I first want to start by correcting false information that most people are given at the police station when they report their missing loved ones. Parents are told they have to go back home, wait 24 hours, if their child does not come back after that 24 hours,then they can come back and fill in a missing persons report. The truth is there is no 24 hours waiting period for reporting missing persons. The police department has even sent a circular to police stations disclaiming this misleading information. Unfortunately most people are still being turned away. Should you at any point have to open a missing persons case because your child is missing; Please do not allow the police to turn you away. If the police attending you tells you to come back after 24 hours, demand to see the Station Commander and state this fact to them. This could save your loved ones live and possibly make it possible for you to find them in time. The more time lapses between the time they disappear and the time police actively start looking for them, the less likely they are to be found alive. The South African law states that police should act once a case of missing persons has been opened regardless of the amount of time they have been missing.
This wrongful information 24 hours waiting period has resulted in a lot of people not finding their loved ones in time (children being found murdered) as delay in police reaction gives the perpetrators time to take the child even away or to cause them harm. Therefore do not allow anyone to turn you away as they will attempt to do if your child urns out missing. Never leave until a case has been opened and a detective assigned your case. Your loved ones live depends on this.
Steps to take if your child or loved one is missing
- Go to the police immediately to open a missing persons case or report the case to the Bureau of missing persons.
- Take a picture along so the police will know exactly who they are looking for.
- Give the police the missing persons description, their height, weight, any birthmarks and any other descriptions that you can think of that will help police to identify your child.
- Try to remember what the missing person was last seen wearing. If you can’t remember don’t feel bad, ask others who have seen them as well. This is crucial information.
- Should the police insist on the false 24 hour waiting period, don’t leave the premises. Ask to speak to the station Commander and report the incident.
- Alert your family, friends and community members. Community members can give information to the police that would help the case. Put up posters as soon as you can. If your child is still in the area this will restrict the kidnappers movements.
- Rather be safe than sorry. If your child is later found, go report their appearance at the police station.
Remember mommy your baby is precious.