Missing Persons Information

Some people are under the misconception that one must wait a specific amount of time before a person is reported as missing. According the California Penal Code, all law enforcement agencies are required to take a missing person or runaway juvenile report without delay.

Missing Person Criteria

A missing person is defined as someone who is absent and reported missing to a law enforcement agency until the person is located or, in the case of a missing adult who is not at risk, determined to be voluntarily absent from the reporting person.

Per California Penal Code Section 14213(a), a missing person also includes, but is not limited to, a child taken, detained, concealed, enticed away or retained by a parent in violation of Section 277, et al., of the Penal Code and any child missing voluntarily or involuntarily, or under circumstances not conforming to their ordinary habits or behavior, and who may be in need of assistance. Under this definition, parental abductions must be accepted as missing person cases.


A missing adult is not an adult who has left and remained away from the reporting party of his or her own volition (unless the adult is at risk) or who is being sought solely because of a domestic dispute or for civil litigation.

Filing a Missing Person Report

A report should be made with the local law enforcement agency as soon as a person is determined to be missing. However, the agency for the area where the missing person resides will have ultimate jurisdiction and in most cases is the best place to file the report. The local law enforcement agency receiving the report will start the investigation and contact the law enforcement agency of jurisdiction. If the missing person is not located within a reasonable amount of time, the law enforcement agency of jurisdiction will then take over the investigation.

At-Risk or Critical Missing Persons

An at-risk or critical missing person includes but is not limited to any of the following:

  • The missing person is the victim of a crime or foul play.
  • The missing person is in critical need of medical attention.
  • The missing person has no pattern of running away or disappearing.
  • The missing person is the victim of a kidnapping or parental abduction.
  • The missing person is mentally impaired to the extent that such person is unable to care for him or herself or is an immediate danger to his or her own safety or the safety of others.

Information for the Missing Person Report

Law enforcement personnel will request the following information for a missing person report:

  1. Identifying information on the missing person (name, age, date of birth, height, weight, hair and eye color, scars, marks, tattoos, previous broken bones, missing organs, amputations, etc.)
  2. Description and sizes of the clothing worn.
  3. Medical conditions being treated for.
  4. Physician name, address, and phone number.
  5. Name and location of the hospital / clinic that has previously taken body x-rays of the missing person.
  6. Possible destination of the missing person.
  7. Friends and vehicles associated with the missing person.
  8. Locations frequented by the missing person.
  9. A recent photograph of the missing person will be requested for attachment to the report. The photograph will be used to make and distribute missing person fliers. The police department will retain the original photograph(s) of the missing person until the case has been resolved.
  10. The reporting person will be requested to sign an Authorization to Release Dental Records form.
  11. Identifying information of the reporting person.

Returned Missing Person

The local law enforcement agency or reporting agency should be contacted as soon as the missing person returns. The returned missing person should be contacted and verified in person by either the reporting agency or the local law enforcement agency in which the missing person returned.

Once the missing person is verified as being returned the Department of Justice and the N.C.I.C. Missing Persons System will be notified of the found person.


It is the policy of the Monterey Park Police Department to accept, document and investigate, without delay, any report of a missing person, adult or juvenile, or a runaway, regardless of jurisdiction, in accordance with California Penal Code Section 14205(a).