1. PrincessSofia
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    PrincessSofia Active Member

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    Missing people in the us ?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by PrincessSofia, Jul 25, 2015.

    Hi =) ! In my story one of my characters is missing, I'm not from the USA, so I'd like to know what is the law regarding missing people ? I mean, how many hours do they have to be missing for until the police starts looking for them ? In France I think it's 48 hours. And also, if the person missing is an important public figure, (CEO of his own company, and running for mayor), does the police proceeds in a different way ? and what does the police do exactly when they have a case of missing person ?


    Thanks :)
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Depends on the age and circumstances. Assuming this is an adult, it's not uncommon for police to wait some time before starting a case, but if there are suspicious circumstances they might not.

    And it's going to differ by police department policy, I don't think there is a single standard.

    Which is good news, you can write the story any way that works and it should be credible.
     
  3. PrincessSofia
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    PrincessSofia Active Member

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    thanks :)
     
  4. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    I believe it is also 48 hours here. They wait to see if the person will show up on their own. Now, it's a different story if it is a child that has gone missing. But I'll assume it is an adult you're talking about. It's tricky because adults have the "right" to disappear if they want to.

    So one of the first things they do when they get a missing person's report is look at the person's lifestyle and behavior. Do they have reasons to stay in their life and situation? Do they have a family, a job, a social life, etc? If so, it's unlikely this person would want to vanish, and they're more likely to launch and investigation. Are they unstable, having marital problems, in debt, jobless? That person is more likely to want to start a new life and therefore the police wouldn't feel the same sense of urgency.

    A high profile case would definitely receive priority, if for no other reason than the media would be all over it and the cops would want to look like they are doing everything they can.
     
  5. AgentBen
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    AgentBen Member

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    Yeah, if anyone under 18 goes missing, then the police will probably start searching straight away. If not, the police will probably wait. Unless of course, they went missing under suspicious circumstances.
     
  6. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Here's something else to keep in mind:

    A person who has been declared missing will be, unless they were found, declared legally dead after a period of seven years. The thinking is that seven years is plenty of time for a missing person to show up again. 'Course, it gets awkward when someone who had been missing for a decade finally shows up again.

    How does that happen you might be wondering? A number of reasons and here is one such reason:

    - They had no idea they were on the Missing Person's list.
    • This might happen if they, in a fit of rage or distress, were convinced the world couldn't care less if they were gone so they just walk off. Months/Years later, they find out that someone cared enough to declare them missing, so they return.
    • They were kidnapped at a very young age, thus they probably aren't even aware that they were missing.
    • They were held prisoner, but fortunately escaped.
    • They decided to quit society and go live in nature.
    • Tangent to the first, they decided to start a new life under a new identity at a new location.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2015
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  7. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    Since I don't know the particular context of your story, this may or may not be of any help, but...

    For minors (under the age of 18), the most prominent and well-known feature of police response is the AMBER Alert system. The AMBER Alert is a nationwide system that can be used by any police department in the country if the need arises. An AMBER Alert is a message containing information about the missing child (name, age, race, hair/eye colour, height, etc.) which is instantly broadcast to the public across a wide variety of platforms: SMS text message, email, radio broadcast, cable television, electronic highway signs, electronic billboards, public display scrollboards (like the ones at airports and stadiums), and online on Google, Bing, Facebook, and Twitter.
    In the case of an abduction/kidnapping, the message will also contain the same information about the suspect, as well as a description of the vehicle the suspect was last seen driving (and that vehicle's license plate number, if it is known), and whether or not the suspect could be armed.

    It's quite a sight to see when you're in public when an AMBER Alert is issued; everyone's phones start beeping all at once, pictures pop up on signs, television and radio programs are interrupted... it's designed to make sure nobody misses it. As such, it offers some great potential for drama in fiction. Imagine if you were the one who abducted a child, and you're trying to make your escape, when all of the sudden, everyone around you now has a description of you and the child, with your name and face scrawled across giant signs and every single person in the area is now looking for you!

    Wikipedia article about the AMBER Alert system: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMBER_Alert
     
  8. Christine Ralston
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    Christine Ralston Active Member

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    Yes, for anyone over the age of 18, waiting 48 hours is pretty standard unless there are suspicious circumstances.
     

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