It might sound like a strange claim but disappearing has become commonplace. The strain this places on public services is immense – it’s the equivalent of a call to the emergency services every 90 seconds about a missing person.
For the families of those who go missing the pain is also immense and unending – in fact for many families the more time that passes, the more difficult they find their situation. Given that one in five of the people who go missing has a mental health issue, it’s not surprising that friends and families struggle so badly.
Some missing persons cases end rapidly and happily – Weston lifeboat crew was right in the middle of an ice-skating fundraiser when they were called out, along with two coastguard teams, to help the police locate a high-risk missing person. Within an hour that person had been found, largely thanks to the fact that an unusually large number of coastguards were in the right place at the right time. In other cases, decades can pass without news. In one of the saddest cases we’ve come across a woman who went missing 42 years ago in New York has been found living in sheltered accommodation in Massachusetts. Nobody knows what happened to Flora Stevens who went missing in 1975 after her husband dropped her off at a doctor’s appointment, but she was discovered after an online search revealed a woman called Flora Harris was using her social security number. Because Flora has dementia there is no way of discovering what prompted her disappearance and sadly, her husband passed away in 1985 without ever seeing her again.
Private detectives and missing persons
If the police receive a missing persons call every minute and a half, it’s hardly surprising they struggle to commit to every case. For many families, finding a private detective agency that has specialist experience in locating missing persons is the swiftest way to assure themselves that everything possible is being done to find their loved one. It’s more than a little astonishing that despite several cold case reviews, it was purely by accident that Flora Stevens was discovered. One of the first places that any reputable private detective will begin their work is in checking whether a person’s NI number, passport or other ID have been used. It doesn’t guarantee that a missing person has been found but it’s a fundamental first step that can be time-consuming which is why it takes a dedicated private investigator to explore every avenue so that leads can be narrowed down and so that a missing person can be reunited with their family.