According to a United States DOJ report released in 2007, more than 2000 Americans go missing each day. Sooner or later, every American will know someone who has gone missing. Like knowing CPR and First Aide, every household needs to know what to do when someone goes missing.
FIRST, call the police. This is the first and most important step. Do not wait 24 hours. Call immediately, if they refuse to take a report, call back later and keep calling until the police file a report. Most police will start searching for children immediately and wait at least 24 hours for adults. Additionally, if foul play is not suspected, the police generally will not investigate a missing adult.
SECOND, organize a small group of family and friends to act as your “war council”. Appoint someone as your media adviser, search coordinator, fund raiser and gofer. The media adviser should be the first contact for all interviews, press releases and approve any information being released to the public. This includes anything being posted on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. The search coordinator will coordinate all groups sent out to search. This person should be the point of contact if anything suspicious is found and will be in charge of when the police will be called in to investigate clothing finds, cases and so forth. He / She will also need to keep track of all persons who help (names, addresses and phone numbers) and areas searched. Next appoint a fundraiser, people will donate and someone is needed to keep track of the money for both legal and ethical reasons. Set up a search fund and a reward fund. Last, have someone appointed as the gofer. The gofer makes sure everyone is fed, keeps track of the health and welfare of everyone and anything else needed.
Third, hire a tracker. This step is not required if the local police have their own tracking dogs. However, ensure the dog used is a dedicated tracking dog. If a drug dog or cadaver dog is used hire a tracker. For tracking, the best dog to use is a bloodhound; they have been bred for hundreds of years for this specific purpose. A scent sample will be required, socks or underwear are best and need to be placed in sealed plastic bags with latex gloves. Talk to the tracker before obtaining the scent sample. For more information on this contact Northwestern Missing Persons Investigations on Facebook.
Fourth, be proactive. If the person is not found within a day or two, the police and media will begin to loose interest. It will be the “war councils” job to keep interest up. Pass out fliers, get everyone possible involved. Check out the Facebook page: Missing Persons Help.