Contrary to popular belief, there’s no time requirement for reporting a missing person in Texas. We’ve all seen movies and TV shows where someone vanishes. The family wants to report them missing, but they have to wait for 24-48 hours.
Fortunately, the reality is that you don’t have to wait and hope someone turns up before you begin the process. Let’s take a look at the process and see how you can start the search for your loved one.
How to File a Missing Persons Report
As soon as a person’s whereabouts are unknown, and you feel concern, you can report them missing to local law enforcement. Typically, police prioritize missing children, people with mental illness, and suspicious cases.
It’s a good idea to file the report in person. Doing so allows you to share the reasons behind your concern. Additionally, when reporting a missing person, it’s a good idea to bring another person who shares your concerns.
Police have to take missing person reports. If someone tries to send you away, insist on it.
Preparing to Report a Missing Person
Here are a few ways to prepare before you file a missing persons report with the police.
- Save and fill out the Missing Person Details Form.
- Provide an appropriate recent picture and be ready for it to be shared across media.
- Information is important, so be honest, and send additional details as you remember them.
- Work to establish a rapport with the officers in charge of your case.
- If possible, see whether the officers are able to triangulate the location of their phone. Understand, though, that this only works if the phone is on.
- Ensure they alert every station in the surrounding area through internal communications.
- See whether the officer handling the case advises against media attention before you alert news channels.
Remember that someone disappearing is not a crime. Unfortunately, that means reporting a missing person isn’t always a priority for local law enforcement. Moreover, try not to overestimate the resources they have available.
NamUs: The National Missing & Unidentified Persons System
NamUs is a government-funded resource that complements state Missing Persons Units. It operates under the Department of Justice and is the official platform for missing Americans. Additionally, the organization works with the National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Assistance to promote awareness.
Unfortunately, they do not automatically update their database. You have to submit a request for them to add your loved one. They also have a number of resources available for information on reporting a missing person.
Using a Private Investigator to Find Someone
Another tactic many people use to locate someone is to work with a private investigator. Generally, the success of the investigation hinges on the information and resources available to the PI. When you choose to work with a PI, it is crucial that you provide as much information as possible.
The more information you share, the more likely they are to locate the person. Investigators provide an array of services, but it is their level of experience that makes them a valuable resource.
Remember, taking immediate action, utilizing available resources, and maintaining open communication are crucial steps in the search for a missing person in Texas. Engaging the services of a private investigator can also be a valuable option, as their expertise and access to resources can enhance the chances of locating the missing person.