Keeping track of what has been done will help you decide what to do next (if anything). Delegate any or all of these tasks on the checklist, and remember that these are only suggestions - you know your missing loved one best, so only do what you feel is necessary when you feel it necessary.
Although every state and city are different in how they handle missing persons cases, these are some simple guidelines that can help you get the ball rolling.
1. Don't let yourself hold back on making a report or calling to request a welfare check, out of worry that you are over-reacting. The worst thing that can come of that is someone being mad that you were looking for them. It is a whole lot better than waiting too long and losing any kind of trail they might have left.
2. Make a report. The police HAVE to take a missing persons report. If there is any kind of waiting period, use that time to call hospitals, friends, gas stations and jails in the area your loved one went missing.
3. Make a list of items that the person may have left behind that they would usually have with them. Also try to obtain their license number if their vehicle is also missing.
3. Take to social media. You can also make a page for your loved one to keep everyone informed. This is especially helpful if you don't share all of the same mutual friends. Anyone can join a page and that can increase the amount of people that can share the story, ask questions and distribute pictures.
4. Keep notebooks around the house. These will prove invaluable if your loved one goes missing for an extensive period of time.
5. When the report has been accepted by the local law enforcement, make sure you get the case number. In any communications with law enforcement, it is helpful to always include the case number. It provides a much quicker reference for them to be able to look up the case.
6. Ask the LE (law enforcement) to enter the case into NCIC and get that number as well.
7. Ask the LE to enter the case in to NAMUS.
8. There are many organizations that can help you create a missing person flyer. If you create your own, be careful to resist putting suspects names on the flyer. In the midst of your tragedy, the last thing you need is a defamation case against you. Also, refrain (and I know how hard this is) from putting your own personal information out there on flyers. There are predators that will take advantage of your personal information.
9. If your loved one is missing in Oregon we can setup flyer distribution events and vigils. Just let us know. You can find us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/OregonsMissingPersonsBlog and let us know when and where you'd like the event to happen. Or if you have an event that you have created, please post it on the page.
10. Setup a facebook page. I know a lot of people resist social media, but the truth is, it is a huge asset when you are trying to find a loved one.
11. Try to keep as positive as an outlook as possible. It may seem hard, but focus on your loved one alive and well. It may not change the outcome, but it does wonders to soothe your heart while you are waiting.
Most of all, do not assume that law enforcement will do all of this for you. They won't. They don't have the time or man power and you will most likely need to put more into this than you previously thought. They will do their best, but honestly it won't be enough.
If a month or more goes by and your loved one is still missing:
11. As the case goes on (and hopefully it won't) try to keep as much correspondence and tips via email. It is convenient to be able to go back and find information if you didn't write it in a notebook and you can refer back if someone tells you something. You can also forward important information to your detective.
12. Insist on the detective (if it hasn't already been done) getting DNA taken from an immediate family member, collecting fingerprints and dental records.
13. If you are under extreme duress (and no one would blame you if you are) you can always appoint a trusted family friend to be the voice of the family.
14. If LE haven't already, contact the media to let them know that you are still searching. Even if they don't run a story, they will always know. Eventually they will run one if you bug them enough. Oregonlive is really wonderful about running stories on the Missing.
15. Check our additional resources page for more help with your missing loved one. The page is under construction, but you can always email me and I will help you get more help.
You are not alone in your search, and although it may feel like it, just know that there are people who will give you support and help you through this time.
Families of missing people can help police by using a checklist that gives vital information about the missing person.
1.Full name of the missing person
2.Date of birth
3.Address (including apartment number, if applicable)
4.Vehicle information (make, model, body type, plate number)
5.Mental and physical condition of the missing person
6.Where the person was last seen or where they stated they were headed or who they were with
8.Scars, tattoos, birthmarks etc. and the location on the body
9.A recent photo
10.Time frame from when the missing person was last seen
11.If they attend school, which one
12.Dental records and/or DNA samples, X-Rays