Missing: What To Do If Your Child Disappears!


Your child is missing. You are confused, even panicked. What do you do? Every case is different and the timeline escalation listed below is dependent upon your unique situation. Pick and choose carefully, but remember: Never Give Up Hope!


  1. Take a few minutes to collect your thoughts. Could your child be hiding or with other family members of friends?  This is a good time to conduct a cursory search and contact relevant parties.
  2. If you have a missing child smart phone app (Polly’s Guardian Angel) you should activate a missing alert. Among other things this will immediately alert others application holders in your immediate vicinity.
  3. Immediately call (911) and all other local law enforcement agencies. This should include the city police or county sheriff, and the State Police. If you have one, present your child’s Sentry KIDS Bio-document to the responding officer. Insist that they enter the information into the National Crime Information Computer (NCIC) at once.
  4. If predatory abduction is a real possibility notify the Federal Bureau of Investigation. FBI experience and resources are unsurpassed in law enforcement.
  5. Create a local media (TV Stations, Radio Stations, and Newspapers) contact list. Notify all local media assignment desks. You are your missing child’s best advocate so work with the Media – keep in mind that the public’s awareness about your missing child could be expedited if you share pictures, videos and other details.
  6. Create a social media campaign to inform the public about your missing child. Create a Facebook page that includes photos, videos, articles and links to television segments. If these elements do not yet exist they can be easily inserted after the fact. Also, create a Twitter feed that directs the public to your other social media profiles. This is the fastest and least expensive way to get the word out.
  7. Contact the KlaasKids Foundation’ Search Center for Missing Children.  Our services are free of charge. Our center will assist you with flyer creation, distribution and creating an action plan.
  8. If you have a home (landline) phone make sure that it is staffed and is being traced at all times. Do not turn off your cell phone: even when charging.
  9. Find a printer. Volunteers will help you to post flyers in highly visible areas.
  10. Your best chance of recovery is to encourage a coordinated response effort by law enforcement; media; your child find agency; and volunteers.
  11. Take care to preserve your physical well-being. Seek emotional and psychological support from your church or social service agencies. Make sure that you sleep and eat regularly. Refrain from alcohol or other mind altering substances.
  12. Remember – Never Give up Hope!

6 thoughts on “Missing: What To Do If Your Child Disappears!

  1. Mr Klaas, I recently had a brief dream with your precious Polly in it. I saw a huge framed picture with her tenderly smiling & wearing the beautiful colorful red patterned dress in your FB photo. Around the picture frame were the bold printed words “I LOVE MY DADDY”. This song was playing gently in the background…-“ You’ll Never Walk Alone “……..I found a beautiful rendition by” Celtic Woman” on the YouTube link below…Thank you for everything you do. <3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YbUyjt_MQQ

      • You r so welcome. Love will always find a special way to express itself.. P.S. Your world-wide followers seem to have flooded the Youtube link.with over 500 new views!. It took me 4 tries to be able to view it again. Should the hearing of this specific song be desired-while waiting for the traffic to clear  I noticed that Elvis Presley and Barbara Streisand put forth nice renditions.

  2. Some other things that I would add:

    Document everything. Include a timeline of events from the start to a current state of events. Take every name of every person that you talk to in reference to the missing person case, including their department information and phone number.

    I would also suggest to have another family member or close family friend be the family spokesperson, unless it is an absolute immediate emergency or extremely important matter. You will have so many emotions, family matters, and other immediate things to deal with that you will need some time to have to attend to these things without having to also deal with all the situations that arise in missing person cases that can sometimes be handled by someone other than the parent.

    Also a last item about social media. It is a great tool and can also be a curse. I would also have someone else monitor the page for you, as you will get both positive and negative comments related to your post. This is why I suggest to have someone else run the page, as you do not need to get caught up in the back and forth comments that occur on social media. This can be handled by the person who is mediating the site, who can also report any suspicious information to you or to the police.

    • There is very little that NCMEC can or will do in the immediate aftermath of a child’s disappearance. I know this from personal experience and careful observation over the past 20-years. However, I do agree that making an entry on the NamUs website is a good idea.

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