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Each year, approximately 600,000 individuals are reported missing in the United States, and the numbers are much higher worldwide. The hope for National Missing Persons Day is to raise awareness and educate the public about people who go missing. 

History of National Missing Persons Day

National Missing Persons Day was founded by Jo Ann Lowitzer with the purpose of building an increased awareness in the public about the needs of those who have gone missing. After her daughter, Alexandria, went missing in 2010, Lowitzer originally started by working to designate her daughter’s birthday, February 3, as an annual missing persons day for the city of Houston. She dreamed bigger, later promoting the idea of Texas Missing Persons Day on April 26, which is the day her daughter went missing.

Eventually, in 2018 Lowitzer was successful in getting National Missing Persons Day recognized. Although it has not gotten easier in the more than a decade since her daughter went missing, Lowitzer continues to hope that raising awareness for this day will help in bringing missing persons home.

In addition to this day that is observed in the US, since 2013 the government of Ireland has also recognized its own National Missing Persons Day that takes place annually on the first Wednesday in December.

How to Observe National Missing Persons Day

Get involved with this important event by observing National Missing Persons Day with some of these activities:

Share Information about Missing Persons

One of the most important ways that people can be encouraged to observe National Missing Persons Day is by sharing information, no matter how small or inconsequential it might seem. When police investigate the disappearance of a person, they put the pieces of a puzzle together through clues that narrow down what they believe to be the time and location of the incident. Someone who has received a phone call or text, had a visual sighting or knew any piece of information about a person before they went missing can help by sharing.

Host a Missing Persons Vigil

For many people, the experience of a family member or friend who has gone missing can be devastating to individuals and communities. One opportunity that can be helpful in honor of National Missing Persons Day is to hold a vigil for those who have gone missing. This could be a community gathering at a park, school or some other public space where people are invited to share memories, light candles, sing songs and perhaps hold a moment of silence.

Learn More About Missing Persons 

In recent decades, the ability to track and trace missing persons through the use of technology has acted as an important tool and aid for solving mysterious cases. And the more awareness is raised through individuals and communities, the better the opportunities of finding people who are missing.

Get involved with National Missing Persons Day by learning and sharing some interesting facts online or in person to raise awareness. Consider some of these to get started:

  • Since 1984, the National Center for Missing and Exploited children has received more than 5 million calls

  • The first national clearinghouse for missing adults was created in 2000 and signed by US President Bill Clinton

  • The AMBER alert was created in 1996 after the disappearance of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman

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