MISSING ADULT CHECKLIST
* Double check with friends, family, work, and school that the person is missing and not just on a vacation
or on a leave of absence.
* Contact the local, county, or state law enforcement agency to make a missing person report (you do not
have to contact all three if one opens an investigation).
* Ask the law enforcement agency to open a missing person investigation.
F Obtain a case number or copy of the report, if possible.
F Ask for the detective or investigators name and extension number or direct line.
F Ask the police department to enter the missing person’s information into the National Crime Information
Center’s (NCIC) database and obtain the NIC number, if possible (starts with “M” followed by nine
numeric digits, M-123456789).
* Provide as much information as possible on the person’s behavior and whereabouts prior to the
disappearance. It is very important to honest with the investigators.
• Did the person take any personal belongings like money, wallet, or purse?
• Check for a letter or note that may have been left.
• Did the missing person say they would be traveling elsewhere or meeting anyone?
* Notify the National Center for Missing Adults at 1-800-690-FIND.
* Notify your state clearinghouse, if they register missing adults (National Center for Missing Adults can
assist you with finding the phone number).
* Notify other non-profit organizations that assist with missing adults.
* Circulate missing person posters of the missing adult except in locations prohibited by city codes. Ask
the managers or owners of convenient stores, malls, businesses, and other high traffic areas to post a
flyer of the missing person.
F Contact hospitals, jails, and medical examiners in the area and give them a flyer.
F Ask for additional referrals or support group information to find out if what worked for other families may
work for you.
* Find out your state’s laws on victim’s rights because you may be entitled to certain privileges as the
family member of a missing loved one.
* Notify the law enforcement agency of any tips, leads, or if the missing person is located.
* Notify the clearinghouses and non-profit organizations of any updates or if the missing person is located.
Checking in with the Investigator Periodically
• Don’t be afraid to ask questions but remember the investigator can’t always release all the information
because they don’t want jeopardize the case and make it less likely to find your missing loved one.
• Ask how you can help (posting law enforcement approved flyers, contacting other organizations, etc.).
• Ask if the investigators need DNA, fingerprints, or dental records.
• Verify that the missing person is still entered in NCIC.
• Update the law enforcement agency and missing person organizations with your contact information
(like mailing address, e-mail, and home, work, or cell phone numbers) if you move or have them
• Remember that it is important for you to work cooperatively with your investigator.
• E-mail is helpful to relay information to many people at once with updates.
• Don’t be afraid to ask a trusted family member or friend to help relay the information to other
• Never use your own contact information like phone numbers or address on a missing person poster
because it could put you in a vulnerable position.
• Keeping notes of your important conversations is helpful to refresh your memory.
National Center for Missing Adults
A division of the Nation’s Missing Children Organization
2432 W. Peoria Avenue, Suite 1286
Phoenix, AZ 85029
Tel: 602-944-1768 Fax: 602-944-7520