If you suspect that your loved one has gone missing, report their disappearance to police immediately.  There is no waiting period.

Even if your loved one has been missing for months, years, or decades, it is still important to file a missing person report.  Do not let concern or embarrassment stop you from contacting police.

First contact with police

Choose a family spokesperson to deal with police.  The spokesperson can be a family member, close friend or another person that is chosen to act as the representative.  Having one point of contact will reduce the possibility of conflicting information and help establish a level of comfort between you and the police.

Be as honest as you can be about your missing loved one’s lifestyle, habits and situation.  This is vital to the investigation.

Remember to record the full name, rank, badge number and full contact information of the officer taking the missing person report. Ask for the report number as well and provide your contact information.

What information will you need for the report?

Police will ask a number of questions about your missing loved one for the report.  Do not wait to have everything ready before contacting police.  If you do not have the information, it can be filled in later.  The type of information police need is:

  • Basic information about the missing person:  full name, aliases (if applicable), date of birth, nicknames, current address and work address.
  • Physical description of the missing person: height, weight, age, build, hair colour, eye colour, marks such as tattoos, scars or other identifying marks.
  • The most recent photos that you have.   If you have several, bring them with you.  Selecting the best one can be done at the police station.
  • Habits and lifestyle: does the missing person smoke, drink, do drugs?  Do they play any sports or have hobbies that they may continue with?  What are their spending habits, favourite places, religious beliefs or any other routines that they may have.
  • Information about the last time the missing person was seen: time and location, people they were with, their attitudes, any planned trips or errands.
  • Overall health: physical and mental/emotional.  Does the missing person take any prescription drugs?  Also check to see if the medication has been left behind.
  • A list of closest friends and contacts.
  • Additional Information:  This could include any possessions that the missing person may have taken, clothing worn at the time of the disappearance or other information.

What not to do

Sometimes family and friends are concerned about embarrassing the missing person so they clean the missing person’s home before going to police.  In other cases, family and friends try to trace the missing person’s computer or phone activity.

DO NOT do the laundry, clean the home, erase personal emails or phone message on the missing person’s behalf as this could impact on the police investigation.  In trying to protect your loved one, you might be destroying evidence, important information or other clues.

This document has been developed by the CCIMA for general information purposes (12/2012).