Missing Persons Investigation

Missing persons investigations are one of the most demanding and challenging for police organisations. They are often highly publicised and generate a lot of interest.


A person can be reported missing if they leave their home without telling anyone. Investigations include paying informants, searching Internet and public databases, interviewing family members, and more.

Information Gathering

The investigation of a missing person will always be a search for credible information about the fate and whereabouts of that person. A number of different agencies and organisations will be involved in this and they all need to under 광주흥신소 stand that the family’s primary focus is the recovery of their loved one.

The first steps of a missing persons investigation generally involve gathering background information about the person and the circumstances surrounding their disappearance. This information is often very sensitive and it is important that police officers do not cross-contaminate enquiries, or use information that could potentially revictimise the family at a later stage.

An interview with the family of the missing person, known as a prevention interview, is carried out as soon as possible in order to gather any relevant prevention-related information. It is important that this is carried out by someone who is trained in the area and who has the necessary skills to ensure it is conducted appropriately and sensitively.

The availability of state-of-the-art identification techniques, such as DNA sampling, dental and fingerprint examinations and facial reconstructions, can help to resolve missing persons cases. However, these forensic services are expensive and police forces need to make sure they have access to them. This is why NIJ established the NamUs program and its succes 광주흥신소 sor, the Using DNA Technology to Identify the Missing, which aims to bring together medical examiners, coroners and law enforcement agencies with forensic laboratories and other professionals to work collaboratively on these cases.

Social Networks

While social media has made it easier to spread information quickly, there are also risks when utilizing these platforms. One major problem is that releasing public information may alert perpetrators to police activities or enquiries, thus jeopardising the investigation.

Another issue is that the media can shape how information about missing persons is portrayed, leading to false or misleading assumptions. For example, stories that involve white victims are more likely to receive extensive media coverage than those involving minority victims. This can influence the public’s response to the case and the likelihood of spontaneous searches (Lam et al. 2022b).

People often gather in groups on Facebook and other sites to discuss a missing person case. This can lead to a culture of armchair detectives, who argue about their theories and speculations. This can create a polarising atmosphere and aggravate those who are trying to find their loved ones. This can be a difficult balance to strike, as it is important for the police to keep the public updated on their investigations.

Another way that social media can impact the investigation is through its use of georeferenced data. By using social networking site data, researchers have been able to construct social networks that reflect a variety of relationships. These include family, school and community links. These networks can be a useful tool in identifying potential leads in the search for missing persons.

Identifying the Victim

When a person disappears, investigators must consider whether they were abducted. People who are abducted often disappear from their anchor points and when this happens, it is important that all available information is considered. This includes personal items, financial documents, medication, medical records, and any information about where they live and work.

It is also a good idea to get DNA samples from family members who are likely to be related to the missing person. This can be done using medical specimens such as bone marrow or biopsy samples or personal items such as toothbrushes or hairbrushes. DNA can be analysed to establish identity which may be vital in determining the cause of disappearance and establishing what happened to the missing person.

Families of missing persons should be adequately involved in the Search process and should receive regular updates. It is difficult to do this with a rotating shift pattern but it is possible to identify one individual as the point of contact for the investigation and agree when they will be contacted with each change in police shift.

If it is determined that the missing person was killed in the course of an offence, such as a homicide, investigations should be conducted in accordance with the appropriate criminal investigation and identification procedures. This can be a lengthy and complex process involving many agencies but it is vital that the full range of investigative options are explored to determine the victim’s fate.

Public Relations

Missing persons cases can have a profound impact on the community. Police departments use a variety of resources, including paid informants, to find missing adults and children. They can also search public and private databases, interview witnesses, perform background checks and investigate leads. They can even obtain search warrants to look through a missing person’s cell phone and social media accounts.

In addition to using a range of tools, police departments must consider the impact of their actions on the investigation. They may need to work with the media to promote their efforts, but must be careful to ensure that they do not disclose anything that might compromise the case.

It is also important for police to consider whether or not to engage with family members who wish to mount their own media campaign. This can be very time consuming and draining, but can also provide useful leads. Police should always check with the officer(s) in charge of the investigation before engaging with family members on their behalf.

It is well known that the way a missing person case is reported in the media can influence how it is investigated. For example, it is often the case that missing, particularly white women, receive disproportionate attention in the media and are featured on the front page of newspapers (Sommers 2016; Slokoff 2013). While this reflects the individual characteristics of each case it does point to the fact that police organisational actions are shaped by these broader factors.