Missing Veteran Tips for Family and Friends

Help-iconBelow are some tips that may help family and friends of a Missing Veteran to help get the information out in front of the public as quickly, easily and as smooth as possible.  This is not to be considered an official guide, but rather a collection of lessons learned and observations that we will continually update to keep up with the changing times.

The information below is assuming that a Veteran has gone missing and a report has been filed with a law enforcement agency.  While we understand the desire to get the information out as quickly as possible, it is best that we include on the Missing Veterans website and on our Facebook page only those Missing Veterans that are classified by law enforcement as “Missing”.

Follow Law Enforcement Guidance

If the law enforcement agency has provided specific instructions on handling the release of information related to the Missing Veteran, it is in the best interest of all involved, including the Missing Veteran, to follow the guidance provided.

Getting The Word Out:

Assuming a missing person report has already been filed, you may want to start a facebook page to help centralize information sharing about the missing Veteran.  A facebook page is easy, free and a great way to help increase and draw awareness about the Missing Veteran along with allowing you to easily share new photos and digital posters to followers of the page.  Like it or not, a lot of people use facebook and a lot of people are willing to share information with their family and friends using facebook because it just takes the click of a button.  When starting a facebook page, be sure to use a descriptive title such as “Help Find John Doe”, “John Doe Missing” or “Missing Veteran John doe” (inserting the Veteran’s name in lieu of John Doe)

Share Locally, but think Globally:

There are a lot of websites out there that seek out missing person information and add it to their website.  The sites are a run as a business and the more information they have listed, the more possible visitors and the more money they hope to make off advertising.  While these sites are great at posting information, many, if not most of them just list the information and that is all.

On the other hand, some sites and facebook pages list the information and actively share it, attempting to get the information out to as many people as possible.  These sites and pages may have a group of volunteers or dedicated visitors that take the information posted on those sites and pages and work hard to get the information out to as many people as possible.  Some of these websites and facebook pages that specialize in helping to draw attention to and spreading information about Missing Veterans / Missing Persons are listed below. Getting the missing Veterans information posted on these sites and pages will greatly help to increase awareness of the missing Veteran and the  will quickly travel far outside your town.  Remember that missing persons may have traveled to other cities or States and travelers not normally residing in your town may have encountered the missing Veteran along their travels.

Here are a few of the resources that we have had found to be useful:

MissingVeterans.com – If the missing person served or is serving in any branch of the U.S. Military, MissingVeterans.com and the associated facebook page will share the information.  To submit a new Missing Veteran, visit this page: http://www.missingveterans.com/submit-a-missing-veteran/

Missing Person Guide – Information on how to submit a missing person report along with resources for each state.  You can visit their page here: http://www.missingpersonguide.com

Missing and Tattooed:  This facebook page lists missing persons that have tattoos. You can visit their page here: https://www.facebook.com/missingandtattooed

Black and Missing but Not Forgotten:  This facebook page has a very deep reach on facebook.  Visit them here: https://www.facebook.com/blackandmissing

Lost N Missing Inc – This site lists both Veterans and non-Veterans.  Their website at LostNMissing.org has a section of U.S. Military Missing.  You can register a missing person using this link.  They have a facebook page set up for their U.S. Military Missing personnel here: https://www.facebook.com/MilitaryLostnmissing

 

What Information Should You Share?

You should share as much information as you feel comfortable sharing about the Missing Veteran.  Information such as that listed below should be shared at a minimum:

  • Date last seen
  • Location last seen
  • Where they may be heading
  • Height and Weight
  • Hair Color and Eye Color
  • Identifying Marks / Tattoos
  • Clothing the missing Veteran was last seen in
  • Vehicle information if a vehicle is involved such as make, model, color, year, license plate number
  • Police Report # and contact information for Law Enforcement Agency handling the missing person case
  • Recent photos of the missing person

Some families have felt that it was in the best interest of the Missing Veteran to reveal if they may have any medical conditions such as those that require medication and or conditions such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Releasing this information is soley on the family and law enforcement agencies. Remember that whatever is put on the internet is going to stay on the internet forever, long after the Missing Veteran is located Safely.

As tempting as it may be to list a personal phone number of a friend or family member as a contact number if someone wants to report information about a Missing Veteran, it may not actually be the best course of action.  Law Enforcement Personnel are trained at asking the right questions and gathering information and evidence.  If someone is going to make one phone call and offers valuable information, you want to ensure that as much of the required information is gathered from that one phone call as possible.

Don’t Give Up On Law Enforcement

Family and friend of a missing Veteran may feel that the Law Enforcement Agency is not doing as much as they should or could to help find the missing Veteran.  You should know that there is a lot that happens behind the scenes and there is collaboration with other Law Enforcement Agencies and information sharing that is taking place all the time that you may not be aware of.