Missing and Unidentified Persons Awareness

Written By: Natalie Lanphear, Advocate

The month of May is dedicated to Missing and Unidentified Persons Awareness. According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, there are over 600,000 people who go missing in our country every year. Although a large amount of these individuals are found, there are still thousands who stay missing for over a year. To break the numbers down even further, around 4,400 unidentified bodies are found each year. Close to 1,000 of the bodies found are still unidentified after one year (NamUs).

Many of these cases with individuals who are missing for over a year are considered “cold cases.” A cold case is defined as “an unsolved criminal investigation which remains open pending the discovery of new evidence.” Thousands of families and friends of missing persons will wait years to have these cold cases cracked. Sometimes they never receive answers about what happened to their loved ones.

Offering support to these families and friends is monumental in these oftentimes long periods of confusion and hurt. One way to offer support for families and friends is to simply listen to their stories of their loved ones. Listen to the memories they hold dearly. Listen to their pain. Another way to help is by contacting your local law enforcement agency with any tips you may have regarding a case of a missing or unidentified person. Your information could bring detectives one step closer to solving a case. Families and friends deserve to know the truth about their loved ones. This month, we honor them and their search for that truth.

For more information visit NamUs.