How to Find a Missing Person: 5 Steps to Finding Someone

Are you trying to find someone, but are falling short? Use this simple 5 step guide on how to find a missing person.

Have you not heard from a loved one in some time? You may be trying to think positively. Maybe their phone died or they’re in an area with no service.

What if the loved one lives with you and they never made it home? Maybe they stayed the night at a friend’s house. Right?

While you may think it’s best to think positive when a loved one is missing, it’s more important to be proactive and try to locate them immediately.

Especially since the first 72 hours are the most critical hours in a missing person’s investigation.

If you need to know how to find a missing person, follow these crucial steps.

Reasons to Look for a Missing Person

The main reason people may want to look for a missing person is if they suddenly haven’t seen or heard from a loved one and are worried they’re in danger.

However, there are other reasons to look for a missing person. These include:

  • Family reunions
  • Birth parents (for adopted individuals)
  • Fractured and reunited friendships
  • You have a responsibility to someone else (you owe them money, etc.)

The purpose of your missing person search determines how you’ll search for them.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Is your loved one an addict?
  • Did they have any debt?
  • Do they have a mental illness?
  • Did they recently end a relationship?
  • Did they have any problems in the workplace?
  • Have they been a victim of domestic violence?
  • Have they previously been involved in a violent crime?
  • Do they have a past criminal history?
  • Are they suicidal?
  • Did they talk about meeting up with someone they met online?
  •  Are they out of town or on vacation?

It’s not easy to think of your loved one being potentially harmed or in a bad situation. But knowing where they were during the crime or their situation can help you find them.

Should You Contact Law Enforcement or File a Missing Person’s Report?

While there are many search methods you can do yourself, there are times it’s best to contact law enforcement before anything.

When should you immediately contact law enforcement? If their absence is unusual, this usually signals danger. For example, let’s say your son or daughter immediately walks home after school but they never showed up one day.

You can also refer to the previous questions. Was your loved one in a situation where they could have been in grave danger? For example, maybe they talked to you about going on a date with someone they met on a dating app.

How to Find a Missing Person: 5 Steps to Follow

Whether or not you decide to contact law enforcement, it’s important you do your part to find your loved one and assist in law enforcement’s search. Here are a few crucial steps to follow.

Step 1: Locate Their Phone

Your loved one may more than likely have their phone. Or, their captor has their phone. Worst come to worst, their phone was abandoned somewhere. But that place still serves as a clue.

Some cell phone companies provide phone location services. If your loved one has an iPhone, Apple offers a “find my iPhone” service.

What if you have access to your loved one’s phone and you notice they have been receiving calls and texts from an unknown person?

You can perform a reverse cell phone number lookup to find the phone number holder’s name and even their address.

Step 2: Contact Additional Personnel

If you have no luck locating your loved one’s phone, you can reach out to any of their friends or other family members. Ask about the last time they saw the missing person or if they may know any information about their whereabouts.

Step 3: Search Online

Social media is a powerful tool in missing person’s cases. Your loved one may have posted a status or a picture, explaining what they’re doing. They may have even tagged their last location or who they’re with.

Another powerful social media lookup method is searching through their friend's list and accessing their phone numbers.

Some people make their phone numbers public on social media. You can do a reverse phone number lookup to see if these people are who they say they are on social media.

If social media doesn’t work, Google searches their name or any additional identifiers. You can also search for additional websites they were active on, such as forums.

This may sound scary, but you’ll also want to check online ads. There’s a chance your loved one could be trafficked online.

If there’s a phone number attached to the ad, you can perform a reverse phone number lookup to see who posted the ad.

Step 4: Make Local Phone Calls

If you have no luck online, you can make local phone calls in your area. It’s important to call your local hospital, jail, hotels, homeless shelters, and transportation services.

Step 5: File a Missing Person’s Report, Contact the Press and Create Ads

If none of these steps work, it’s time to file a missing person’s report.

Contact your law enforcement, gather as much information as you can, describe their appearance in detail and provide a photo, as well as any evidence you have (such as who they were last with and where they were).

It’s also recommended you contact the press. The story will run on the news, reaching more people in your local area and beyond. You’ll also have to create missing person’s ads with your loved one’s picture and information.

We Hope You Find Your Loved One

Whether a loved one has gone missing or you want to find someone you lost touch with, it’s important for everyone to know how to find a missing person.

A reverse phone number search will benefit you greatly during this process. Take a look at our website. Don't worry, your privacy will always stay protected. Read our privacy protection policy.

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