Longer Term Ideas for Missing Persons Cases

As long as there is hope, opportunities are endless.

Expand the search

Every missing persons case is different and every search will be limited by the amount of time, energy, money and other resources that can be dedicated to it. Here are some ideas if your loved one is still missing and you are looking for ways to expand the search.


Stories about missing persons are human interest and can reach millions, or you might prefer to target regional newsletters etc. You can write the story yourself for sites like Special Moms Network, or you can approach magazines that will write the story on your behalf.

Print and digital materials

If you haven’t yet, consider bumper stickers, billboards, videos, t-shirts, and media campaigns. You never know who the message might reach. Brainstorm with some friends.


If you decide to announce a reward, the figure must be realistic and the conditions clear. If this is something you want to do, make sure you discuss it with the police officer(s) assigned to your case first. Once the figure and conditions have been decided, update your poster etc. accordingly, and send out a media release to inform the public of the reward.


Events are a great way to reignite public support and attract media attention. Anything that brings the community together can make for a great event. Volunteers may also want to help to raise money to assist in the search. Most events have a fundraising component to them, and if not for costs associated with the search, funds raised can go to a charity that the missing person has an alignment with (it may further encourage public participation and media attention). Ask for assistance from organizations like Lions and Rotary, and participation from celebrities and/or local figures. Help on writing letters for appeals can be found at: Volunteers

Ideas for events and fundraising:

  • Benefit concerts, sausage sizzles, t-shirts, wristbands
  • Crowdfunding
  • Participating in a fun run
  • PR event to mark a milestone in the search

Contact the Salvation Army Family Tracing Service

The Salvation Army operates a worldwide search network for missing family members aged over 18. If your loved one has been missing longer than 6 months, contact the office in your local state with search requests. See: Salvation Army Family Tracing Service

Request an inquest

Police are not obliged to answer all the questions you may have regarding the progress of the case. If your request is approved and an inquest is opened, you will have an opportunity to learn more details around the case, which may be useful but may also prove upsetting. It can also assist with legal matters around the missing person’s assets. The process can be long, so seek legal advice and make sure you’ve got the support of your family and friends.

Age progression

You may need to consider having a specialist digitally alter the supplied image of your missing loved one. A really good graphic designer might be able to make slight amendments (e.g. thinner face, longer hair) but if you think their current appearance would be drastically different, you should ask the police officer on the case if they can organize an age progressed image.

Automated age-progression software lets you see how a child will age | UW  News
image via U of Washington

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