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What to Do If A Loved One is Missing

It’s one of everyone’s worst nightmares – you realize that someone close to you is missing. There are many possible reasons for their disappearance. Some of these reasons are considered voluntary, like a mental illness that causes them to forget their home or be afraid of those they know, a desire for better employment that causes them to skip town, or the decision to join in a cult and cut all ties with family and friends. In other cases, your loved one may have been the victim of kidnapping, abduction, or, in the worst case, murder. Whatever the case for your loved one’s disappearance, a private investigator can be extremely helpful in finding and bringing back your loved one.

According to the North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, in 2011 alone there were 11 missing child alerts and 37 alerts of missing persons with dementia or another form of cognitive impairment. These alerts can only be requested by law enforcement officials, but when you believe someone to be missing it is imperative that you get as much help as possible as soon as you can. Wasting even a little time in taking action when you suspect someone to be missing could negatively affect the chances of finding them alive and unharmed. It is necessary to involve the police, but you can also hire a private investigator and involve your local news outlets – newspapers and television stations can help you spread the word about your missing friend or relative and can alert the public to be on the lookout for them.

The first thing you should do when you realize someone may be missing is to call around. Get in touch with their friends, family, and their boss – call anyone who may know where they may be. It is also important to keep a list of who you call; if the missing person turns up, it’s important to let everyone know that he/she is safe and sound and they no longer need to look for him/her. Go to their favorite places and see if they’re there. If no one has seen them, or if they are considered vulnerable (under 18, over 65, suffering from a cognitive disability), call the police immediately to report  it. You will want to have the missing person’s personal information readily available, as well as a description of what they were last seen wearing and when you first noticed they were missing.

While you can trust that the police will do everything in their power to find the missing person, this may be a situation in which it would be good to hire a private investigator. A private investigator is an extra person that can help retrieve your missing friend or family member. You may think that you and the police will be able to handle the investigation just fine, but a private investigator has access to databases and records that the private citizen does not. Also, they will have had years of experience in these sorts of cases, and that experience can be extremely beneficial when it comes to bringing your missing friend or loved one back home safely.

"People underestimate their capacity for change. There is never a right time to do a difficult thing. A leader's job is to help people have vision of their potential." – John Porter

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