Missing person  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A missing person is a person who has disappeared for usually unknown reasons.

Missing persons' photographs may be posted on bulletin boards, milk cartons, postcards, and websites, along with a phone number to be contacted if a sighting has been made.

People disappear for many reasons. Some individuals choose to disappear alone; most of these soon return. About 10 percent of missing persons in the United States never return, however. Reasons for non-identification may include:

  • Leaving home to live somewhere else under a new identity.
  • Becoming the victim of kidnapping.
  • Abduction (of a minor) by a non-custodial parent or other relative.
  • Seizure by government officials without due process of law.
  • Suicide in a remote location or under an assumed name (to spare their families the suicide at home, or to allow their deaths to be eventually declared in absentia).
  • Victim of murder (body disguised, destroyed, or hidden).
  • Mental illness or other ailments such as Alzheimer's Disease can cause someone to become lost, or they may not know how to identify themselves due to long term memory loss that causes them to forget where they live, the identity of family members or relatives or even their own names.
  • Death by natural causes (disease) or accident far from home without identification.
  • Disappearance in order to take advantage of better employment or living conditions elsewhere.
  • Sold into slavery, serfdom, sexual servitude, or other unfree labour.
  • To avoid discovery of a crime or apprehension by law-enforcement authorities. (See also failure to appear).
  • Joining a cult or other religious organization.
  • To escape domestic abuse.
  • To avoid war or persecution during a genocide.
  • To escape famine or natural disaster.

Contents

U.S. statistics

By the end of 2005, there were 109,531 active missing person records according to the US Department of Justice. Children under the age of 18 account for 58,081 (53.03%) of the records and 11,868 (10.84%) were for young adults between the ages of 18 and 20.

During 2005, 834,536 entries were made into the National Crime Information Center's missing person file, which was an increase of 0.51% from the 830,325 entered in 2004. Missing Person records that were cleared or canceled during the same period totaled 844,838. The reasons for these removals include: a law enforcement agency located the subject, the individual returned home, or the record had to be removed by the entering agency due to a determination that the record is invalid.

Canadian statistics

Royal Canadian Mounted Police missing child statistics for a ten year period show a total of 60,582 missing children in 2007.

Legal issues

A common misconceptionTemplate:Cn is that a person must be absent for 72 hours before being legally classed as missing, but this is rarely the case; in instances where there is evidence of violence or of an unusual absence, law enforcement agencies often stress the importance of beginning an investigation promptly.

In most common law jurisdictions a missing person can be declared dead in absentia (or "legally dead") after seven years. This time frame may be reduced in certain cases, such as deaths in major battles or mass disasters such as the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Monument

On May 26, 2002, a monument to missing persons was unveiled in County Kilkenny, Republic of Ireland by President Mary McAleese. It was the first monument of its kind in the world.

See also





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Missing person" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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