National Missing Persons Day is observed on February 3 every year. This day is important because it draws attention to the thousands of missing persons throughout the country. The day is also a valuable opportunity to bring awareness to the general public about the people who are missing and increases the chances of them being found. National Missing Persons Day is observed not only for the missing people but also for their families and friends who have to deal with the trauma of having their loved one go missing without a trace. This day respects and honors their grief.
History of National Missing Persons Day
National Missing Persons Day was set up on May 25, 1983, to honor and draw attention to all the missing person cases across the country. Thousands of people go missing without a trace every year. These people may be adults or children, and while many of these people might appear later, there are still those who are never seen again.
A missing person is someone whose whereabouts are unknown, and there is no confirmation of whether they’re alive or dead. The uncertainty is extremely traumatizing for the loved one of these missing persons, who are always left wondering if the person they love is safe.
People may go missing voluntarily, where they attempt to run away from abusive situations with their parents or spouses. Another reason they might have gone missing is that they were abducted where although there are a lot of cases of kidnapping by strangers, in most cases, it’s by someone the missing person knows or is familiar with in some way.
A person may even have gone missing because they have lost their memory causing them to get lost. The worst-case scenario, however, is that they may have lost their lives in a way that makes it difficult to confirm, like through a natural disaster or at sea.
Missing persons cases are always investigated by the police, but in the U.S. voluntary search and rescue teams may be formed to look for the missing person. These teams are particularly important in rescuing people who have disappeared on hiking trails.
National Missing Persons Day timeline
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is a non-profit organization that works to find and reunite missing children with their families.
America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response alert tool originated in the U.S. and is used to send messages to the public to get their help in finding missing children.
The International Commission on Missing Persons is an intergovernmental organization that assists people who have gone missing because of war, human rights issues, or natural disasters.
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System provides more information to the Missing Persons Task Force.
National Missing Persons Day FAQs
What state has the most missing persons?
Alaska has the highest rate of missing person cases in the U.S. where one out of every 617 people in the state is missing.
How many missing persons are found?
According to NamUs, about 89% to 92% of reported missing persons are found every year.
How long does someone have to be missing to be declared dead?
After seven years of being missing, people can be legally declared dead.
How to Observe National Missing Persons Day
Share information about missing people
You never know who might have a lead, so if there are pictures and information about missing people that you come across, make sure to share them.
Donate to a charity
Charities like the N.C.M.E.C. work hard to find missing children and always need support. You can do your bit by donating what you can spare.
Volunteer with search and rescue teams.
Work with your community to set up or join an established search and rescue team so you can swing into action if anyone from your area ever goes missing.
5 Scary Facts About Missing Persons
White female abductions
The abductions of white women is likely to get more news coverage than that of white men or children, and significantly more than the abduction of people of color.
Missing people need to be reported immediately
There is a misconception that missing people need to be missing for more than 24 hours and police encourage everyone to report missing people as soon as possible.
There’s a foundation for black missing people
There’s a foundation for black missing people called Black & Missing — it does great work to bring attention to black people who are missing.
Recoveries dues to AMBER alerts
As of July 5, 2021, 1,074 missing persons were found, 94 of which were with the help of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA.)
As of 2013, 84,136 missing person cases were unsolved where juveniles up to age 20 accounted for the majority of them.
Why National Missing Persons Day is Important
Finding missing persons is a community effort
People who have been missing for years need dedicated persons to help find them. By taking part in search and rescue teams, you can help increase the chances of finding them.
It’s an opportunity to show compassion
The family and friends of missing people experience a lot of trauma and grief during this time. Observing the day by getting actively involved is an expression of empathy.
The spread more information
If everyone is alert and informs authorities of any developments, then more missing persons can be found. The day is dedicated to creating awareness and being part of the solution.
National Missing Persons Day dates