The Art of Tracing Missing Persons and Missing Children

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The Art of Tracing Missing Persons and Missing Children

Among the bevy of cases that we handle, a vast majority of them happen to be domestic cases. Some of them happen to be investigations related to missing persons. Today I have decided to shed light on a crucial and a very important aspect of our services namely Skip Tracing. Why the unusual term. Well, Skip Tracing is an investigative procedure that regards tracing people who have either skipped out of something or skipped out of someone. The name arose from the old English saying that one has ‘skipped’ town or ‘skipped’ bail. Lets face it. If you were a person without any living relatives, without owing any debt or any commitments to anybody and if you went missing, no one would be bothered to look out for you to trace you back! But most human beings are a product of associations, relations and are a pixel on the gigantic LCD screen called society! If one pixel is missing, you will be missed by someone somewhere and efforts will be on to trace your whereabouts. In most cases, it is the job of the detectives of the Police force but in some cases, private detectives armed with their specialised skills and networks are called upon to expedite the process for the troubled client.

Skip tracing is often used in divorce cases, kidnappings, child custody cases, missing persons cases as well as genealogy tracing (more on this later).

The Art of Skip Tracing

Skip Tracing like we mentioned is the art of locating people who have gone missing or in hiding. Private Detectives like us term missing people as ‘skips’ whether they have gone in hiding intentionally or otherwise. Private Detective Agencies like us specialise in skip tracing and we have solved many difficult cases in the past. This has also helped us develop relationships with lawyers, attorneys and insurance companies who are most likely to use our services. But like all aspects of our work, Skip Tracing especially so is highly time and work intensive and can be fraught with dangers, dead ends and lots of frustrations.

How To Find Missing Persons

Let me outline here the general tactics that we use to find missing persons in the course of our investigations. And here’ s a big secret:

The great majority of people who are deemed missing arent lost or kidnapped! They have gone missing because they wanted to get away! 

Missing-investigations-indiaWhy do people want to get away? The reasons are many. Some people are trying to escape from the harsh realities of the world that they were living in before. Some people are trying to hide from creditors, spouses or parents. Some have disappeared due to psychological and mental illness (schizophrenia). Others are running away from a mistake and trying to start life afresh. Many of the ‘skips’ return back or are often easily located thanks partly to our increasingly 24 / 7  connected world of mobile phones, photos and video apps that make it hard for someone to truly disappear for long. Actually only a minority of ‘skip tracing’ cases require the specialized services of a private detective.

Some people will just get up one day and walk out of their houses never to return. If it is ascertained by the authorities that the missing adult has no physical or emotional illness and there is no suspicion of illegal activities on their side, then it may not be reported by the local authorities. The people who are close to the ‘skips’ either search for them themselves or hire a private detective or just let them go. Like I mentioned earlier, the disappearance of the marginalized of society such as beggars, drug addicts, homeless people, prostitutes as well as the physically and mentally challenged may go unnoticed and unreported.

Missing Children Are a Different Story

When children go missing, it is an altogether different story altogether. Children do not possess fully developed faculties and do not possess the same means and resources to support and protect themselves against harm as adults do and hence they are more vulnerable to harm and exploitation. Therefore when children go missing, it become’s everybody’s business! Cases regarding missing children require immediate attention regardless of whether the child has been abducted or whether he has run away. Indian law remains highly vigilant of cases regarding children and law enforcement authorities have put together stringent policies that drastcially reduces the response time in cases regarding missing children. More often than not, it is the public outcry and media backlash spearheaded by vigilant citizens and NGO’s that have caused these proactive steps to be put in place by the authorities.  A lot of times, children are abducted by non custodial parents, guardians or caretakers but then just because the child knows the abductor doesnt imply that the child is out of harm’s way.

In the next article I will discuss in elaborate the two different types of skips: The Intentionally Missing Person and the Unintentionally Missing person. Until then stay safe!

Author Bio

Amit Sen is the founding partner of Alliance One – who are among the best detective agencies Mumbai specializing in providing thorough background marriage check services in Mumbai among other private and corporate investigation services. Amit is also a trained pilot and an aviator and likes to remain grounded on the days when he is not flying high.

Article edited and co-written by Atin Dasgupta who is the co-founder and marketing head of Alliance One. Read more about Atin here.



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