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How to Find a Missing Person: Essential Steps and Tips

Updated: May 30

The best approach to finding a missing person is to collaborate with the authorities. However, if you believe the person’s disappearance is not related to criminal activity, you may consider searching for them independently before involving others. Keep in mind that finding someone is not as simple as entering their name into a search engine. To avoid wasting valuable time, it's crucial to use the most effective tools available. Remember, the longer a person is missing, the more challenging it may become to locate them.


Image by WINDCOLORS / Adobestock


Fortunately, we're here to help. Read on to learn more about how to find a missing person.


When Is Someone Considered Missing?


People can go missing for various reasons. While criminal activity might be the first assumption, individuals also disappear due to mental health issues or voluntary choices. Therefore, not all disappearances are the result of someone else causing harm or danger; sometimes, it is the person’s own decision.


Regardless of why someone is missing, if you believe they are in danger, contact the police immediately. Statistics show that 77% of missing people are found within 24 hours, and 87% are located within 48 hours, so it's crucial to start your search as soon as possible.


How To Find A Missing Person


Searching for a missing person can be challenging, and the approach you take should depend on the circumstances of their disappearance. For instance, the search strategy for someone who ran away from home will differ from that for someone who was kidnapped or someone who hasn't returned from a hike. Below, you can learn more about the tools and methods you can use to find a missing person.


Contact The Police


The first step when someone goes missing is to contact the police. They have the resources to help you locate the missing person, and if there is a concern for their safety, they can add them to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).  While the police cannot detain someone who hasn't committed a crime or is experiencing a mental health issue, they can inform you of their location and assist in finding them. Once found, it's important to take measures to ensure they don’t go missing again.


The police can also assist in cases where someone is missing due to more sinister reasons. If you suspect someone has been taken against their will, the police and FBI are your best options. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to wait 48 hours before reporting a missing person. If you believe someone is in danger, contact the authorities immediately.


Free People Search Sites


When people go missing, there is often a trail you can follow, especially if they intended to disappear. Free people search sites  like FreePeopleSearch allow you to enter someone's name, address, or phone number into a public records search tool.


By entering their information, you can access a wealth of public data, including social media activity, addresses, and associates. This can be particularly useful if someone is missing or trying to hide, as you might uncover additional properties linked to them. Furthermore, FreePeopleSearch can reveal if they've been arrested, which might explain their absence.


We highly recommend using FreePeopleSearch for online investigations because it provides comprehensive reports covering information from all 50 states. This means you can conduct a thorough search with a single query.


Hire A Private Investigator


When someone goes missing, hiring a private investigator (PI) can significantly enhance your chances of locating them. While employing a PI is more expensive than using an online tool, their specialized skills and resources make them particularly effective at finding individuals who are running away or hiding. If you believe the missing person is in danger, it is crucial to contact the authorities as well to ensure that all available resources are utilized in the search.


Find A Missing Person Today


People go missing for various reasons, so it’s crucial to start your search as soon as you notice something is wrong. Begin by reaching out to the missing person or their loved ones to gather any available information. If others are also concerned and you still can’t reach them, it’s time to contact the authorities and initiate a formal search.


While we always recommend working with law enforcement and other agencies to find a missing person, you can also take proactive steps on your own. Using a people search tool like FreePeopleSearch can provide valuable information that may help you locate them.


By ML Staff. Image courtesy of Shutterstock


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