Trinity Mount Ministries

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

What To Do When Your Child Goes Missing

Colette Buck | KHQ Local News Producer 

SPOKANE, Wash. - There were over 424,066 entries for missing children in the FBI's National Crime Information Center database in 2018.

While it may be scary to think about, children go missing from their homes, classrooms and neighborhoods everyday across the United States.

According to law enforcement, the best way to make sure your child returns home safety is to be prepared and know what you need to do if your child goes missing.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children lists several steps you can take to ensure your child returns home safely.

The steps you should follow include:

Call law enforcement immediately. You are advised to call the police immediately before starting to search for your child yourself. Police are required to enter a missing child's name and information into the FBI's National Crime Information Center Missing Person File right away. There is no waiting period for minors under the age of 18.

Prepare to release vital information about your child, including photos. That includes their full name, their height and weight, their age, date of birth, what they were last seen wearing and any identifying features. Police advise you also include the names of their friends, locations of any frequently visited spots, any health issues they many have or any other relevant details.

Look in your immediate area. Police advise you start looking where you last saw your child. If it was inside your home, check all the beds, couches, piles of laundry, vehicles and inside your washer and dryer. If your child is older, make sure to ask police to investigate their social media for clues and remember to call the parents of your child's friends.

Make yourself available. The first 48 hours after your child goes missing are critical. While you may be inclined to help physically search for your child, your time is better served gathering and providing information to investigators. Check your home for any personal items that may be missing, and make sure to keep your phone handy in case police need to get in touch.

Inform the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. After you've contacted the police, contact the NCMEC by calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-(800)-843-5678). They can help you by putting you in touch with national non-profits that can help with the search.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, kidnapping cases are rare, but they do happen. Being prepared and knowing what to do when your child goes missing can help increase the changes that they are found safe, regardless of how they went missing.

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