When a loved one or child goes missing, time is of the essence.
Unlike what most television shows portray, particularly American ones, loved ones do not need to wait to report a person missing to their local police or the RCMP.
The Alberta RCMP missing persons unit based out of Edmonton recently released some things to keep in mind when filing a missing persons report.
First, do not wait to call. If someone is absent and it is out of character for them to be so, notify your local police force; the sooner the person is reported missing, the sooner a search can begin.
Second, you do not have to be home, or even where the person is, to file a report. If you cannot get a hold of someone and are concerned, call the police stating your concerns and what information you have.
Third, there is no such thing as too much detail. Be as thorough as possible in your report. If possible, include recent photos and descriptions of what the person or child was last wearing and doing.
Finally, photos are important but there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The best photos to go with a missing person release are typically a straight-on head-shot without any filters that could change the persons appearance. In the absence of such a photo, provide investigators with a link to the persons social media account where they can find photos that would work themselves.
There are three ways members of the public can file a missing person report: by calling 911, calling the local police non-emergency complaint line or by walking into the nearest police station and talking with an officer or front-desk person.
A final note the Alberta RCMP wishes to pass on is for travellers: when travelling, provide a timeline, your destination, and how you are travelling so someone is aware you are not following your regular routines, and can sound the alarm if you don’t reappear or check in at the set time.
For more information about missing person’s case files in Canada, visit the national website at www.canadasmissing.ca.