Missing Persons Investigation

Missing persons investigations are one of the most complex and demanding areas of police work. The complexities of these investigations can be unpacked to reveal a clear ‘process structure’ that is influenced by a range of factors.


When someone is missing it’s important to contact local law enforcement agencies and report the person. These agencies are federally mandated to enter these cases into the national missing persons system.

Information Gathering

In the early stages of a missing persons investigation, it is important to collect as much information as possible about the person who has disappeared. This will include d 서울흥신소 etails about how the person became separated from or went missing, their last known location and what activities they are known to engage in. In addition, a risk assessment should be undertaken to determine whether there is an immediate need for action.

All sightings should be recorded, either in a missing persons database or the force command and control incident log. A prevention interview should also be conducted as soon as practicable. This is particularly important for vulnerable people, such as children. It is also a good opportunity to build up an understanding of the person’s lifestyle and what their interests are.

It is advisable to have a dedicated officer assigned to a case, and to keep family members informed about the progress of the search. This can help to prevent the victim from becoming a pawn in a cover-up, and may lead to additional information being provided. It is also a good idea to establish effective mechanisms for communication with families, as this can reduce the risk of revictimization. It is also a good idea to review long-term cases regularly, ideally after twenty-eight days, and at three, six and twelve months. This will allow officers to take advantage of new developments in forensics and 서울흥신소 information technology, such as facial reconstructions, which can be completed without damaging the original skull.


The search process involves tracking and reconstructing a person’s journey in order to determine with some degree of certainty or confidence their fate and whereabouts. This involves the formulation of hypotheses – free from bias or presumptions – related to their likely fate and location, as well as reconstructing what they have been doing in the time they have been missing.

It is crucial that families and other community members participate in the search. They are often asked to provide banking information and cell phone records, help locate dental and medical records, and even provide DNA from a swab of the inside of their cheek. They may also be asked to help locate and share other information with the police such as photographs, social media, and communication histories.

The search for a missing person is a lengthy, tedious process that requires the efforts of many different people. A private investigator specializing in missing persons investigation has access to databases and information that is otherwise not readily available, and can conduct searches involving the internet, public records, and police files. He can also use a variety of investigative techniques and methods, such as surveillance and questioning witnesses. These services are not cheap, but they can offer the most reliable leads and the best chance of locating the missing person.


Whether a missing person is a loved one or a member of the community, it can be distressing for everyone involved. Investigators document the case to keep track of the status of the search and report their progress to the public, including law enforcement agencies and families of the missing persons. Documentation also helps prevent a repeat of the same mistake by making sure all relevant information is gathered. Investigators can also use a variety of resources to find a missing person, including paying informants and searching the Internet and public databases.

Journalists researching disappearance cases can often gain access to police investigations, but they should be wary of corrupt authorities and remember that there is always the possibility of collusion with criminals. Family members can be valuable sources of information, but journalists should always fact-check what they are told and consider using freedom of information requests and open source data to help them.

Despite the obvious challenges, it is important to understand what happens during a missing persons investigation in order to improve investigative techniques and support human rights work around enforced disappearances. This can be a difficult task, especially when investigating cases that involve searching in mass graves and/or working with victims who have experienced physical or psychological torture. Journalists who are interested in reporting on these cases should seek out external support to deal with the level of stress and trauma they may experience.


Millions of people disappear each year and organized crime plays a major role in these cases. Whether through drug trafficking, wildlife smuggling or resource theft, these criminal rackets can involve violence and infiltrate communities at all levels of society. Journalists can be part of the solution by reporting on these crimes and helping bring them to light.

The most important thing to remember when covering a missing person case is to get the right information to police. When reporting a person as missing, be sure to provide the person’s name, a clear picture of them (from shoulders up) and any other identifying marks or characteristics. It is also helpful to have any information about where the person was last seen. If the case is assigned to a detective, make sure to work closely with them and share all information you develop.

Missing persons investigations represent one of the largest demands on police resources. They are a priority for officers, who must balance the risk of search with the potential to disrupt ongoing criminal investigations. These investigative strategies are influenced by a number of influences, including the ‘organisational’ discourses informing searches for missing persons which are shaped by both individual case-characteristics and wider police management practices (see the Association of Chief Police Officers, 2006 and Biehal et al, 2003).