Check List of What To Do
Check List of What To Do when someone goes missing
Check all the usual and favourite places that the person visits– remember these could be overseas
Contact all known family, friends, work colleagues or acquaintances they could be with – again this should include those living overseas
Check whether the person’s passport is in the house or where the person usually keeps it
If the person is still not found, report the person missing. A family member or next of kin must do this.
Identify who has seen them and talked to them last. What were they wearing and what did they say. How was their mood? Was there anything notable or unusual about their mood or about what they said? Was anything out of character?
Nominate one person to be the liaison with the Gardai
Contact all known family, friends, work colleagues and acquaintances and advise that the person is officially reported missing
Seek volunteers to help with the search – collate a list of contact details for them all
List all the activities that need to be carried out and allocate a volunteer to lead and coordinate these areas (Handling media, coordinating volunteers, handling all print material required, setting up briefing sessions etc.)
Allocate volunteers to each of these areas, advise them and then have a briefing session to advise what needs to be done
Make a list of useful contacts who can help in these various areas and then use them! (eg: someone who works in the media, a printers, food industry to provide refreshments for the volunteers etc.)
Set up a central base for key volunteers to work from. Briefings can take place here too and other volunteers can meet here before going out to distribute posters, leaflets etc.
Put a roster together for all the volunteers and distribute it to them.
Remember not to fatigue the volunteers to quickly. Searches can often last a number of days, so ensure volunteers do have breaks and split the roster as evenly as possible. Make sure you enlist enough volunteers
Always make sure volunteers work in groups of no less than two people
Design and produce posters as soon as possible – remember to use one that is the most like the person in real life – not just one to flatter them
Make a list of all media – print, radio and television and target all of them with a press release and the offer of someone to interview about the case.
Nominate one person to be the ‘voice’ and ‘face’ of the campaign – they will become familiar with the message that should be communicated and will become synonymous with the case. Always ensure that the message being communicated is concise and clear – repetition of the key facts is a good thing.
Always keep the media briefed on any progress with the case or any new facts that emerge – this will keep them on side and keep the story in the news
Keep a constant line of communication with the gardai to ensure the media message being communicated is in line with what they want communicated. Remember you want to enhance the Gardai search – you don’t want to hamper it. If you have a new piece of information, check it is okay to mention on the media because the Gardai have experience and have reasons for not wanting certain information given out publicly.
Be kind to yourself. Make sure you are eating and getting some sleep. Do take some breaks. If you don’t do this, then you won’t be able to keep going. Take all the support offered by family and friends. Don’t be afraid to ask friends for whatever kind of support you need (food, conversation, transport etc. etc)
Remember that the Gardai will check phone records to see the last phonecall and text message made from the phone and to see if they can locate where the phone is. They may however not be able to give you this information, but it is worth checking with them that they have done this. The same thing applies to the person’s bank account in terms of identifying whether the person has withdrawn any money since they have gone missing and if so, where. If the person has a joint bank account, the other account holder can check this.
Check the house. What is missing? Is it upset in any way? Can you identify if any clothes are missing? If the person has a car, is it there or can it be located?
Finger prints. Do not dust before the Gardai take fingerprints .
Check through the person’s personal belongings to see if you can find anything missing
Bus check. (Did he / she get the bus)
Use every avenue of communication to get the message out that the person is missing. Distribute posters, leaflets etc. Speak to people on the streets, in shops, restaurants, work places, pubs etc. in the area the person was last seen. The internet and new media are very effective means of getting the message out and placing a missing appeal – facebook,linkedin etc.
Keep in touch with the Gardai.
Give regular updates or briefings on progress to family, friends, work colleagues and volunteers. They need to be advised of any progress or any new facts that have been established. They also need to be kept motivated and to have a place where they can ask questions
DNA. Testing (parents).
Check whether there are CCTV cameras in the area the person went missing. Try to speak with the owners of the premises where these are. Tell them what has happened and ask them to keep the tapes from the relevant days – very often tapes are erased after 24 hours… If you can get the tapes from them, bring them to the Gardai. Otherwise, make a list of the premises where there are cameras and give this to the Gardai, along with a list of the contacts you have spoken to in each of these premises, telling them that these people have agreed to keep the tapes and give them to the Gardai if they call for them.
Contact a support organisation like www.missingpersons.ie, www.searchingforthemissing.net, or www.missing.ie. They will be able to help and offer support. They may also be able to put you in touch with people who have been through a similar situation.
Don’t be put off. You know your own. Don’t give up hope. Keep positive.