What to do if an adult is missing

If a loved one is missing, family and friends should immediately notify local law enforcement. When a person is abducted, time is valuable.

  • File a police or sheriff's report. Include information on where the missing person was last known to be, as well as names of the individual's family and friends. Provide officers with a recent photo as soon as possible.
  • Request that law enforcement put out a Be On the Look Out (BOLO) Bulletin
  • Ask for an organized search with the use of tracking dogs if possible.
  • If the missing person has alzheimer's or some other cognitive impairement, ask local law enforcement to have a Silver Alertissued.
  • Limit access to your home until law enforcement investigators arrive and have collected evidence.
  • Give investigator all facts and circumstances related to disappearance including what efforts have already been made.
  • Write a detailed description of clothing and any personal belongings the person may have. Note any birthmarks, scars, tattoos, or mannerisms, and supply any photo that may show the marks. Give this information to the investigator.
  • Designate one person to answer your telephone. Keep a pad of paper by the phone to jot down names, telephone numbers, date and time of calls and the purpose of the call. You may want to get law enforcement to put a tracer on your phone and get an answering machine that will tape calls. You may also want to add caller ID. If you do not have a cell phone, you may want to get one so that you can be reached at any time.

For cases that are older than 30 days, help officers locate dental and medical records.


N.C. Center for Missing Persons: 1-800-522-5437.