police department and file a missing person report. Though
you can file a police report at any time, they police allow
some time to see if the person turns up before conducting a
search. The standard time to wait is 24 hours.
Some people disappear deliberately to avoid the law or some
sort of marital troubles. However, there are many cases that
involve foul play and loved ones become victims of a crime.
If you have a loved one missing, time is of the essence.
There are some ways that you can try to track them down on
your own. Of course hiring a private investigation service
is always advisable, but here are six things you can do to
help your family member out.
1. Track Social Media Accounts
Most people check social media several times a day. Because
things are so automated now, people put their life's history
up on social media boards. This should be the first place
you check after you call the police. Facebook, Twitter, and
other sites are popular and allow people to branch out and
connect with their friends and family across the globe.
Sites like these allow you to see the last time that someone
logged in, as well as their last postings. Check these sites
for any activity. It could mean that the person is still
alive and utilizing their accounts. Look for clues posted to
their walls or anything that seems out of the ordinary. They
could be signalling for help. Facebook has location trackers
too that allow a person to "check-in" at their last
destination. Social media is excellent for finding someone's
2. Do a Cell Phone Check
Cell phone services have the ability to track a phone,
especially if the phones are linked to one account. Using
satellite technology, the phone can be traced. There are
also many apps that will give you the location of the other
cell phone if the other person grants permission. It's worth
the small cost to download the app and to try to make
contact. If someone is in trouble they will gladly want you
to identify their phone's location. However, it's a long
shot that has sometimes paid off big. Be sure to give their
cell phone number to the police too. Also, keep calling the
number and see if it rings or just goes straight to
3. Check With Neighbours and Friends
One of the easiest things to do that will probably yield the
most information is to check in with neighbours and see what
they saw. If they live in an area where the neighbours are
bustling about, they should be able to tell you quite a bit.
If they have seen no activity, it's a good sign that they
are not there. If all else fails check with the landlord if
renting and see if they left. If they have left and don't
want to be bothered, they could have ended their lease and
moved. It's all about putting the clues together to try to
find out what happened. On the other side of the spectrum,
friends are another great resource to call. If this person
has a best friend, they should know their every move. Call
around to friends and see if they have anything useful in
4. Retrace Their Last Steps
Part of any good investigation is to retrace a person's last
steps. If they had a date previously who was it with and
where did they go? Find out any and all information and
start putting together a timeline. This will help you be
able to reduce the locations where they are not and show
which areas still need to be researched.
5. Call The Hospitals and Morgue
Because we're human, we always think the worst when it comes
to our loved ones and their absence. If they have been in a
car wreck or something unimaginable has happened, the best
places to look are the hospital and the morgue. Sometimes
people check into the hospital during an emergency situation
and they may not have any identification on them. If they
are unconscious they cannot confirm their identity. Calling
around to all the hospitals can give you some definitive
answers. Keep in mind that these places won't give specifics
to just anyone over the phone, but it will certainly be a
good place to investigate.
6. Spread the Word and Alert Media
The more people that know about the missing loved one, the
better the chances of getting some answers. Hang flyers
around town that have a recent picture and a description
with contact information. Some people offer reward money to
allow anyone with information to come forward. The media can
be an excellent outlet to reach the masses very quickly.
Though you probably don't want to alert the media if they
have only been gone for one day, they can be a great source
for cases that are ongoing. Flyers, media alerts and anyway
else possible to get the word out can only be helpful.
The emotions are all over the place when someone you love is
missing. While it's hard to stay positive, it is best to
keep looking and searching for answers. Until there is a
body, the person is presumed to be alive. Try not to think
of the worst case scenario and hope for the best. Because
these tasks can be a bit overwhelming, having a private
investigator helping out is ideal. They have a connection
with the media, newspapers and other outlets that can make
the job of finding your loved one easier. Investigators have
the ability to go one step further with things like email
tracing. The important thing is to find your loved one
however you can. That includes using resources at your
disposal. The longer they are gone, the harder it is to find
out exactly what happened. The first 24 hours is crutial in
a missing person's case.
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