How to Get Help When Investigating Disappeared Individuals

Investigating disappeared individuals can be a daunting and emotionally challenging task. It can involve navigating mass graves, witnessing torture and dealing with trauma. Even the toughest journalists may need outside support to cope with the stress of this work.


The first step in finding a missing person is to provide law enforcement with information about that individual. This includes things like where the person liv 서울흥신소 ed, their bank account information and social media accounts.

1. Contact the Authorities

Once the missing person has been reported to the authorities, they should be given a reference number so that any new information can be logged and followed up. Family and friends can also help by spreading the word and distributing posters, but it is important to check with law enforcement before searching a person’s property or looking through their social media accounts as this could be seen as tampering and hinder the investigation.

Families of victims of enforced disappearance are particularly at risk of torture, and it is vital to do everything possible to ensure that their loved ones’ cases receive the attention they deserve. A lot of time and effort will be spent investigating many different avenues, and it is important to keep careful records of any tips that are received.

2. Investigate the Area

Millions of people disappear ev 서울흥신소 ery year, and organized crime – including drug trafficking, wildlife smuggling, resource theft and human trafficking – plays a significant part. This is why a missing person investigation should include enquiries with local criminal organisations.

Enquiries with relevant organisations should be proportionate and based on a realistic assessment of the circumstances of the disappearance. It is also important to build up a comprehensive picture of the person’s lifestyle and habits, ideally by accessing previous bills/bank statements or through searches of home addresses.

During the information gathering stage there will be a multitude of avenues to investigate and different hypotheses about what might have happened. Each should be considered and recorded, with an attempt made to corroborate if possible. This might be done using a risk matrix or a flow chart.

3. Check Social Media

When a disappeared person is reported, it is important to post about the incident on social media. This will help to get the attention of people in the area where they went missing, and it can also provide tips from others. However, it is best to only pay attention to legitimate tips.

It is also possible to find information about a missing person by searching public and state records. These include records on bankruptcy, birth, death, marriage, divorce, and crime. It is possible to look into professional licenses like cosmetology, nursing, counseling, and law, as well.

It is important to know that information shared on the internet can be accessed by anyone. This can compromise a police investigation and alert perpetrators. Therefore, it is important to consult with police before launching any social media campaigns.

4. Check Hospitals and Clinics

Regardless of the reason for a person’s disappearance, hospitals are a good place to start. They may be a victim of an accident, or they might have a health condition that makes them vulnerable to exploitation or even to self-harm.

It’s a good idea to make a list of the hospitals in your area, and then call them. Ask if they have any John Doe patients that match the description of the missing person. However, you must be prepared for them to not provide information because of HIPAA privacy rules.

You can also try to visit the hospitals, but this will be time-consuming and requires a lot of patience. Be sure to bring a photo of the person so that you can easily identify them.

5. Check Prisons and Jails

Often when missing persons are reported, it is because they are believed to have gone to jail. It is important to check this and to rule out any possibility of them being incarcerated before moving on with the investigation.

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, or NamUs, is an Internet-based clearinghouse that allows investigators and forensic professionals to cross-reference cases of missing persons and unidentified remains. It is operated by the Department of Justice.

On rare occasions, people who have been declared legally dead may be found alive. Henry Hudson, English explorer who disappeared after a mutiny in 1611; Ambrose Bierce, publisher and author, who fell overboard on a ship during a storm in 1913; Joseph Force Crater, New York City judge, who disappeared on the way to a play in 1930; and a host of other famous and unknown individuals have been found years after they were reported missing.

6. Contact Family and Friends

Keeping in touch with family, friends and close communities is an essential way to get help when someone goes missing. It can also be beneficial in helping investigators find a disappeared person.

If you are aware of any mental health or substance abuse issues that might have contributed to a person’s disappearance, do not hesitate to disclose this to police. However, be careful when sharing information publicly to avoid impeding the investigation.

Publicizing a disappearance can also attract stalkers and people with criminal intent. It’s best to enlist the assistance of a private investigator (PI) instead, who can work on behalf of your family without disturbing the investigation. This is particularly important for vulnerable people such as those who are aged, ill or depressed.

7. Contact the Media

There are times when the public’s interest in a missing person case is so great that an IO will need to consider engaging with the media. However, this needs to be carefully considered and should always involve the police officer in charge of the investigation.

IOs can use data from ANPR, vehicle and mobile phone satellite navigation systems to build up a picture of the missing persons’ lifestyle and movements. This information can then be used to check that the possible sightings are genuine and that they fit with the person’s habits.

Forces should be encouraged to offer return interviews to adults who have disappeared in order to understand the reasons why they went missing. This can be particularly important where looked-after children go missing.