Question: What Should I Do If My Child Runs Away?
Following these steps will expedite the investigation into locating your runaway child:
Locate the most recent picture you have of them.
Write down a description of what they had on when you last saw them.
Do they have any distinguishable marks such as tattoos, multiple piercings, birthmarks or other marks? Make a list.
If they have run away before - where did they go?
How did they leave? Their car? A friend's car? Walking?
If they took their own car, write down the description and license plate number.
Do they have a boyfriend or girlfriend? If so, obtain their name, address and phone number for the authorities.
Who are their friends? List all the friends that you can think of and make a list of their names and how to contact them. If you do not know this information, list who may know.
If they own a cell phone, obtain a copy of the last bill they received. Do they have their phone or pager with them? If so, write down the numbers for the investigators.
Make a list of their credit card and ATM account numbers. Obtain a copy of their last bill.
Contact your local police department and report your child as a runaway/missing person and have them list the child's name and date of birth with the National Crime Information Center.
If an ex-spouse exists, contact them to inform them of the child's disappearance and to verify that the child has not found refuge with them.
Install caller ID on your house phone if you do not already have it.
Contact the parents of your child's friends and inform them of what has happened. They often can supply you with valuable clues as to the whereabouts of your child.
List the names and locations of the places that they often frequent; their school, church, activity center like the YMCA, and favorite restaurants.
Prepare to send a contact sheet with your child's picture and description, all on one page, to police departments in surrounding cities.
If your child has runaway before, there is a strong possibility they may do it again. Preparing some of this information in advance can quicken their return home.