There is a myth that one must wait 24 hours to report a missing person. Authorities state the importance of those first 24 hours and urge the public not to wait. If someone goes missing, alert the police at once.
While not considered a crime until after 24 hours, information collected in those crucial hours is vital. Authorities inspect the environment the missing person was normally surrounded by, the places and people, as well as psychological, medical and family history.
Last year, there were 2,104 reports of missing persons. Those reporting the missing person will be asked for a recent photograph and characteristics of the clothes the person was wearing. The photo may be put on social media. Many organizations are involved in the search. Immigration alerts can be put out in cases where one parent might try to take the child to another country.
It’s also good to know that missing persons cases never get closed until the person is found. Investigators exhaust all leads and then it becomes a passive case but in any moment that new information comes up it is followed. The case can be reactivated and due diligence must be proven, meaning the authorities must prove they looked into the new information. There is the case of the disappearance of Francisco Javier Sánchez Postome still open after 18 years, for example.