An inquirer asked me how the local police conduct a missing persons investigation for an adult. I told the inquirer that although we work closely with local law enforcement agencies when conducting such investigations I could not speak for them. However, I took some time to explain how Hunter Investigations conducts this type of investigation.

When an adult, a person beyond the age of majority, goes missing the first thing to do is make a written description of the person: ethnicity, height, weight, hair and eye color; the clothing they were last seen wearing and the last place they were seen. Once you have this information our private detectives can begin the investigation. Next make a list of family, friends and co-workers along with their address and phone numbers; this vital information can be processed and given to the investigators already working on your case. Private investigators can begin work on a missing persons case immediately whereas the police tend to give these type cases low priority depending largely on the circumstances that surround the victim who has gone missing.

According to Jeremy Bennett, Director of Training and Emergency Management, Southern Crescent Technical College Police, Griffin, Georgia: “The police are so inundated with all different types of case work that in many jurisdictions if a person is over the age of 13 they are not a priority to be located.” Bennett explained further that, “…if a young child has been kidnapped and is missing for more than 3 days statistics bear out that they are most likely no longer alive. If an adult has gone missing and there is any history of domestic violence associated with this person, the first 24 hours are critical in locating the victim. With each day that follows without the victim being located, statistics dictate that the victim, when found, will most likely be deceased.”

“Atlanta is the hub for human trafficking in the south,” Bennett said. “With people coming in from the islands off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina, coming from Savannah, up [Interstates] 16 to 75, then once in Atlanta they hop on a plane or bus and disappear.” Bennett went on to expound on the fact that time is of the essence when locating a missing person.

It is helpful to have filed a missing persons report with local law enforcement because the report will be listed with the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) which is the primary tracking system for crime-related incidents. This electronic data base is maintained by the FBI and is accessible to all criminal justice agencies. As the private detectives investigate the case from one jurisdiction to the next if they need to solicit their assistance, law enforcement can access NCIC and immediately send an alert out to their on-duty officers. Bennett did emphasize that each jurisdiction has their own threshold of what they are able to do and that the responsibility for locating a victim is not solely that of the police. Family, friends and co-workers have to put forth a joint-effort.  The media can also be of help in these situations as well, said Bennett.

Hunter Investigations detectives work closely with the victim’s family, friends, co-workers, local, state and federal law enforcement as well as the media to locate adult missing persons. Check out SafePassage Adolescent Services ® to find out more information on locating missing teenagers. Bennett also provides more information about law enforcement protocol for missing persons cases.