Missing Persons

Requirements for listing a missing juvenile

The Sierra Vista Police department will document the child has run away and enter them into the national database (NCIC) as a runaway. If an officer anywhere in the country runs a check on the child, a “hit” will come up advising the officer of the runaway status. The officer will then verify the child’s identity and the child’s parents will be contacted to take custody of their child. Refusing to do so may result in the parent/guardian being charged with child neglect.

There is a difference between a missing person and a runaway. A missing person case has an unexplained disappearance whereas the runaway has a motive to disappear and does not want to be found. Finding and recovering a runaway child depends greatly on the active and aggressive participation of the parent/guardian.

Tips to help you start finding your runaway

Make a list of all friends, associates and classmates, and start calling.

  1. This lets your runaway know that you are hot on their trail and are serious about finding them.
  2. Last names, phone numbers and addresses are a great help to assist law enforcement in locating your child. Be sure to include the runaway’s boyfriend/girlfriend.
  3. Many runaways have been trained by other runaways and will tell your child to take date books and photos with them or destroy them.
  4. The runaway may clear all telephone numbers from a cellular telephone databank so that you won’t call their friends.

Keep track of who you have contacted, what they told you and when.

  1. Your runaway’s friends will often hide the truth from you and the police.
  2. Document the names of the parents and tell the parents that you absolutely do not give permission for your runaway to stay or live anywhere except home.
  3. If the cellular telephone that your runaway might be using is in your name, you can get the call records from the cell provider.

List all of the hang outs and activities of your child.

  1. You may know of several and the runaway’s friends may give you more.
  2. Let the police know if the runaway has used or is using drugs.
  3. List what the runaway enjoys doing in his/her spare time. Has the runaway talked about places where they had fun?

List what the runaway took with them.

  1. How many changes of clothing?
  2. Any food or money taken?
  3. Cellular telephone?
  4. Make-up or toys missing? (CD player, Gameboy, skateboard, bicycle, etc.)

Check telephone, computer / Internet access.

  1. Check the computer history.
  2. Search for e-mail to friends and messages about running away.
  3. Check your long distance telephone log.

Check with the school and any employers.

  1. The school will be glad to give you an attendance history.
  2. The school staff and security officers may know friends that you don’t.
  3. Is your runaway expecting a paycheck soon?
  4. Are there work associates that you are not aware of?
  5. What is the work history like? Unexcused absences from work?

Monitor your home.

  1. Many runaways will sneak home for food, money and get more clothing. Many times they don’t come alone.
  2. Is there a way to secure your home and know if the runaway was there while you were at work or away?

Some runaway cases may last months. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to call the police to notify them of the child’s return. Please be patient. The police are working a large number of cases at any given time.

Requirement for listing a missing adult

In Arizona, thousands of adults are reported missing each year. Some people have seen on television that you must wait 24 or even 72 hours to report someone missing. This is not true. There is no waiting period. In fact, the sooner we have a case the sooner we can get to work in helping you find the missing person. Very few missing adults are the victim of foul play or some other criminal act. Most missing persons are found or return home within just a few days. If any foul play is suspected the investigation changes and escalates accordingly.

Being a missing person is not a crime. Adults can be missing if they choose to. They can choose to leave work, ignore friends and even family. Because of this, law enforcement is quite limited in what they can do. Even if law enforcement does locate the person, they can not divulge any information about that person without specific permission from that person.

Entering adults into the national database (NCIC), requires specific criteria. If the missing person has a physical handicap or mental disability, they are missing involuntarily, they are a victim of a catastrophe or if they are in some way endangered, then the person can be placed into NCIC.

List of Missing Persons

Currently, Sierra Vista Police do not have any listed missing persons.