Missing Persons Investigation

Missing persons investigations are some of the most challenging and multifaceted assignments in law enforcement. Police departments work with a wide range of partners including private investigators and nonprofit groups to locate missing people.

There are many types of missing person cases, from runaways to 심부름센터 children and adults who have voluntarily disappeared or become victims of kidnapping or murder. The North American Investigations team has helped clients find their loved ones and reunite them with their families.

Information Gathering

Obtaining information should be the first priority in any missing persons case. It should guide the investigation and contribute to risk assessments. Investigators should build up a comprehensive picture of the missing person’s lifestyle as soon as possible. This will help to form hypotheses of what might have happened to them. It will also assist in identifying areas to search.

This will include examining the missing person’s phone records, email and social media activity. It will involve looking for evidence that may have been left behind, such as diaries and notes. It will also involve carrying out a full open-door search of premises that are known to have been frequented by the missing person or where there is relevant suspicion.

Other forms of analysis that are likely to be of use include communication analysis, behavioural analysis and geographical profiling. Considering the circumstances of a missing person, including any history of mental health issues or involvement in criminal activities, can also help to identify a reason for their disappearance.

For longer-term missing people, it is important that lines of enquiry are kept alive as time can be a major obstacle. This is especially the case for vulnerable missing persons, who may be at increased risk of harm or death the longer they are missing. Having access to the right tools and expertise can reignite cold cases and result in a positive outcome.


The interview process can be a stressful and traumatic experience for those involved. Witnesses may be reluctant to come forward for a variety of reasons, including fear, the need to protect family members, and other personal factors. As a result, the quality of the information obtained during an interview can be affected. It is important to understand and address these dynamics as they impact the ability to gather useful information.

During an interview, it is important to focus on getting as much information as possible. This includes a description of the missing person, the clothes they were wearing and any objects or items they were carrying with them. It is also important to get an accurate timeline of when the person went missing. Knowing when the last location was can help narrow down a search area and potentially lead to security footage or additional witnesses.

Another type of interview that is often used during missing persons investigations is a Prevention Interview. Many respondents in this field described these interviews as being vital for identifying risk factors, which could lead to future missing episodes and helping people access long-term support to prevent further harm or exploitation. However, there was also a feeling that the lack of time to conduct an appropriate interview and a requirement to complete numerous reports limited the value of these interviews.

Database Searches

Missing persons investigations often involve a large number of avenues of enquiry. Keeping good records and notes on all these lines of enquiry will help you to avoid duplicate searches and save time.

The National Missing and Unidentified System, or NamUs, is an online database of missing and unidentified cases. The database allows investigators, forensic professionals and families of missing people to cross-reference cases to find leads. It also helps to bring resolution to families who have lost loved ones.

This state-of-the-art database technology, used by ICMP worldwide, is available to law enforcement authorities and families of missing persons. It is a valuable tool in assisting police agencies and forensic specialists to identify long term missing persons and return justice to the victims’ families.

In addition to the NamUs system, investigators can use a variety of search tools available on the Internet. These include specialized missing person search engines and websites that offer information on how to file a missing persons report.

Private investigators who specialize in missing persons investigations can assist the investigation and locate a missing person. They are sometimes called in to do this work for police departments when resources have been exhausted and the case remains open. Care should be taken to ensure that any investigator who works on a missing persons case is not a stalker or someone with malicious intent.

Human Sources

The human face of missing persons investigations is often a family seeking justice. They may not only be dealing with the loss of a loved one, but also the repercussions of their disappearance in their communities and societies. This issue is complex and global, affecting families of all socio-economic backgrounds and ages.

When investigating missing person cases, it is crucial to be sensitive to the fact that there is an element of hope. It is common to see public appeals in local media and community noticeboards, where people share their knowledge of the disappearance. It is important to remember that these are not facts and could be a false hope for the family, so it is best to be transparent and disclose any information you have found from other sources.

Working on missing person cases can be emotionally and physically draining. It can involve looking in mass graves or seeing remains of people who have been subjected to physical and psychological torture. For this reason, it is crucial to have a strong support network and a good therapist when dealing with these cases. It can be a very distressing and frustrating time, but is essential to the integrity of your work.