What is to be done if a person gone missing

Gone and never came back, this is how almost each story about those who gone missing starts. Reasonable actions of relatives boost a chance for successful search. 

  People can go missing for the following reasons:

  •  Yearn for adventures, lack of responsibility for the actions, addiction to alcohol, drugs, usually all of that relate to people leading dissolute lifestyles.
  • Medical reasons (a person might get ill on the street and get to a hospital). Individuals suffering from    mental disorders or memory loss can find themselves far from home and do not remember their name and residence address. 
  • Criminal reasons, i.e. murders, attacks, robbers` victims, stealings.
  • Family conflicts. Quarrels or wish to leave home (in particular, true for teenagers) 
  • Ideological motives or political views. 

Those who gone missing can be divided into the following groups:

  • senior citizens;
  • people with mental disorders;
  • minor children who run away in search for adventures, children from boarding schools, orphan asylums;
  • hunters, fishermen, mushroom  and berries gatherers that gone missing in desolate locations;
  • drowned people whose bodies were carried away by a current and not found ;
  • people who died in places access to which is excluded or complicated  (basements, switch rooms,  collectors of urban utility services communications).

Also, people go missing during military conflicts, natural disasters, plane and vessel crashes.  

When you should start worrying

It all depends on a certain situation and typical behaviour of a certain citizen.

The first indicator involves missing out of relatives` view and unusual typical behaviour (left home to visit a shop and never came back; been late from studies; never arrived to a destination).

Other criteria:

  • person does not contact anyone for a long time, i.e. doesn`t answer calls, SMS and messages in social media;
  • none of the friends and relatives have any information on his/her location;
  • absence at a workplace;
  • documents of a missing person were left at home together with belongings and money;
  • pets were left without supervision; car was left in an unusual place, etc.

Any of the reasons may trigger submission of application to the police to search for a person gone missing.

What actions should be taken when a person go missing   

When a person go missing you first need to contact the police by calling 102 or visiting the nearest police department.   

The following information should be provided to the police:

  • personal information about a missing person, i.e. name, surname, patronymic, age, hair colour, distinctive features in the form of birth marks, scars and tattoos;
  • information about circumstances under which a person gone missing.

When it comes to children, you should contact the police as soon as possible. The police are obliged to accept and register an application irrespective of absence duration and supposed place of missing.   

There are no time restrictions to submit such an application.

It is wrong to think that one can only apply to the police after 3 days from the moment of person go missing. At the same time, one should start own mini-investigation by calling through friends, colleagues, places which a missing person liked to visit; by driving through a route which a missing person used daily and so on.  

How can you find a missing person by yourself  

  • search using the specialized web-resources;
  • involvement of  voluntary crews (volunteers);
  • drawing up a leaflet, publication of announcements in social media (city publics, specialized groups) with request for reposts;
  • appeal to local mass media with request to publish information about a search in a moving message display or even make a report in the news;
  • posting leaflets;
  • regular calls to medical organizations and if possible, personal visits there;
  • familiarization with news.

Note that it is employees of law-enforcement agencies, who should coordinate search activities.    

If a person suffering from senility or mental deviations left home and does not come back than you should:

  • notify medical organizations, where a person is registered;
  • call through hospitals;
  • visit the places which a person liked to visit;
  • involve voluntary crews for search.

Also, the police should be notified about mental deviations as in some cases such people might be dangerous for others. 

Location of a person can be detected in case if a mobile device is turned on. Each mobile device has an individual IMEI-code. An IMEI-code can be checked via Service to check IMEI registration. Information about location of a subscriber and itemization of calls is considered as private and in order to get it one should obtain a court authorization. If a person goes missing staying abroad, you should contact the local police and diplomatic mission (embassy). An embassy can coordinate activities of the local police; keep in contact with relatives of a missing person; assists in fill-in of the required applications and gathering of documents.

If teenagers are involved, you should observe the following rules:

  • always know where a child is going, who will accompany him/her and at what time a son/daughter should come back home;
  • set a “speed dialing” option in a teenager`s mobile phone for parents and police;
  • regularly take photos of your children;
  • keep in mind the clothes which children wear when leaving a house;
  • a child should learn his/her name and home address by heart;
  • regularly speak with a child on observance of personal precautions;
  • instruct a child on whom he/she can contact in case of force-majeure;
  • if a mobile device capabilities allow, install a specialized application that enables to locate a location of its owner. 

Rules for senior citizens are as follows:

  • there should be copies of medical documents at home on a senior`s health condition and medication taken;
  • it is recommended to know about all the places visited by a senior citizen;  
  • have contact details of his/her neighbours and make an agreement with them on timely notification in case of any unusual situation, for instance, if a senior relative have not left an apartment for a long time or there is no light in his/her windows even in the evenings;
  • if a senior citizen has all the features of dementia, take care that there would be a note in his/her pockets (bag, wallet) containing information about a person (full name, contact details of relatives) or such information should be sewed on the personal belongings.   

Last update: 28.09.2020