Missing Persons Unit Mailing Address:
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department
Missing Person Unit
601 East Trade St.
Missing Person or Runaway
While the primary responsibility of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department's Missing Persons Unit is to location missing persons, they are willing to assist in solving runaway cases. A missing person is one who has disappeared without an explanation. A runaway has a motive to disappear and does not want to be found.
Our detectives are dealing with many cases daily, and sometimes a runway case may last for months. Please be patient.
Unfortunately, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department does not have the authority or the resources to find uprooted friends or relatives who have lost contact with each other. Those individuals should seek other public or private resources.
Reporting a Missing Person
In Charlotte thousands of people are reported missing each year. When a loved one is missing for an unexplained reason, it can be the most challenging, difficult and emotional time that anyone could endure. This experience is wrapped in feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, confusion, guilt and uncertainty of what to do and what to expect. Contrary to popular myth, there is no waiting period (24 or 72 hours) before you can file a report. In fact, the sooner we have a report the sooner we can work to help locate the missing person. Very few missing peoples are the victim of foul play or some other criminal act. Most missing persons are found or return home within just a few days. If any foul play is suspected the investigation escalates accordingly.
Being a missing person is not a crime. Adults can be missing if they choose to. They can choose to leave work, ignore friends and even family. Because of this, law enforcement is quite limited in what they can do. Even if law enforcement does locate the person, they can not divulge any information about that person without specific permission from that person.
Finding and recovering a runaway child depends greatly on the active and aggressive participation of the parent / guardian. Searching for your child may seem overwhelming and a parent will feel completely lost as how to search or where to start.
Here are a few tips to help you start finding your runaway.
- Make a list of all friends, associates and classmates, and start calling.
- Who is the boyfriend / girlfriend and where do they live?
- Let your runaway know that you are hot on their trail and are serious about finding them.
- Give the investigators last names, phone numbers and addresses
- Many runaways have been trained by other runaways and will tell your child to take date books and photos with them or destroy them.
- The runaway may clear all telephone numbers from a cellular telephone databank so that you won't call their friends.
- Keep track of who you have contacted, what they told you and when.
- Your runaway's friends will often hide the truth from you and investigators.
- Document the names of the parents and tell the parents that you absolutely do not give permission for your runaway to stay or live anywhere except home.
- List all of the "hang outs" and activities of your child.
You may know of several and the runaway's friends may give you more.
- Let the investigator know if the runaway has used or is using drugs.
- List what the runaway enjoys doing in his/her spare time.
- Tell the investigator if the runaway has talked about places where they had fun?
- List what the runaway took with them.
- Changes of clothing?
- Food or money?
- Cellular telephone or pager?
- Make-up or toys? (CD player, Gameboy, skateboard, bicycle, etc.)
- Check telephone, computer / Internet access.
- Check the computer history. You may find, for example, that a bus ticket was purchased.
- Search for e-mail to friends and messages about running away.
- Check your long distance telephone log.
- Remember to use *69 if your child calls home.
- Check with the school and any employers.
- Get attendance history from your child's school.
- Obtain information from the school or the school security officer of your child's school friends that you may not know.
- Find out if your runaway expecting a paycheck soon?
- Learn about any work associates
- Find out about the runaway's work history, unexcused absences etc.
- Monitor your home.
- Many runaways will sneak home to steal food, money or get more clothing. Many times they don't come alone.
- Secure your home and know if the runaway has been there while you were at work or away?
- Call 704-336-2311 or the detective you are working with to notify them of the child's return. If your child was found and returned by any police agency, notify the detective assisting on your case.
Occasionally a parent or legal guardian fails to comply with as custody agreement set forth in civil court. When this happens, contempt statues can provide a solution to the problem instead of a missing person report, since the location of the child is known.
Coordinate your efforts with the Civil Process Unit and the Civil Judgment Division of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department Field Operations Section. The Mecklenburg County Clerk of Courts Office and the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department can assist you in serving and enforcing civil court orders in other cities and states. If a civil remedy can not be reached or an exigent circumstance develops during the civil process, your case will be reviewed and escalated according.
International Missing Person Case
As Charlotte grows more diverse in the international community, the Unit is frequently called upon to investigate or assist in missing person cases on an international level. These types of cases can be very complex in nature because of local, state, federal and international laws that are involved. However the Missing Person Unit will work with the State Department, U. S Customs and Interpol to the best of their ability to resolve these cases.