Is the missing persons reporting system broken?
Look at the above image copied from a very well respected missing children's website, a United States Department of Justice website funded with tax dollars. Just look at it for a moment and think if that young man were your child, do you think that profile is going to aid anyone in finding him?
What an interesting question . . . being someone who has searched for missing people for over 25 years, its my opinion the whole missing person system was never working properly and basically does not exist.
If you've ever had a loved one missing, you might agree with me. You've went through the anguish of realizing your loved one cannot be located, you finally make the decision to call your local law enforcement and report them missing. Now, if the missing person is an adult, seems as if most police agencies try to get you to be calm and think of reasons your loved one would have just picked up and left, wanted to make a change in their life and simply left everything behind. This is especially true if its a man who is missing as opposed to a woman or child. Adult males are rarely found dead or alive. That's a strong statement to make, I know, but my experience tells me this is the case because if you're not looking, nobody is.
The image of Obie Cooper is another great example of a child who has been reported missing, but with very little information. Is there so little information because the people who reported him missing could care less or the people asking the questions could care less? Obie Cooper's profile was taken from a very well known missing children website from Los Angeles.
On the FBI website for Kidnapped and Missing Persons, they only have 86 people listed as the writing of this article. Should we believe there are only 86 people that should be listed on the FBI's website. Under their category of Parental Abductions, they only list 25 parents suspected of abducting their own children. In many cases this is a federal crime and I think it's safe to say they should be looking for information on more than 25 parents.
Yes, from a third party perspective it is very easy to look at all missing persons databases and find flaws, but that's not the point. The point is; all of the missing persons platforms worldwide do not work as they should. Closing a missing person case should not always be by a body recovery. Most missing people are found deceased, that's not the resolution any of us want but as a society its become the norm and what we expect to eventually hear.
The horrifying fact of the matter is, most abducted people are killed within the first three hours of being abducted. I won't go into the details leading up to this fact, but we cannot accept this outcome as a people and all of us as a community need to change the way we live and our expectation of those we trust to protect us.
I bet you've never heard of CARD Teams . . . I didn't think so. Most people haven't and I've never spoke with anyone in law enforcement who is tasked with searching for a missing child who has ever heard of CARD Teams. CARD Teams = Child Abduction Rapid Deployment. This is the name of the FBI division available to quickly get on the search of a missing child, anywhere in the United States. Since Obie Cooper on the left recently went missing just this month, I wonder how many members of the West Coast CARD Team are actively searching for him. My experience tells me, most likely local law enforcement hasn't requested assistance from the CARD team. They haven't requested assistance because they don't want help, they typically never heard of a CARD team and don't know the resource exists. And no, none of us truly know what his circumstances are leading to his disappearance. Maybe he was mixing with the wrong crowd, maybe he ran away, maybe he was murdered . . . we don't know.
Here is a link you have to visit to learn more about CARD Teams and how they function. There is a podcast to play too. Then visit this page and read the success stories that are as anonymous as most bogus testimonials you'll see on every marketing or service oriented advertising.
The issues mentioned in this article are only the tip of the iceberg of problems plaguing the missing persons systems worldwide, it's not limited to the United States.
THIS IS PART ONE OF A MULTI SERIES INVESTIGATION INTO HOW CAN WE CREATE A BETTER SYSTEM - Check back for updates.