If someone close to you goes missing, this can be a traumatic and terrifying experience. It is also one which you can take action to deal with in a number of ways, rather than being paralyzed by that aforementioned fear.
Here are a few steps you should take if you cannot find an individual, to help give a framework to your response to this situation.
Call the police
Getting in touch with the police is an obvious strategy to find a missing person, although you may be anxious to do so because you feel that it might be a waste of police time, especially in the early stages.
Clearly if the person who has gone missing is very young or otherwise vulnerable, asking for assistance from the authorities will be worthwhile. If they are an adult and there is no immediately obvious reason for their absence, the response from the police may be less ideal.
Check prison populations
For missing adults, a checkup of the prison populations in your state or region will be a quick way to work out if they have ended up behind bars.
This is simple to do, as by checking this page you can pinpoint prisoners in Texas, and similar databases exist for other states.
Obviously if the person you cannot find has only just gone missing, then they will take some time to show up in prison. However, if you have lost touch and not been able to find them for months or years, a search of prisons could be fruitful.
Make use of NamUS
NamUS, otherwise known as the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, is a free resource which aims to help find and identify missing individuals across the US.
With tens of thousands of open cases and even more resolved ones under its belt, it is a potent tool for the families of missing people, as well as for a number of government agencies that may come in contact with them.
Since there is no charge to create an account or harness its resources, NamUS is an ideal support infrastructure for those who need it most.
Harness social media
Social media has become an important asset in the process of spreading the word about a person you cannot find, and it is often best to start by building momentum behind your campaign on sites like Twitter and Instagram before you then get in touch with more traditional media outlets.
Sharing photos and information relating to the person you are trying to find is straightforward, although you should also be aware of the privacy implications of doing so on a public forum.
You can even use social media to ask a specific group of friends or relatives if they know of the whereabouts of a missing person, without making this known to the wider world. Often these events can be resolved quickly and with minimal fuss if you are sensitive to the need to be subtle.