Missing Children International

What To Do If Your Child Is Missing

  1. First and foremost, do your best to remain calm. If you are reading this because you suspect that your child is lost, abducted or has run away we know how stressful the situation can be. You are most likely filled with anger and other emotions. However, you will need to remain as calm as possible. Law enforcement and professional detectives can help you easier when you remain calm and keep your wits. Whatever the case and wherever your child has gone there is a proper and effective way to find their safe return. Keep this positive emotion in mind as you deal with the situation.
  2. Notify your local police department or county sheriff immediately. Provide them with as much information as possible. Ask them to fill out a normal police report. Let them ask questions and answer them honestly. Remember, they are professionals and know what to ask, what to look for and how to best proceed in your best interest. It is very important that you communicate with law enforcement in a factual, yet truthful way so they can best serve you. Do and act accordingly as they instruct.
  3. If you sense your child or teen has runaway, call the NRS or The National Runaway Service. Their number is toll free 1-800-RUNAWAY or 1-800-786-2929. They are staffed with a switchboard of well trained volunteers who will offer advice and provide support right away. Moreover the agency will provide you will many excellent services free of charge that can assist you. These include crisis intervention, "home free" via Greyhound bus as well as act as a center for messages between you and your child. On your first phone call, leave a message for your child or teen. There is always a chance they will call and receive it.
  4. Spread the word to as many people as you know that your child or teen is missing. Ask them to report to you any information they may have regarding the whereabouts of your child. Be sure to tell them that you have reported them to the NRS and that they will act as an intermediary for messages. It could be that your child or teen's friends know more than they will admit, but there is a good chance they will at least pass along contact information. It is important that you stress to everyone you and your child knows that you are not angry, just anxious to be reunited with your child.
  5. Contact the media meaning all the local newspapers, TV and radio stations in the area. Give them as much information as possible including pictures and posters of your child. Be sure that they have your telephone number, yet keep it confidential. Your child or teen may call them if a story is reported. They will do whatever possible to help you. Visit your child's school. Talk with the principle and teachers. Inform them and ask if they have any information that may help. Many teachers can tell you of behavior and differences in behavior that can be helpful.
  6. Lock down your child's computer. Turn it off and do not let anyone have access to it except for law enforcement or a reputable private detective. This is very important because your child's computer will have many clues as to their whereabouts and how they dissapeared. The computer has already stored valuable information that will assist professionals such as visits to Social Networking sites, chat rooms, perhaps even chat history and so on.
  7. Gather up important paperwork that may provide more hnts and clues to what happened. These would include things such as phone bills, e-mail activity, cell phone/pager records, credit card activity, bus or airline dockets, bank statements, and employment records if your child was employed. Organize these records and keep them in a file stored in a safe place. You will want to provide information to appropriate professionals as quickly as possible. You may also want to make photocopies for distribution to law enforcement and private detectives.
  8. Install Caller Identification on your phone and be sure your answering machine or voice mail service is working properly. You may hear from your child or someone may phone you with an anonymous tip. The message may be valuable and even more so if you have the time, date, and caller identification information.
  9. Be good to yourself and others around you. Take care of your spouse and other children. It can be a juggling act because of the emotional roller coaster you're on, yet it will not serve you well to increase tension or problems with those who remain close to you. Keep your wits, remain calm and follow the steps in this plan of action. Your chances of success are far greater.