If you suspect your child is missing it is critical to take immediate action.

If your child disappears in a store or shopping mall:

  1. Immediately proceed toward the nearest store or mall exit and look into the parking lot for any signs of your child or a struggle with a stranger.
  2. On your way to the nearest exit locate a store employee, inform them your child is missing and instruct them to notify the store and/or mall manager.
  3. Insist that the store or mall staff immediately begin a through search of the premises for your child. Many stores have a “Code Adam” plan of action for a missing child. If a child becomes missing in the store the employees have a set plan of action to look for the child.
  4. Make sure all bathrooms are checked and be on the look out for any adult carrying a child out that is the size of your child and appears to be asleep. Some abductors will take a child into a restroom, drug them so they fall asleep, change their appearance (adding or removing an article of clothing, cutting hair..) and attempt to carry them away as if  they are simply a sleeping child.
  5. If your initial sweep of the location does not result in the location of your child, immediately contact your local law-enforcement agency. Explain the details of the situation and be prepared to give the authorities a detailed description of our child.

If your child is missing from home:

  1. Check the entire house including the attic, under beds, closets, garage, the back yard and perimeter around your home- anywhere a child may crawl into or hide.
  2. Check with your neighbors and contact the parents of your child’s friends to see if they know of your child’s whereabouts.
  3. If your initial search of your home and surrounding area does not result in the location of your child, immediately contact your local law-enforcement agency. Explain the details of the situation and be prepared to give the authorities a detailed description of our child. Restrict access of your home until law enforcement has arrived and had the opportunity to search the home and surrounding area.

Your Child is Missing- Action Item Check List

  • Call your all of your local law enforcement agencies ( i.e. local Police Department,  Highway Patrol or State Police) and (911).

You need to provide the responding authorities the following:

  • When and where you last saw your child
  • Your child’s name, date of birth, height, weight and any other unique aspects of your child that can help in their identification (Braces, eye glasses, hair color and length, skin color- ethnicity, eye color, complexion, piercings, tattoos, scars etc..)
  • Description of what he or she was wearing
  • Recent photograph of your child
  • Video tapes of your child
  • DNA sample (tooth brush, hair brush, old bandage, baby tooth)
  • Any names and descriptions of associates or companions last seen with your child.
  • Information about your child’s physical, mental health and any medical conditions or special concerns. Also report any recent changes.
  • Any information about custody issues or disputes
  • Information about any individuals showing unusual attention or interest to your child prior to the disappearance.
  • Ask the responding officer if an Amber Alert is being considered.
  • Identify all computers, communications devices, online resources and social networking your child accesses. Work with law enforcement to search for clues.
  • Ask the responding officer if the neighborhood will be canvassed.
  • Keep your telephone lines open.
  • Obtain the name and contact information of the law enforcement investigator assigned to your case.
  • Obtain and provide to law enforcement any fingerprints and dental records
  • Request law enforcement to immediately enter your child’s identifying information into the National Crime Information Center Missing Persons File

National Crime Information Center

Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division

1000 Custer Hollow Road

Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306

Hours of Service: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Telephone: (304) 625-2000


  • Register your child’s information with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (1-800-843-5678)
  • Contact the Missing Persons Foundation for further assistance (714) 999-7050 Investigations@mpfus.org
  • If your child may be a runaway, contact the National Runaway switchboard at 1-800-RUNAWAY 1-800-786-2929.
  • If you have a video of the missing child post it on YouTubes Missing Childrens Channel at www.youtube.com/dontyouforgetaboutme
  • Contact local and national media about your child disappearance.
  • Conduct radio, television and newspaper interviews to direct attention to your missing child.
  • Stay in regular contact with law enforcement, the media and local officials during the search for your child.

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