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Health and Safety



If available, utilize audio/video equipment while en-route to the scene and after arrival to capture any and all pertinent information.
Verify subject is in fact missing, interview caller(s), suspect(s) or witnesses, collect statements, record contact information, details, photograph(s), clothing description, mental/physical disabilities, threats of suicide or threats to others, etc.
If evidence of an abduction exists, contact NYSP COMSEC (1-518-457-6811) to
Secure area at logical streets and intersection surrounding the victims last known location to search vehicles entering and exiting the area in an effort to prevent the transportation of the child from the area.
Secure scene for potential evidence and K-9 scent items.
If the subject is at risk of credible harm or death, consider requesting activation of a New York State Missing Child Alert, Missing College Student or Missing Vulnerable Adult Alert, (1-800-346-3543)
Ensure adequate staffing levels, utilize lead tip form or leads management software, advise surrounding agencies of incident, establish a dedicated phone line, etc.
Lead form
Verify most recent court order, and check for protection orders or domestic violence history. Contact court if necessary to verify.
Determine if personal items are missing. Secure potential evidence in accordance with your agency’s procedures. Secure items such as bedding or clothing, to be used as scent articles for search dogs. Secure letters, cards, diaries, address/phone books, photographs, items with potential fingerprints, DNA (hairbrush, toothbrush, pillow case).
Registration Number, Year, Make, Model, Color, how much fuel is in the car, onboard vehicle technology equipped with GPS, unique identifiers (stickers, paint colors, dents/body damage, accessories, etc.) Add vehicle to the missing person record in the eJustice Portal.
There is NO waiting period. Ensure entry is made with the correct condition and circumstance. Include all known pertinent information. Modify record when additional information is known.
Send detailed information to law enforcement agencies in the surrounding areas using an eJustice Portal administrative message or other means, (i.e., emergency radio broadcast).
Determine urgency and risk factors.
Search Urgency Chart
What are the subjects likes or dislikes, favorite places, or hobbies? Who are the subjects family members and current/former friends or relationships? Has there been any recent changes in behavior or in the status of a relationship? Is there any history of drug or alcohol use?
Have the addresses checked by the local law enforcement agency.
Check with reporting party as well as in-house records management system. How were those cases previously resolved?
Examples: flapping hands, repetitive movements, self-stimulating behavior, etc. What is their level of communication (verbal/non-verbal)?
Examples: ID tags, bracelets, Project Life Saver, GPS devices, temporary tattoos, fitness tracker, etc.
If yes, collect transmitter information from parent/guardian/caregiver.
Parent or caregiver may provide information regarding a specific fixation or interest. Examples: water, trains, music, places, etc.
Highways/roads, water sources, construction sites, natural hazards, attractive nuisances, etc.
When was the last time they were taken? Do they have their medication with them? What are the risks if they do not take their medication?
Is it accounted for? Has the subject made any threats to harm himself or others?
Usually determined by the child's age and boundaries set by parents/guardians.
Search area for subject, evidence, or signs of travel. Search should include brush/wooded areas, structures, vehicles (including trunks), recent purchase of transportation tickets, trailhead log books, etc.
Conduct a door to door search gathering witnesses and information in the area of point last seen. Interview and document (name, address, phone number(s), email, etc.) all residents and guests. If there is no response document for follow up.
Neighborhood Investigation Form
Both private and publicly owned. Are they accessible 24/7?
Video Canvass Form
Establish containment with road patrols, license plate readers, checkpoints, etc.
Conduct a roadblock canvass at logical locations surrounding victims last known location. This should be conducted on the day following the incident during the same time period the child was last seen. Roadblocks should also be repeated the same day and time of the incident the following week. Use the roadblock canvass form.
Roadblock Form
Locate and interview all known sex offenders within the local area. Expand the area as necessary.
Institute Incident Command System protocols. Command post should not be located at the residence or at the last known place where the subject was seen.
Severe weather may increase the search urgency.
The timeline should be comprenhsive, by date and time of child's known activities and locations for the time preceding disappearance and extending to time of disappearance, activities, events, locations of parents/caregivers, potential suspects and make comparison.
Contact aviation assets, K-9, search and rescue, Forest Rangers, etc, if warranted by case details. Consider using reverse 911.
Assign an officer to serve as a point of contact for family. This officer may gather further critical information and can provide access to support services.
A group composed of active/retired law enforcement who will assist with missing child investigation. Contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (1-800-THE-LOST1-800-THE-LOST) or
Request and organize search teams - document names of all search party members. What is the availability of needed equipment, personnel, team leaders, communications, food/water, restrooms/portable toilets, etc. See Resources for contact info.
Consider medical conditions, physical conditions, timeline, access to transportation, weather conditions, etc.
Attempt to locate the subject through cell phone pings/GPS location, credit/debit card activity, onboard vehicle technology, wearable technology such as smart watch or sports trackers, license plate readers, etc.
Consider re-searching any areas that were previously searched at night to ensure complete search of area.
Consider re-searching any areas that were previously searched if subject is believed to be frequently moving in case the subject returns to a previously searched area.
The missing subject may return to the residence or facility on their own. Do not rely on family or staff to conduct the search.
Periodically check subjects social media for activity. Consider subpoenaing social media company for pertinent records.
Conduct a comprehensive review of all material, including all leads and organize the case. Reconsider any theories that may have been part of the initial case and adjust theories accordingly. Reconnect with key witnesses, prime suspects or anyone who was close to the case.
The most useful timelines begin before the missing episode and spans the date and time of confirmed last known contact with the victim and a defined period afterwards.
Are there any possible links to similar missing episodes, attempted abductions or an offender's method of operation in the area where the person is missing from? NYSIC can assist with this. 866-486-9742
This guide should be used for any case with a date of last contact greater than 30 days. Forms contained in the guide will assist with the collection of dental records, DNA, and medical information. (see Forms)
Missing Person Data Collection
Modify one field in the Missing Person Record, such as eye or hair color and then change it back to the correct data. This action will prompt NCIC to do a search of the unidentified person database. A $M message will appear in the Portal Agency Inbox with a list of possible matches to the missing person record. Contact the NYS Missing Persons Clearinghouse for assistance. (1-800-346-3543)
An off-line search is a special technique that can be used to obtain information not available through an on-line inquiry. The results may provide relevant investigative information. (see Forms for more detailed info and to access the NCIC Off-Line Request Form)
Using search tools such as Accurint, Lexis Nexis, Clear of TLO, search public records for activity of the subject and/or family, friends and possible associates.
Contact the Missing Persons Clearinghouse for assistance/guidance with these types of searches. 1-800-346-3543
The National Center for Missing & Abducted Children use forensic artists to develop an age progressed image of the child. Generally, age progressions can be requested every two years for children under 18 and every five years after the missing child turns 18. Call NCMEC for more information. (1-800-THE-LOST1-800-THE-LOST)
NYS law requires all missing person records to be transmitted to NamUs within 180 days of entry. DCJS transmits the data automatically once a record has been certified by the entering law enforcement agency to be transmitted. NamUs is a national database of missing and unidentified person cases.
NYS VICAP is a computer-assisted program that operates in conjunction with the Federal Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (VICAP) administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They link similar patterns of crime from among all reported cases in the government's database. This is accomplished by analyzing all relevant details of crime including: victimology, modus operandi, offender information or suspect description, physical or forensic evidence and suspect behavior exhibited before, during or after the crime. When apparent similarities or patterns are determined to exist between cases, the submitting agencies can be notified and the case investigators put in contact with each other.
Determine what case information you want to be publicized and how to handle any informaiton developed.
The MPC may be able to assist with publicizing the case on their website, and the dissemination of posters to targeted areas/agencies. (1-800-346-3543)
CARD team investigators are seasoned veterans of crimes against children cases—especially child abductions—and have received extensive training. They often deploy to the abduction site with FBI behavioral analysis experts and technical specialists. CARD team agents also work closely with National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime coordinators, members of the regional FBI-led Child Exploitation Task Forces, and representatives from our Violent Crimes Against Children Section at FBI Headquarters.
The NYS Federation of Search and Rescue can assist with cainine search of long term missing person cases.
Types of Search Dogs
Make a request for a case review by the Missing Person Cold Case Review Panel adminstered by the NYS Missing Persons Clearinghouse. The panel consists of experts from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
If your agency has access to a regional crime analysis center request their assistance.
Conduct interviews, for children: consider forensic interview, document details of resolution. If alert was activated, complete Post Activation Report. Identify strengths and weaknesses , potential policy changes, future planning, etc. Referral considerations for missing person: Project Lifesaver, Child Protective Services, Interstate Compact for Juveniles (provides supervsion and return of runaway juveniles), trafficking victim (see forms)

Resource Contacts

NYS DCJS Missing Persons Clearinghouse

For help with: Alerts, case publication and case guidance and assistance


New York State Forest Rangers

For help with: Search and Rescue


New York State Police COMSEC

For help with: Amber Alert Request


New York State Police K-9

For help with: Contact Local Troop


New York State Police Aviation

For help with: Contact Local Troop


New York State Federation of Search and Rescue

For help with: Search and Rescue


National Center for Missing and Exploited Children/ Team Adam

For help with: Investigative Assistance and Resources


New York State ENCON Police Dispatch

For help with: Request assistance with tracking


New York State Intelligence Center (NYSIC)

For help with: Available 24/ 7 comprehensive intelligence fusion center


New York State Interstate Compact for Juveniles

For help with: Provides for supervision and return of juveniles who have run away from home and left their state of residence