How Is A Missing Person Or Runaway Defined?
A missing person is a person, adult or child, who has disappeared, voluntarily or involuntarily. If you are unable to find the person immediately, contact the police. Don’t wait, especially if the person who is missing is vulnerable – a child or elderly, the person has a disability or mental impairment, is sick or injured, in extreme cold weather, or if you suspect foul play. In such cases, notify police as soon as you think something is wrong. Some jurisdictions have different time requirements before a report can be filed, but don’t let that make you hesitate if you suspect a problem.
Determining if a minor is a runaway can create a difficult position for the authorities, especially if both parents are estranged or divorced. The cause or causes for teen runaway can be many, and there can be significant disagreement between two estranged parents on those causes. But focusing on the reasons why are less important immediately than aggressively beginning a search plan, unless the reasons suggest a clue as to where the teen may have gone.
There are many other reasons why someone is missing. It can be flight from a crime, physical or mental abuse, an emotional dispute, fear – or it could be simply getting lost.
The guardians of a minor who has run away should not delay in seeking help in the search. The first hours are a critical time before the minor can get too far. For the same reasons as in an earlier paragraph, don’t wait to file a runaway report with the local police if you feel the minor is likely running aay.
Sometimes someone, including an estranged spouse or other relative, will aid the minor, sometimes even hiding the minor from being found. Harboring a runaway can be a criminal offence. So there is a possibility that anyone assisting the minor may have charges filed against them. But in estranged family situations, or if abuse is suspected, involved relatives often are not thinking of consequences when the minor’s well-being is perceived to be at stake.
Sometimes circumstances are such that a parent or spouse would prefer a more discreet search for a runaway than involving the police. Or, if a missing person case drags on too long and confidence is lost in the authorities’ progress or search plan, contacting a professional private investigator like us is a smart move. Our experienced detectives are experts at finding missing persons quickly and, if needed, discreetly. And, unlike authorities who are often very busy working on many cases, we can focus our substantial resources and contacts to mobilize a search without distraction.
If in doubt, please don’t hesitate to call us. A private, no-obligation consultation is free, and it may illuminate a logical path to recovering that missing person that you cannot see in your present emotional state.
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