Common Misconceptions about Missing Person Investigations

Debunking Myths Surrounding Missing Person Investigations

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System records over 600,000 missing person cases annually. This figure is alarming and especially troubling to the loved ones of the disappeared person. If you are trying to find a missing person, naturally, your first step would be filing a missing person report with the nearest police station. While law enforcement agencies have the training to conduct missing person investigations, they often lack sufficient resources.

Because of this constraint, hiring a private investigator is your best option to locating a missing person swiftly. If this is your first time requesting a missing person investigation, knowing the common misconceptions would help you act accordingly and maintain realistic expectations.

Common Myths About Missing Person Investigations

Myth #1: You must let 24 hours pass before filing a missing person report

This myth is perhaps the most common and ludicrous misconception often perpetuated by the media. Every hour that passes after someone disappears counts, and the first 72 hours are the most critical.

For a private investigator, one of our primary goals is to recover as much evidence as possible. The first 24 hours provide the highest chances of getting credible leads because this is when memories are still fresh. Remember, the investigators will need to speak to people other than family members. It can be challenging to track witnesses as time passes.

Myth #2: You must report to the jurisdiction where the person disappeared

It can be confusing when a loved one goes missing in a different state far from other relatives or friends. However, none of this matters. What’s important is that your concern gets to the authorities. Thanks to technological advancements, once you file a missing person report, every police officer has access to that information regardless of their jurisdiction.

Additionally, every city in the United States has a Missing Persons Unit. It would be best if you contacted Florida’s Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse (MEPIC).

Myth #3: You shouldn’t report a missing person if this isn’t the first time they’ve disappeared

There are various reasons why a person can go missing. Therefore, even if the person’s disappearance were voluntary, it would be best to avoid assumptions. In some cases, the reason for their unknown whereabouts could point to foul play, auto injuries, or health-related incidents.

Myth #4: Cold cases are essentially inactive cases

A common concern among families with a long-term missing person is that the case is no longer active. However, this is entirely untrue. Unless the investigations generate an outcome, the cold case will remain active.

Myth #5: A private investigator has access to all personal records

Again, movies are to blame for this common misconception. Often, you’ll see a private investigator tapping phones and installing trackers on the suspect’s vehicle. In reality, private investigators can only visit the crime scene if it’s in a public area such as a park or club.

As for personal accounts, an experienced investigator can only rely on public records to create links to phone and bank records.

How Private Investigators Conduct Missing Person Investigations

Now that we’ve debunked the common myths, here’s how investigators conduct private investigations.

  • By using licensed plate scanners to find missing persons
  • By conducting rigorous online searches
  • By analyzing social media posts
  • By conducting interviews with family members, friends, and potential witnesses
  • By partnering with law enforcement agencies to support the investigations
  • By utilizing our professional networks, for instance, other private investigators

Working With Experts

Missing person investigations require help from people who understand their delicate nature. Sig 14, Inc. knows how to find missing persons using legal means and diverse resources. Whether you need to locate a family member or a missing debtor, reach out to us at (813) 261-1192 | (813) 492-5775 today to schedule a free consultation.