With National Missing Children’s Day set to be observed on Saturday, the Detroit News looks into how some families cope when loved ones vanish. Their families desperately seek answers from police, even strangers, while other crimes — murders, break-ins, drug rings — grab headlines and the public’s attention. The FBI’s National Crime Information Center listed 3,976 missing persons in Michigan as of May 13, compared to 3,015 in early 2012. Those figures do not name locations and are reported by authorities based on a number of criteria. The statistics have been compiled since the 1970s and include decades-old cases.
State and federal laws often guide how authorities issue notices for missing youth. And in some cases for medically vulnerable senior citizens, a Silver Alert can be issued. But there are no state statutes that mandate police report on a voluntarily missing adult older than 21, said Det. Trooper Sarah Krebs of the Michigan State Police. Each police agency has its own policy on handling missing persons reports; many typically are taken within 24-48 hours.