When to report a missing person


Say you have a friend you haven’t spoken to in days or you haven’t seen your teenager in hours. How long do you wait before you call authorities?

In the movies, there is this idea that you have to wait 24 to 48 hours to report a person missing. 
That may be true in some states, but here in North Dakota that is not the case. 

“One is too many but in the grand scheme of things, we dont have a lot of these cases,” said Gaddis. 

Sergeant Mark Gaddis with the Bismarck Police Department is talking about missing person cases. 

Although North Dakota is considered a safe state, the number of missing person cases increased over the past three years. 

In 2016 and 2017, there were 51 missing person reports. That number increased in 2018 to 64. 
Authorities say the majority of the cases are solved within the first few hours.

Which is why officials urge you to contact the police immediately, regardless of the situation. 

According to the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, there may not be any waiting period for reporting a person missing. But, there are some things to remember. 

Gaddis says before reporting a person missing make sure you have as much information as possible. 
Their last known whereabouts, phone number, who they were with, and what they were wearing. 

Over the years, Gaddis has seen several cases and has weighed every option. 

“I had a case that went on for a year and the guy was arrested in Minnesota. Sometimes we call jails, we check the hospitals, so it is a matter of making lots of contacts, getting the information out there and finding them,” said Gaddis. 

Most reports involve runaways and travelers and kidnapping cases are rare. 

If you do suspect a person is missing make sure you call authorities.

In Bismarck, there are three cold missing person cases, that have been active for about 20 years. There is more throughout North Dakota. To see the Missing Persons Facebook page click here. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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