What Should I Do?
When discovering that a loved one is missing, the feelings of devastation and loss are hard to overcome. By following the simple steps below, you will gain some control in locating your missing loved one. Do not hesitate to seek outside assistance because, often, the missing will be returned safely and unharmed if you take action immediately. Avoid doing nothing because this action (no action) could present more danger for your missing loved one.
1. Don’t panic! You need to be clear headed to consider your actions, options and resources.
2. Gather recent photos and dental records, if possible.
3. Write down the date of disappearance and a description of the missing person; height, weight, color of eyes and hair, age and birthdate, birthmarks and other identifying items; scars, tatoos, rings. The clothing the missing was wearing could also be important. Worn clothing can provide DNA. Even interests and talents could be helpful in locating your missing person.
4. Write down names, addresses and phone numbers of people who the missing was with the last time they were seen and where the loved one was when they disappeared.
5. If a child or adult has just wandered away from home, you need to call law enforcement and/or an agency who can help you do a physical search immediately.
6. Now report your missing loved one to the agencies who can help you. There are many organizations who can help. Do not try to bear this crisis alone. You need some outside support for your sanity and assistance.
7. If internet savvy, check the missing’s email communications. Amber Alert, Porchlight International, Peace4 The Missing, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Runaway Switchboard are just some of the internet and public organizations which can help. Most of these organizations offer service for free. You could publish information about your missing family member on Squidoo, Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, My Space and any other social networks, also free.
8. Stay busy and avoid unnecessary worry. Worry increases your stress level which may be a detriment to locating your missing person.
9. Report any new communications from or locations of the missing to the selected advocate or law enforcement agencies.
10. If your missing person was a runaway and has since returned home, please visit and direct your loved one to some of the organizations which can help the person avoid future disappearances. These services are especially directed to teens and free.
Operation L.A.P. Foundation, Inc., aka Wisconsin Center 4 Missing Children & Adults (WCMCA) is an organization ready to help you. They will do physical searches. Their services are free and they are a registered 501(3)(c) charity. The organization is completely staffed by unpaid volunteers. If contacted as 1st responder, WCMCA will even report your missing loved one to your local law enforcement and act as your liaison, coordinating the search. WCMCA has helped 100’s of families.
What Should I Do?