Let’s face it, Chicago is a HUGE city. According to Wikipedia, the entire Chicago area has over 9,500,000 people. Whether you live in Oak Lawn or on the north side of Chicago, in Northbrook, you are exposed to a large population of homeless people and runaways. Finding one person in particular here is a monumental job. It requires a lot of resources and time. It also requires a good knowledge of the city itself, as well as information about where different groups of homeless and runaways spend their time.
So, how do you track down a missing person in Chicago? You can go about this in two ways. You can try to find the missing person on your own or you can hire a private investigator to do it for you.
Finding a missing person on your own
Luckily, there are a lot of tools you can use to make your search easier. Most of them require contacting authorities or persons the subject used to keep in touch with. Start by calling the person’s loved ones. Look into every possibility, no matter how remote. Scour your brain and list all the people that your loved one might contact if they were in distress. It may seem like a waste of time, but it’s important to rule out every possibility. A simple disagreement can spiral out of control and lead to someone taking temporary refuge with a friend. Sometimes, someone goes “missing” when they’re emotionally distraught, only to be found hours later once they calm down.
Social media can be very useful. Your loved one may have left a clue about their whereabouts on one of their social media pages. Pay attention to when they last posted an update. Look at what other people are posting on their page. If you spot anything weird, dig into it. It might lead somewhere.
If nothing else works, you can contact the police department and file a Missing Persons Report. It doesn’t matter how old the missing person is – call the police department! If your child disappears, don’t hesitate for an instant! Call law enforcement officials the second you notice something is wrong. Adults are trickier. The police are limited if they suspect the person may have left voluntarily. However, you should still file a missing person report.
Another option is to call NamUs. The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) is run by the U.S. government. Enter your loved one’s information into the database and organizations across the country will be able to access the information. This a great resource for spreading the word. Your loved one’s disappearance may be connected to another case.
You should also consider calling nearby hospitals and jails. Even the most unlikely person can get into trouble sometimes. Part of your search should include phone calls to the jails in your area. Moreover, if your loved one has been badly injured, they may not be in a position to contact you.
Hire a private investigator to find the missing person
If you decide to hire a private investigator, make sure you do your research and contact someone who has lived in Chicago their entire life. The P.I. needs to know the city and canvas old haunts and known places where the missing, homeless, and runaways congregate.
The private investigator you hire will request a detailed report to find a missing person. Height, weight, hair color, eye color, skin tone, last seen wearing, etc. are all physical descriptors. However, the P.I. will also want to know other things, like current address, if the missing person had a mental illness, was prone to violent behavior, had a gambling problem or a drug addiction, etc. All of these details will help the investigator focus his or her search efforts to find leads.
After the detailed report, the investigator will search through police records to match anything that comes close to the report you gave them. If anything does match, or if the missing person was arrested or fingerprinted, the police report will help the P.I. to find some direction in the investigation. If absolutely nothing comes up via police records, the P.I. will try a different approach. The investigator can also work to access the national missing and unidentified person system to identify any opportunities in locating a missing person.
Locations where missing persons might take refuge
When no police records are indicating that the subject of the investigation has had any recent contact with the police, the next step is to search places where your loved one may be resting at night or getting warm during the day, such as homeless shelters, warming shelters, soup kitchens, churches, libraries, and YWCA/YMCA facilities, which frequently provide cheap places to sleep and a meal.
All of these places are public, which means that if your missing loved one has been to any of the above, a staff person will recognize a picture and/or physical description of your missing person. Investigators may frequent these locations more than once a week or month to make sure all the current staff has had a chance to identify the picture and/or answer any questions they may have for them.
Meanwhile, investigation teams will also check out the known outdoor locations where missing persons, runaways, and the homeless tend to congregate. These places might be under bridges, under the supports of the “El-train”, in alleys, and abandoned buildings, of which there are many in Chicago. An experienced P.I. from Chicago knows exactly where all of these places are, and is not afraid to check them alone.
Interviews and canvassing for new leads
Your private investigator will stop to ask as many of these people as possible about your missing person. Since many of these indigent people have an alcohol or drug addiction problem and/or mental illness, this is a very grueling process. If the P.I. can find any leads this way, they will follow up on them, even though they may end up nowhere. Uncovering and discovering new locations for the homeless, missing and runaways is also part of the process since abandoned buildings are frequently torn down and the people squatting in them have to find other shelters.
A big part of this ongoing process is about canvassing. Your P.I. will have to re-canvass different locations and neighborhoods throughout Chicago to find your loved one. When every possible location and resource has been exhausted once, the investigator will repeat the process until they find a new lead or the trail goes cold. You can decide what happens next. You can keep paying the investigator’s fees and hope for something to surface, choose to give up the search or look elsewhere. These are all hard decisions that you should discuss with your private investigator at some point so that both of you are on the same page during the investigation.
Contact LRI to Find a Missing Person
Now that you understand the monumental task of finding someone in Chicago, let us help. Contact an LRI investigator today to see what we can do for you and your situation. Some missing persons and runaways can be found rather quickly if you act in a timely manner, but the odds are not in your favor if you wait. To find a missing person requires fast actions and the resources to do an in-depth investigation.
About Lawrence Ryan Investigations, Inc.
Lawrence Ryan Investigations has been in the private investigations field for over 35 years. To find a missing person requires a certain set of skills to deliver results. Having a domestic investigator from LRI will provide you with the peace of mind that you are getting the best possible support to assist you in your missing person search. We always recommend looking at a private investigator’s reviews before hiring them. There are high-quality investigators available but you have to be cautious of people that call themselves professional investigators but are far from it.