Nothing can be more frightening than when someone that you love and care about goes missing. Going that extended period of time without hearing anything can incite panic and make you think the worst has happened. Before you start to put the worst thoughts into your head about that person and their whereabouts, there are some myths that you should dispel first. Here are the five most common myths about missing persons.
1. The Waiting Period
There’s a popular myth that you have to wait a certain time period before you report somebody missing. For most people, they think that the rule is 24 hours, while some wait for up to 72 hours until they file a report. However, the moment that you think a person is missing, you should alert the local authorities. The sooner that you call them, the better the chances are at finding that person.
There are also plenty that think it’s illegal to not wait a certain time period, while others feel that being a missing person is a crime in itself. Neither of these is true, and police aren’t going to shame you or hassle you for reporting someone missing. They’ve experienced missing person cases where they wish that someone had filed the report sooner because it would have increased the likelihood of finding them.
2. Telling Your Whereabouts
Those that have gone missing typically fear telling people the truth about where they were when they were reported missing. However, it’s only in the case of a missing child that the parents will be informed where they were and when. If you’re an adult that has gone missing and has been located by authorities, however, you don’t have to disclose your location to the reporting party.
Of course, you can give your consent to the police to let them know that you were somewhere safe and had just lost your phone or something innocent along those lines. If you worry about that person and were trying to get away from them, you can let the authorities know, and further action can be taken from there.
3. The Success Rate
In the news, we hear about missing persons who vanish into thin air and are never heard from again, either live or dead. These are sensationalized and turned into news pieces, documentaries, and even fictionalized films. However, it should be known that these cases aren’t just rare, but you nearly have a better chance of being born with 11 fingers or toes than a missing person does of not being found.
The success rate of finding a missing person is over 99.2 percent in the United States, and it’s a similar number for other developed countries around the world including France, Australia, and the United Kingdom. We fear the worst, but it’s usually the best that occurs in these missing persons cases.
4. The Repeat Missing Person Myth
Typically the first time that someone goes off the grid for the first 24 or 48 hours, people are afraid to alert authorities because they think that they’ll be shrugged off. They feel that because the person doesn’t have a history of going missing that their case won’t be taken seriously, but authorities want to make sure that everyone is found and accounted for.
Someone that doesn’t respond to calls, texts, or even answers the door might just be sick or have a broken phone, but they might also be in danger. Don’t be afraid to let authorities know that you have concerns about a person that’s missing for the first time in their life.
5. Information Access
There’s a lot of television shows and movies that will have you believe that there’s a large wiretapping operation that gets set up in living rooms around the country whenever someone goes missing. This is far from being the case, though, as police won’t access any personal data or technology that you’d only see from political wiretappings.
Instead, authorities will try to locate the missing person on social media to see if they made any indication of their whereabouts. From there, they’ll question possible witnesses, family members, and friends, while also scanning the area where the person went missing.