When an adult is voluntarily missing

It is not a crime to go missing.  Most everyone knows that.  It may be an emotional crime to just disappear and not let your family know what has happened to you, but it is not a crime, and if you are over 18 years of age in most states, you can just disappear. 

Many adults disappear for different reasons.  It could be as simple as they are mad at their family (in most instances, their family members don’t even know they are mad),  they feel emotional trapped by an overbearing parent or spouse and figure that it is easier to disappear than face the issue, or it can be more complicated, like the need to hide because of child support issues or crime or it can be accidental where they have driven their car off the road and sunk into a pond or had a heart attack in a remote area, the list can be endless, why someone is not contacting their family.

Because of this, police have a difficult line to walk.  It is not always clear cut if the adult disappearance is intentional or not.  When a child goes missing, it is usually clear that it is involuntarily, but as a child get’s older, into their teens, it is not as easy to decipher if they chose to leave or not.

With no evidence of crime, police cannot get a search warrant that will allow them to get account information for their internet or cell phone.  You can point the finger at the cell phone or internet companies, but then you have to remember, they are the same companies that are keeping your information safe and away from nosy people.  And you also have to remember, if you wanted to “disappear” wouldn’t you be thankful that you could and no one, not even your own parents, could stop you, nor find you by that information.  As an adult, you become free as a bird to do whatever you want in life, even if it means disappearing and never seeing your family again.

From the moment a person disappears, many investigators, because of their past experience with MP’s, will make an early call as to whether it is voluntary or involuntary. 

If they do decide it is voluntary, based mostly on the fact that there is no sign of foul play, police departments will not put all their resources into finding that person.  They just don’t have the man power nor money to do it.   The police know that eventually, the MP will either get pulled over for a speeding ticket, come home on their own, or someone will eventually come across their body.

For parents of adult children, it is hard to understand why their child would go missing, and insist that it is involuntary.  They become frustrated as time passes and they get angry when they realize how little the police can really do in this type of case.  They suddenly realize they are on their own to find their child, and because their child is an adult, they cannot get any information from their cell phone or computer records. 

In the beginning parents of adult missing children think that everyone will be looking for their missing MP, the police will use every officer.  I can’t blame then for that naive point of view,  when they see TV shows and cases where a whole town will come out looking for someone, but, in reality, most MP’s don’t get anywhere that much attention.  In fact, after a few weeks, the parents, spouses, and/or family is begging media to keep the story out in the public view.

I am happy to be able to help in anyway, by posting as many missing persons as I can, and I hope that everyone that reads my post, can be part of the MP crew and keep an eye out for the missing, as they go about their day, but I was wondering if there isn’t one more thing that can be done to help out families of voluntarily missing people.

What if there was an organization that would act as a third party, that would allow MP’s to send untraceable messages to their families to let them know they are okay, but have chosen voluntarily not to come home.

It is obvious that a voluntarily MP, does not want to talk to their family, but they also are probably dealing with guilt and wished there was a way to communicate without talking to their loved ones directly.

To keep from someone other than the missing MP to post, they would need to identify themselves with a personal fact that only their family members would know. 

As a parent of a MP, you never stop looking for your child till the day you die.  No matter what age they are, they are still your child.  And to be kept in the dark about their whereabouts and to live day after day, not knowing if their dead or alive can be an unbearable existence that no parent should have to go through.

Just one short little note from their loved one, telling them they are alright, could make all the difference in the world.

What do you think?  Do you think a forum that would allow MP’s to anonymously post would be utilized?

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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

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