The First Things to Do when a Loved One Goes Missing

Friends hugging after finding missing friendIt’s a tragic thing to lose a loved one, but it’s more horrible not to know why and how they got lost. Statistics show that over 400 people are listed in New Zealand’s missing persons’ database. Families of these people are still on the journey of finding out what exactly happened to their loved one.

The emotional impact of realising that a child or a sister went missing is terrible. It’s usually the first hours into the news that intense fear, anger, and guilt creep in all at the same time, overwhelming some. But it’s important not to let emotions get in the way of finding missing persons; Auckland experts explain that the first hours are crucial.

Two things you should be able to do in this phase: report and help with the search.

Reporting to Authorities

File a missing person report at the nearest police station, as soon as you confirm that your relative has disappeared. You have to provide the missing person’s full name and birth date and all the information about where and when you last saw them. The latter also includes a physical description of what they were wearing at the time when they were last seen. It would also help if you could provide the police with a recent picture of your relative.

Helping the Search

In the search, the goal is to get as many people as possible informed about the missing person. It’s important to put it in the consciousness of the local community.

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One strategy is to print and distribute posters that have the image of the missing person, information about the last sighting, and contact persons the public can reach out to. Hand these out in local supermarkets, malls, schools, churches, etc.

Another strategy is to appeal to broadcast media so that TVs and radios can also be platforms to inform the public about the missing person case. You may also want to enlist the help of private investigators to boost the search efforts.

The first hours of realising that a loved one goes missing is overwhelming. But keep in mind these first steps in responding to start bringing your family back home.

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