Missing Persons Investigation

Missing persons investigation is a complex field. Most detectives with law enforcement agencies and police departments receive extensive training in the area.


NCIC categorizes missing persons as juvenile, endangered, disabled and other, involuntary, and catastrophe. The ability to assess risk is vital to successful investigations. The risks may be physical, social, psychological, and legal.

Background Checks

Missing persons investigators are able to find people who have gone missing with the help of a variety of resources and techniques. They may pay informants, search the Internet and public databases, study police records regarding the case, and conduct surveillance in areas that the person is likely to frequent. They also search through facilities such as hospitals and mortuaries.

They also use their contacts to identify potential witnesses. They interview people who know the person and can provide clues into their behavior before they went missing, such as diary entries or literature that they have read. They also perform background checks on the person to discover any possible motives for their disappearance.

Experienced investigators have advanced research skills and can locate people quickly and accurately. They also have a strong work ethic and remain committed to the investigation until it is completed. They can also use a variety of tools and techniques to assist in the investigation, including e-mail interceptions, social media tracing, and traditional investigative methods like interviews.

A missing person investigation often involves a complex web of information and leads, making it difficult to pinpoint a subject’s location. Investigators must keep track of all lines of inquiry and different hypotheses to ensure they don’t miss any important clues. They also must be able to collaborate with law enforcement officials and other agencies involved in the case.


It is essential that the police are able to speak directly to people close to a missing person. These may include parents, family members and friends as well as colleagues and neighbours. These interviews should be recorded and the information logged appropriately. In addition, the investigation team should consider whether to interview any witnesses who might have seen a person who is missing.

Interviewing can also help to identify a place the person was last seen or where they might have gone to hide. Checking for any evidence of the person leaving a place such as bank transactions, telephone records or closed circuit television should be considered and may be helpful in locating them.

Rewards are often used in a missing persons investigation to encourage the public to provide information. This should always be done with care, as rewards can have a negative effect on the investigative process. Reward procedures should be clearly documented and reviewed regularly.

Long term missing person cases can be some of the hardest to resolve. Despite the efforts of police officers, they are often hampered by lack of leads and external pressures from families and media interest.

A return interview should be conducted with children who have been missing for a period of time. This should be a more detailed interview than the initial preventative interviews and will involve the child talking through their experience and what happened to them.


The tracing process is one of the most important parts of any missing persons investigation. It involves examining social media, gathering public records, and interviewing people who know the missing person. This helps investigators determine the person’s whereabouts or their intentions. It also allows them to identify any possible clues to their location, such as a diary entry or hastily-scribbled note. Additionally, tracing services can track phone signals and search for a missing person’s mobile device.

This process can be a time-consuming and emotionally-difficult one, but it is vital to find the person. PIs who specialize in tracing can use their expertise and resources to locate a missing person quickly and efficiently. They can also provide emotional support for family members during the process.

Tracing services are especially useful for locating individuals who have gone missing in the past. Whether they have voluntarily disappeared, are being sought for legal reasons, or are wanted by law enforcement agencies, tracing services can help them find the person and provide answers to their loved ones.

PIs who specialize in tracing have access to databases and information that is not available to the general public. They can also investigate multiple lines of inquiry to find the missing person, and they can provide detailed reports and documentation. Moreover, they can work discreetly to ensure the safety of the person being sought.


As a part of a missing persons investigation, documentation is important. This includes police reports, forensic information and any other data that might be relevant to the case. For example, investigators may be able to find out that the missing person had an outstanding warrant out for their arrest or they might discover that the person was hiding from dangerous people.

Missing persons investigations can be lengthy and complicated. This is particularly true if the person has been gone for several years. In some cases, the family might even hire a private investigator to help in the search.

In addition, families must cope with the psychological effects of a missing loved one. This can lead to financial strain, as they might need to travel or take time off work to look for the missing person. Additionally, they can experience legal limbo as they wait for a body to be found so that they can get a death certificate and access their bank accounts or estates.

Addressing this global issue requires a multi-disciplinary approach, combining efforts of governments and nongovernmental organizations in a coordinated effort to collect and analyze data and provide direct support for affected families. The International Organization for Migration, Interpol and UN agencies can play an important role in this respect, fostering collaboration between nations and promoting policy development and implementation to reduce the number of disappearances.