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*Note*: Persons of color make up 40 percent of all missing persons cases. To assist families of the missing navigate through this often confusing and traumatic process in finding their loved ones, Black and Missing Foundation will feature a monthly column on to educate readers on what to do when a loved one is missing, whom to contact, how best to assist law enforcement and the media, and steps to take on keeping loved ones safe.

Question:  If my loved one is missing, do I wait 24 to 72 hours before filing a police report?

BAMFI: Many people believe that you must wait 24 to 72 hours before reporting someone missing.  That is a MYTH!

Time is of the essence.  In fact, the first 24 hours is the most important time frame to locate a missing person. It is important to provide law enforcement with information as quickly as possible to help find your missing love one – especially if they are a child, elderly or deemed ‘critical’.

What info should be provided to law enforcement?

  • A recent photograph of the missing person
  • Physical description of the missing person including clothing description
  • Where and when the person was last seen or heard from
  • Personal information such as date of birth, names, nicknames
  • Areas that this person hangs out or works
  • Relatives information
  • History of missing in the past (runaway) or drug use, mental health issues

What do I do after a report has been filed?

  • Obtain the name and contact information of the investigating officer
  • Obtain a copy of the police report and report number
  • Contact law enforcement with any follow up information or leads you may have
  • Keep in contact with the investigating agency

BAMFI has also put together a ‘Missing Persons Checklist’ to assist with the process.

Do you have a question you would like answered?  Submit it to, via Twitter at @BAM_FI or on Facebook (bamfiorg) with the hashtag #AskBAMFI.

About Black and Missing Foundation Inc.:

Black and Missing Foundation, Inc (BAM FI) is established as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, by a veteran law enforcement official and public relations specialist, whose mission is to bring awareness to missing persons of color; provide vital resources and tools to missing person’s families and friends; and to provide educational training on personal safety.BAM FI offers a free clearinghouse, which highlights profiles and information on missing persons of color, nationally. Profiles of missingindividuals, throughout the nation, as well as news, information, and tips, can be found at BAM FI’s Web site:, Twitter: @BAM_FI or on Facebook (bamfiorg).

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