How To Search For A Missing Loved One
Since the indoctrination of slavery, African-Americans have experienced the horrors of loved ones disappearing. This past March, a plethora of Black girls in the D.C. area went missing. And more recently, upon the 12-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Harvey has caused more reports of missing people in Houston, a city predominantly made up of people of color. On average, a whopping 90,000 people are missing in the United States at any given time, according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). With the havoc Hurricane Irma is poised to wreak this coming weekend, sadly, we know that number will only increase. If you find yourself in this situation, here are a few resources and helpful tips to find a missing loved one.
- Check social media– If your loved one is normally active on social media, this should be the first thing you do when you suspect a loved one has gone missing. By checking out his or her timeline, you can see previous conversations, where he or she was last seen, and if any unusual circumstances may have triggered the disappearance. You can also see if other friends and family members have posted about the person’s whereabouts.
- Contact family and friends– If social media indicates that your friend may be missing, alert others who are close to him or her. If your friend is employed, it’s also a good idea to contact his or her supervisor, who may also have some insight on what may have happened.
- Check jails and hospitals- Life happens and sometimes people unexpectedly fall ill or get into legal trouble. Check all nearby hospitals and jails before you label a person officially missing.
- Contact the authorities- If you are certain your loved one has disappeared, report the person missing as soon as possible. Keep in mind that if the person is an adult and the police find them, they will give you a courtesy call when the person has been located; however, this does not automatically mean the person will be detained and you’ll be able to connect with them.
- Hit the streets- Take action by organizing search parties in different regions. Recruit various members of the community such as church members and city officials who can assist in making signs and social media posts. Meet regularly so that everyone is kept abreast of the latest findings.
- Alert the media- Get in touch with local media of all kinds (digital, radio, print, etc.) Many times, when people are looking for a lost friend or family member, they go for bigger, national outlets and get frustrated when they don’t receive help. Starting local will allow you to reach those who are as equally concerned as you are about a member of their community.