The missing; reasons they vanish??
Not a Simple Problem
The missing: reasons they vanish? There are multiple reasons that people of any age disappear. Research and observation tell us that people vanish every 40 seconds. In the U.S. alone! Though many of these people are found, many more cases remain unsolved. And so we have what are known as cold cases. These are cases where law enforcement continue to investigate them. Their cases remain open. But their investigations have become inactive. Leads have dried up. The media have stopped covering them. If they ever did.
What happens to a missing person probably happens early. This is true no matter what the circumstances of their disappearances. Most cases don’t ever end up in the news. Only those whose families may be socially connected can keep their loved ones in the news. They usually have the financial resources to deal with the media. The well-known Elizabeth Smart is a classic example. Found alive and thriving today, Smart is from a wealthy family. During the nine months of her unknown whereabouts, the Smart family kept her case in front of every American.
Most missing persons come from families of average resources. They count on grassroots efforts to help find their loved ones. Some cases, with scandals attached to them, may make the news for several months. Unless they are located, their cases become cold. Open, but cold. Missing minority children seldom make the news. Adults who disappear, seldom make the news. An exception is Kristi Cornwell, eventually tragically found dead. Morgan Harrington is another. She, too, was murdered. Men who vanish? They almost never make the news.
The media, law enforcement, and society don’t pour equal resources into missing persons searches. Or in identifying those without their names. Nor in finding justice for victims.
Why do people vanish? The first reason is that they run away. Children may run away from abusive homes. They may just want to evade authority. Adults may leave to evade their responsibilities. Most often, it seems that children and teens disappear voluntarily. Sadly, most don’t take runaway cases seriously. We may think that somehow they are safer. Just because they chose to leave. THis is not the case. Horror stories have surfaced, where runaways encounter foul play as they go on the run. Some have been, horribly, found dead.
Who usually get targeted by pimps? Who typically get trafficked? Often, this happens to runaways. Research tells us that most runaway children and teens are approached within about 24 hours of being in transit. How does this work? Pimps and recruiters will tell these would-be victims: “Come with us. You’ll get a good job. We’ll take care of you. Better than your family.” Children who don’t feel loved or happy at home, are vulnerable to such promises. Most often, they get lured in. And they find themselves in a horrific underworld of sex, drugs, pimp control, and hellish abuse. Sadly, many of these victims never will be found. They may be murdered. They may end up as traffickers themselves.
Human trafficking happens worldwide, of course. But it happens in every state in the U.S.
Predators don’t just traffick in runaways. Because of the Internet, predators have found fertile soil for their dirty work. Often, they lurk in chat rooms or social networks. Where children, teens, and women hang out. These predators may pose as peers to their would-be victims. Cyberspace is an ideal place to groom vulnerable people. This explains why human trafficking happens more and more to those in the middle-classes. To children from loving, stable homes. To middle-class women.
This is the top reason that social networks must go to great lengths to make us jump through hoops to sign up for accounts.
Child Abuse, Adult Abuse
Abuse is a big reason children and adults vanish. Many missing children vanish because their parents do bad things to them. Then they report their child as having disappeared. We find this in cases where the accounts given by parents “don’t add up.” The high-profile case of Baby Gabriel Johnson is a classic example of this. Another high-profile missing child, Kyron Hormon, is another. Both of these children went missing under highly suspicious circumstances. And, to this day, both remain missing.
NCMEC posted a video on their Facebook page. It’s a public post. In the video, sex offenders tell how they “groom” children to abuse and exploit them.
Adults often vanish because of abuse. Here is the sadly familiar scenario: A jealous, angry spouse or partner does something harmful to the other. Even kills him or her. And then reports the person as missing. In this age where abortion has been legalized, life has become cheap. No longer do many people uphold the sanctity of life from conception to death. So many partners or spouses resort to violence to solve their problems. Fearing prosecution, they often cover their tracks by reporting the other as missing.
A number of high-profile cases see to serve as examples. Susan Powell is one classic example. Recall that one night, Josh Powell, her spouse, reported her missing. At the time, he was cleaning up a wet spot in the carpet. He gave law enforcement this story: “Oh, I took my kids out in the middle of the night. We got Smores. We went out in the snow.” My mom followed this story closely, and she scoffed,, “That is his nonsense story! He killed his wife!” This story ended up with Josh killing his two precious boys in a blaze. And Susan has still not been found.
One major reason for missing persons is wandering. Autism, a neurobiological condition, moves children and some adults to wander. Often in more severe cases of autism. Attracted to stimuli, they get tempted to wander off. In most cases, they are found safe. But quite a few,tragically, have drowned in bodies of water. One autistic boy made the news. His family relentlessly tried to find him. When they did, he was found, sadly, in a body of water. Older adults with dementias, including Alzheimer’s, tend to wander off. In these cases of older adults, most seem to be be found safe. But you never can know.
Being suicidal is one reason people go missing. Usually adults. No doubt such people have a plan for suicide, and leaving home makes it easier to carry out their tragic plan. I’ll always remember one missing mom who made the news a few years ago. Jennifer Huston had two children. Her husband seemed to be a caring person. Her family tried and tried to find her. Jennifer was spotted on camera buying a bottle of pills. Because of this footage, law enforcement found it easy to rule her case a suicide. But I could not seem to buy it. Did LE close Jennifer’s case too fast? Why not investigate her husband just to rule him out? Why were the family so quick to accept the suicide ruling? Aside from this, we need to know that suicidal motives cause disappearances.
And then there is abduction. Every parent fears their children being taken by strangers. But there are two other forms of abduction that are more common than stranger kidnaps. Family abduction is the most common form of abduction. In these cases, the parent without custody of the children will kidnap them. Often this is to take vengeance on the custodial parent. These parents may turn the children against the other parent. We may think that such children are usually safe. But such parents have sometimes been known to be armed and dangerous. We ought to always assume that anyone who is missing, is endangered. Until proven otherwise.
This Facebook post, embedded below, has a video. It shows how fast an abduction can happen.
There are the other two forms of kidnapping. There is acquaintance abduction where a predator who knows the victim will kidnap them. These cases don’t become high-profile too often. I read a book years ago, written about two girls who were kidnapped by a predator whom they thought was a nice guy. Both, tragically, ended up dead. The least common reason people go missing? The dreaded stranger abduction. We may think it is common because the media cover these cases above all others. But when it happens, you don’t care how rare it is. You just know you’re going through a nightmare. And until your loved one is found, it will never end.
Find out facts and stats by clicking the links below.