How to Conduct a Missing or Lost Person Investigation

Searching for people

A missing person is someone who has disappeared for a period of time, usually for unknown reasons.  Each year, over 100,000 people disappear, of which roughly 80% are children. A common misconception is that a person must be absent for 72 hours before being legally classed as a “missing person”.

In instances where there is evidence of violence or of an unusual absence, law enforcement agencies often stress the importance of beginning an investigation promptly. After seven years as a missing person, and lacking any contrary evidence, a missing person can be declared legally dead.

Missing Persons Resource Websites

If you’re looking to get started with your search, there are a number of websites that can help you conduct a complete investigation. We recommend Intelius, the leading provider of People Search and Background Check reports. Intelius has an extensive selection of people search reports, background checks, criminal records, court records, real estate and financial reports. Run a Background Check now. This may be the only site you need. However, if you’re just looking for ideas on how to get started, see Tips and Techniques for Finding Missing Persons. This is a  helpful article that provides tips and techniques for finding missing persons. Another great resource is Child Watch of North America, which maintains a toll-free line for information on missing children and for inquiries from parents searching for their children. Also, check out Child Search at the  National missing children center and the Nation’s Missing Children Organization, Inc.

North America Missing Children Association Inc. – North America Missing Children Association.  Note:  The North American Missing Children Association had its charity status revoked after an investigation into the association’s financing revealed that the company was not updating its website, not answering phone calls and emails, but continued to accept donations.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children [] – Spearheads national efforts to locate and recover missing children

Military Searches – Use this website to find missing military buddies. – The Missing Children Society of Canada is a non-profit agency that provides investigative search services to help reunite families. The organization has an in-house group of law enforcement officers who perform searches to help reunite children with their family. They work closely with federal and municipal agencies and do hands-on work, all free of charge.

To hire a private investigator that specializes in missing person searches, please visit our Private Investigator Directory.


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