Missing persons: Why are we so fasinated?

Tvfanatic By Tvfanatic, 14th May 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Culture>General

Thousands of people go missing every year, seemingly without a trace. Here I explore what it is about missing persons that is so fascinating.

What is a missing person?

First off what is a missing person? People have many different definitions of what constitutes a missing person a definition from US legal.com refers to someone who is aged 18 years and over and who cannot be found, and whose whereabouts are unknown. Alternatively a missing person can refer to a child whose whereabouts are not known to the parents.

Types of missing persons

There are several different types of missing persons. These include runaways, missing, non family abductions, family abductions, endangered missing, and lost and injured missing.

Runaways : Runaways are often teenagers who are believed to have taken off on their own, and it is assumed that they will return soon. There is a lot of criticism when a missing person is classified as a runaway because it implies that the person, who is often a teenager, as mentioned above, left on their own. This is often not the case and it leads families to feel like they are not been taken seriously.

Missing : Missing is the classification given to a missing person whose case doesn't have enough information to form a specific classification.

Endangered missing : This is the classification given when there is significant evidence or creditable suggestions that the person may be in danger. This classification is also given when a person has a medical condition that may endanger their life if support usually required is not given. It is also used if the person, due to their medical condition, are unable to look after themselves.

Family abduction : This occurs when a family member takes a child against their will, often breaking custodial rights agreements in the process.

Non family abduction : Like the title suggests this classification occurs when a child has been taken by a non family member against their will.

Lost/Injured missing : These are people that have believed to have gone missing in natural environments and have gone missing as a result of "misadventure". For example, caught in a rapid in the ocean, fallen down a cliff on a hike.

Reasons why people go missing

There are many reasons why people go missing :

* They may be unhappy with their lives and want to start a new life

* Their family circumstances may be difficult and they want to get away.

* They could be victims of foul play/homicide

* They may be suicidal and wish to carry it out in private

* Abduction, family or otherwise.

* May have wandered and be unaware that they are in danger/;considered missing. This wandering may be due to a disease or disorder. I.E : Alzheimer's, autism

The 24 hour myth : Do you have to wait 24 hours to report a missing person?

A common misconception and myth is that you have to wait 24 hours to report a missing person. This is obviously distressing for the family members of the person that has gone missing as they want to start searching for their loved one and reunite with them as soon as possible.

So do you really have to wait 24 hours to report a loved one missing? Not necessarily, it will depend on specific law enforcement regulations but often an investigation can be started right away if there is suspicion of violence or if the person is particularly at risk.

So the answer to that is technically yes, but not under certain circumstances

So why the fasination?

After exploring all of the above, what is the fascination with missing persons? The fascination with missing persons, I believe has a simple root. That simple root is that we struggle to get our heads around the idea that someone can just "vanish" from the face of the Earth. The notion that a person can disappear without any trace, often leaving behind their personal belonging, goes against something that is ingrained in us since we are little.

We are often taught from a young age never to leave the house without our wallets, phones, and other personal belonging. Thus the idea that a person could leave with none of the above is disturbing. Furthermore the absence of communication in this time is considered to be a huge warning sign.

Most people stay in touch with family and friends often every single day, and therefore when a person vanishes with no belongings, no communication with family and friends, and no sign of them despite through searches, we end up with a fascination with missing persons because of a seemingly impossible occurrence.

Missing persons are and will continue to be a fascinating topic for years to come


American Missing Persons, Disappeared, Missing, Missing Persons

Meet the author

author avatar Tvfanatic
21 year old with cerebral palsy living in Melbourne Australia. I have a love for crime shows and a degree in psychology, I also enjoy movies and reading, I'm just here to write about what I love :)

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author avatar Retired
15th May 2015 (#)

Great share.

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author avatar Nancy Austin
23rd May 2015 (#)

I advocate for missing persons through face book. Totally, I understand your interest and concern. Good job.

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author avatar Richard Head
9th Jun 2015 (#)

You should write for the Herald Sun

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