A missing person is a person who has disappeared and their status as alive or dead cannot be confirmed as his or her location and fate are not known. While criminal abductions are some of the most widely reported missing person cases, these account for only 2–5% of missing children in Europe.
Reasons[change | change source]
People disappear for many reasons. Some individuals choose to disappear alone. Reasons for non-identification may include:
- To escape domestic abuse by a parent(s)/guardian(s)/sibling(s)/spouse.
- Leaving home to live somewhere else under a new identity.
- Becoming the victim of kidnapping.
- Abduction (of a minor) by a non-custodial parent or other relative.
- Seizure by government officials without due process of law (see forced disappearance).
- Suicide in a remote location or under an assumed name (to spare their families the suicide at home or to allow their deaths to be eventually declared in absentia).
- Victim of murder (body disguised, destroyed, or hidden).
- Mental illness or other ailments such as Alzheimer's Disease can cause someone to become lost or they may not know how to identify themselves due to long-term memory loss that causes them to forget where they live, the identity of family members or relatives, or their own names.
- Death by natural causes (disease) or accident far from home without identification.
- Disappearance to take advantage of better employment or living conditions elsewhere.
- Sold into slavery, serfdom, sexual servitude, or other unfree labor.
- To avoid discovery of a crime or apprehension by law-enforcement authorities. (See also failure to appear.)
- Joining a cult or other religious organization that requires no contact to the outside world.
- To avoid war or persecution during a genocide.
- To escape famine or natural disaster.
- Death by floods, flash floods, debris flows, hurricanes, tsunamis and tornadoes.
- Death in the water, with no body recovered.
Other websites[change | change source]
- National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs.gov)
- Familylinks.icrc.org Website for people looking for family members missing due to a conflict or natural disaster. International Committee of the Red Cross.
- Missing Children wiki