Tracing Runaway Individuals

Many runaways sneak home to steal food, money or get more clothing. They usually do not come alone.


Make a list of the runaway’s friends and associates. They may be able to provide valuable information.

Contact your local law enforcement agency and file a missing person report. Ask for a department PIN number and case number.

Tracking Tips

Trackers are looking for biological evidence of your presence, including blood, feces and urine. Avoid these by making sure that you cover up any traces of them when leaving or entering an area. Also, avoid stepping in or walking through “honeypots,” which are soft areas of ground that readily capture footprints. Mud, sand and long grass are common honeypots. Instead, try to walk on hard, rocky surfaces whenever possible.

Another tactic to avoid is silhouetting, which occurs when you move in front of a light source, such as the sun or moon. This creates a silhouette of your profile, making you stand out like a sore thumb to anyone searching for you. Avoid this by moving only at night and during stormy weather when visibility is lowest.

One of the most important tracking tips is to always be observant and to correctly interpret your observations. This is known as situational awareness and it’s the biggest reason why talented fugitives are ultimately caught.

Runaways may use a variety of strategies to conceal their location, including hiding money or other valuables, burning clothes and hiding in the dark. Many of these tactics can be spotted by a seasoned investigator, though. A runaway might tell friends to take their date books or photos with them, destroy their cellular telephone databank, or clear their name from their contact list.

Tracking a Runaway

Each year, about two million teenagers run away from home. Approximately 1/3 of these runaways will end up in an abusive situation; a third will attempt suicide, and a substantial number will be sexually assaulted. The chances of a runaway getting found and returned to their family depend heavily on the level of proactive involvement by parents/guardians.

The first step is to contact the police immediately. Inform them of the runaway’s cellular telephone number and any other information that may be helpful in locating them. Also, it is a good idea to contact the runaway’s friends who may be able to provide valuable information. Remember, most cellular phone companies only keep text records for a limited period of time; the sooner you contact the phone company the better your chances are of obtaining these records.

In some instances, a missing runaway will call home to reassure the parents of their safety and request that law enforcement not be involved in their search. A third party may also call claiming to have information on a missing child/adult and condition the provision of this information upon a ransom payment, which is illegal.

After receiving the initial phone call from the runaway/ransom demander, a parent should dial *57 to initiate a trace. Note that only law enforcement agencies receive the location ping data after dialing *57 and it is crucial to write down the information you receive after this procedure is initiated.

Tracking a Missing Person

If you are searching for a missing person, there are many ways to locate them. First, contact people that know them and have been part of their life. This could include family members, friends and coworkers. They may be able to provide information about where they went last or what their plans were for the day or week of their disappearance. You can also check social media accounts for clues about their location.

Another option is to post flyers with a photograph of the person in locations where they often go, such as coffee shops and restaurants. You can also place advertisements on sites like Craigslist. You can even try using GPS tracking. If you have access to a missing person’s mobile phone, you can download an app that will allow you to track their movements.

Another way to locate a missing person is to use a face recognition system in video recordings. This can be especially helpful in crowd gathering scenarios where people may be moving and their faces might be blurred by the movement. The app analyzes the video and searches for the missing individual’s face. Once it detects a missing person’s face, it uses soft voting to improve the prediction and identify them. It then tracks the missing person in a video by checking whether the camera is located within the recommended set of geofences.

Tracking a Child

We live in a dangerous world and it’s understandable that parents want to keep an eye on their children. There have been too many cases of kidnapping and missing children to allow parents to simply sit back and trust that their child will be fine when they are not around. But there are other ways to monitor the location of a child without bugging their phone with a tracking app. If they have a Google account you can simply check their location by going into the settings and selecting “location sharing.”

It’s also important to note that there is no data that proves tracking your child makes them safer. In fact, it is more likely to send a message that you don’t trust them and can’t let them be responsible for their actions.

It’s important to have open communication with your child and come up with a plan for when you will use this method of monitoring. Some kids are more independent and will not need to be tracked as much, while others may struggle with this concept of freedom and need a little more parental guidance. It is completely acceptable to decide to track your child as long as you are their parent or legal guardian and can grant permission for other people such as teachers, therapists, babysitters, etc to access the GPS information as well.