What Is The Time Frame For Someone To Be Declared Missing? June 27, 2022

If you follow true crime content or are interested in personal safety, you may have wondered What Is the Time Frame For Someone To Be Declared Missing?

The answer to this question probably depends on the state in which you live and the circumstances of your disappearance. If you are a child or an elderly person, for example, there may be more urgency in locating you than if you are a young adult who disappeared on their own accord.

What is the definition of a missing person?

A missing person, who is 18 years old or older, is someone who has disappeared and whose whereabouts are unknown. This can be voluntary, as in the case of a runaway, or involuntary, as in the case of a kidnapping.

A missing child is one whose whereabouts are unknown to the child's legal custodian, the circumstances of whose absence indicate that:

The child did not voluntarily leave the care and control of the custodian, and the taking of the child was not authorized by law; or the child voluntarily left the care and control of the child's legal custodian without the custodian's consent and without intent to return.

Source: https://definitions.uslegal.com/m/missing-person

Regardless of the circumstances, when someone goes missing it is a very difficult and emotional time for their loved ones.

The first step in finding a missing person is to file a report with the police.

When do you need to report someone missing?

If you believe that someone is missing, it is important to act quickly. Depending on the circumstances, you may want to contact the police or other authorities. In general, the sooner you report someone missing, the better.

If the state where the disappearance occurred has an Amber Alert plan, the custodians or parents of the missing child can get in touch directly with the local police and file a missing person report without any waiting periods.

There is no set time frame for when someone must be reported missing. However, it is generally best to act as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it may be to find the person, and the first 48 hours of someone's disappearance are the most critical.

If you are not sure whether someone is actually missing, you can always stay on the side of caution and contact the authorities. They will be able to help you determine if a missing person report needs to be filed.

What needs to be reported for a person to be declared missing?

There is no specific time frame that needs to be met in order for a person to be declared missing. However, if someone has not been seen or heard from in an extended period of time and there is reason to believe they may be in danger, it is important to report them missing as soon as possible. This allows law enforcement to begin searching for the missing person and increases the chances of finding them safe.

Where can I find a current list of missing persons from my state?.

A good start is to look at the NamUs dashboard and filter by state. You will see a list of missing persons in the state you choose.


You can also check your state's department of justice website and look for the missing person report, which is usually up to date.

California: https://oag.ca.gov/missing New York: https://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/missing/index.htm#/missing-alert

What is a Silver Alert?

A Silver Alert is an emergency alert system for use when a missing endangered adult with dementia or other cognitive impairment is in danger and requires immediate public assistance to safely return home or locate them if they are lost.

You can find Silver Alerts on your state by googling your state name + Silver alert.

If you’re in California: https://www.chp.ca.gov/news-alerts/silver-alert

What are some things you can do to find a missing person?

If you are worried about someone who is missing, there are a few things you can do to try and find them. You can start by searching their last known location, contacting their friends and family, and filing a missing person report with the police. You can also search online databases of missing people, post flyers in your community, and check with local hospitals and jails.

There is no single answer to this question as the time frame for someone to be declared missing can vary depending on the circumstances. In general, however, the police will not begin searching for a missing person until they have been gone for at least 24 hours. If you believe that someone you know has gone missing, the best thing to do is to contact their family or friends and see if they have any information on their whereabouts. If not, you can file a report with the police so that they can begin their search.

The most important thing you can do today to prevent within your circle is to talk about the topic, set preventative methods and actions to take in case someone goes missing, and raise awareness for those cases that exist in your community.

Take care of your personal safety and your closest ones by creating your own, end-to-end encrypted, personal safety network on HelpYouFind.Me for free today.

Ready to dive in? Start your free trial today.

Sign up for free
App screenshot

Written by


Related publications

Can You See Me Now? A blog about taking care of your digital footprint.

In the age of social media, digital footprint management is more important than ever before. With so many tools available, it's easy to post anything and everything online. But what happens when things go wrong? Are you liable for the information you share online? If you're not careful about what information you share online, your digital footprint could be used against you. Learn and take a few steps into taking care of your digital footprint.

Your Personal Safety Kit, Get Informed on How To Stay Safe: A blog about personal safety and tips for staying safe.

For many people, personal safety is a topic they don't pay attention to. We feel like we're invincible and that nothing bad could ever happen to us. But as we all know, bad things do happen. One key area we want to cover today is your personal safety kit - because if something unfortunate should happen, you'll have the tools necessary to get yourself out of a situation safely!

Are You A Digital Nomad? Here's How To Travel Safely: A blog about how digital nomads can stay safe when traveling.

With the advent and growing popularity of remote working and the digital nomad movement, a lot of people are traveling more frequently than ever. With this in mind, you must be prepared to stay safe when traveling. Here we have brought to you the 5 most important travel safety tips in today's digital world for digital nomads and solo travelers.