If you have found my blog, chances are, you already know my speil. I’m a private investigator. I specialize in missing and exploited persons.” I’m still working on a way to make it a paying gig, whether though patrons and benefactors, speaking and lectures, or maybe grants and agencies. As long as families don’t have to pay or fundraise, I’m in.
Anyhow, let’s touch on the “missing” part of that bit. Did you onow there is no waiting period to report a person missing? Each agency or municipality has authority to set a time period or litmus style requirement, but at the core, you can report someone missing as soon as you have reason to believe that something is wrong?
I’ve been on the phone with a detective and said, “this 18 yo left home without money or a power cable for her phone. She’s not been home or at work in 11 days.” And the detective refused to file a report. His agency is getting a refresher on missing persons protocols from the Fusion Center. Since then, we’ve spoken and he says they will take any report.
Here’s some tips for family members and parents when reporting a person :
Give description with distinguishing marks, last known outfit.
Tell officer if charging cable, electronic devices, or money are missing.
Tell officer of any history of abuse, drug use, mental illness, or recent (6 mos) significant events like bullying, suicide attempt, loss of family member, break up, etc.
Tell officer if person is undergoing any type of treatment and all medications.
Have the police put the child is the NCMEC database.
Only share the police or a professional made poster.
Call to “report a runaway.” You are reporting a person missing. The term runaway will breed apathy and disinterest.
Make accusations, act a fool, or broadcast dirty laundry online. If you can’t be civil, shut up.
Be dismissive of the dangers, especially in front of police. If you broadcast your disinterest or disfunction, they will be equally as dismissive.
Lie or exagerate to officers or detectives. Especially about the roles of friends. Most missing teen cases I have, I compare notes with the detective, almost daily. More oftent than not, parents will tell us different stories, usually to create a sense of urgency or to get more people working the case. It does not work and hurts credibility. Once we see that happen, we begin withholding new details and not returning parent calls.
Withold details because they are embarassing or painful. Drug use, history or abuse, mental issues, whatever, are vital for search team members. They also give detectives a clear idea of risk factors for trafficking.
Here’s the last tip:
Have a united front online and on TV. I have consulted on cases from around the country and the best way to get dropped by the media is to have family drama get played out in public. Designate a single spokes person and everyone else shut up. Every. Single. Time.
And here is the last thing. Sometimes, nothing works and cases get ignored, fall through the cracks, or are straight up mishandled. Do not give up. There are people like me that won’t.
Since I have you here, can you share Lisa’s poster? I’m still in school, as it were, learning how to do what I need to to find her. I will find her. I could use your help though. Share this. Talk about her. Talk about how her dad answers his phone with a cracking voice when he knows it’s about her. Talk about how a 24 year old black woman was last seen half dressed, walking into the woods, and police closed up shop and said she’s fine. Talk about how there’s been no activity on her accounts, credit, or close knit family for over a year and police still insist she is not in danger. Do that for me please?