According to the FBI there are approximately 83,007 persons reported as missing in the National Crime Information Center database today. This means that law enforcement has taken a report from a family member who has a lost loved one and has entered the information into the national database so it can be cross referenced by other law enforcement agencies.
The "missing, missing" are the silent shadow population of lost people who are unaccounted for in any database. It is estimated that at least 1.5 million are not listed in the database and are among the "Missing, Missing."
These may be unreported missing adults with mental illness and/or co-occurring addiction problems who may be lost among the homeless population. Many have left behind family members who have not been successful in attempts to obtain proper treatment for their loved one and/or have been unable to list them with law enforcement as missing.
There can be a number of reasons that a person goes undocumented. Among these reasons:
- The person is an adult with mental health issues and/or addictions, who, as an adult, can "drop off the radar" at will.
- The person is a child born to a "missing, missing" person, so no one even knows the child exists. Many of these children may have safe, loving family members or appropriate caregivers that would take care of them, if they knew they existed. Finding "missing, missing" people, literally could save thousands of children from lives lost to the streets.
- Other "kids off the grid" are unreported runaways, homeless youth, and/or throwaway youth. In 2002, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention estimated that 1.6 million youth run away in a year in the United States. The Research Triangle Institute studied runaway youth in 1995 and estimated 2.8 million youth in the United States had a runaway experience during the previous year.
- The person is estranged from family and friends, so no one knows he/she is missing.
- A person is chronically homeless.
- A person is in the country without the proper documentation such as an illegal immigrant from Mexico for example.
- Remains turn up, but no records pinpoint who the person is. The person becomes part of the unidentified deceased John and Jane Doe population.
The challenge arises when people with a mental health issue goes missing because even if they are adults, many do not have the ability to recognize that they are putting themselves in harm's way. When this happens, families are desperate to find their vulnerable loved one and get them the help they need in order to save their lives,