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Criminology experts agree that the first 72 hours are the most crucial when handling a missing persons case. The number of leads tends to drop after the initial days of investigation. When do you know it is time to seek the help of a private investigation team?

Alert Law Enforcement

If you fear that a loved one or someone you know might be in harm, it is best to alert law enforcement right away. The general consensus is that you must wait for at least 24 hours before a person can be categorized as missing. Some individuals usually turn up within that time frame so the police want to make sure that the person did not voluntarily leave or was temporarily out of reach.

The downside to this is that the integrity of the evidence is lost the longer you wait it out. By the time that the 24-hour period has expired, critical evidence could be lost and persons of interest departed. The chances of finding that missing person will decrease with every passing hour.

The best thing you can do once you report to the police is to keep in constant communication with them. Be alert at all times for any new information that they have gathered. However, you can also conduct your own investigation, especially if you know people who might be aware of the missing persons’ whereabouts. If you receive any new information, let the police know right away so they can help out with moving the case forward.

investigating a missing person

It’s Time to Hire a Private Investigator

It is standard procedure to call your local police station as soon as you fear for the whereabouts of your loved one. It is a critical issue for you and your family, however, the local police might not share the same level of urgency. 

First off, they can be overwhelmed with the amount of cases they are handling. They are handling hundreds of cases at any given time. Therefore, they won’t be able to give the thorough attention that you seek when it comes to finding your missing loved one. In some cases, the police are short staffed. By the time they handle your case, it might be too late.

This is when hiring professional help of a private investigator makes sense.

How Can They Help Find a Missing Person?

A private investigator possesses the skills, knowledge, and tools that will enable them to locate a missing person. Their success will rely on a number of critical factors and most especially the underlying circumstances of their disappearance.

These are some of the methods that you can leverage to find a missing loved one, when you are not satisfied with how traditional law enforcement is handling the case:

  • Surveillance – A private investigator can conduct surveillance on persons of interests or suspects for the case in the hopes of finding clues that would link them to the case.
  • Investigative Techniques – A private investigator can conduct interviews, witness questioning, and background checks of all persons that might have anything to do with the disappearance of a loved one.
  • Networking – A private investigator will use their connection to obtain information that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. They use tips from fellow investigators or their informants to provide information that could be useful to the case. 
  • Access to Records – Still with the help of their network and connections, private investigators can get access to records from hospitals and other facilities. The information they access can shed some light on the ongoing investigation depending on what they find.  
  • Physical Search – A private investigator can employ specialized vehicles and tools to conduct a search for the missing persons. These searches can be in land, water, or air – whatever is needed to locate the missing persons (or body, in the worst case scenario). 
hire a private investigator to find a missing person

The Bottom Line

Despite their best efforts, law enforcement agencies are oftentimes limited in their ability to act on every case. They could simply be overwhelmed with the number of cases on their plate. If you lose confidence in their ability it is best to take matters into your own hands by working with a professional and private investigator. The longer you wait, the more your loved one’s life is at risk (if ever they are in danger).