LOUISVILLE, Ky. — February 3 is National Missing Persons Day, a time to raise awareness of the issues surrounding people who are missing across the country.
Nationally, it's a huge issue. The last year of available data from the FBI shows in 2019 alone, the bureau saw over 1,800,000 cases filed into its system. Not all are credible, but every case is taken seriously and creates a large backlog.
To help, both Kentucky and Indiana partner with NaMus, a missing persons database. According to NaMus, over 600,000 people go missing nationwide each year.
We sat down with Detective Bill Clark of Louisville Metro Police Department's Missing Persons Unit to talk about how change can come and what the trends look like locally. For the most part, Detective Clark is optimistic.
"In Louisville we're fortunate. In most cases, we'll recover the subject in a couple of days. We really have a lot of cooperation with social media," he said.
"But I have kids, so it hits close to home for me."
Still, Detective Clark says his department treats every case with fresh effort.
"You always try to remember that's somebody's child, and the panic in their voice is what you go by. You can kind of get a feel from the parent about how serious it is. It's terrifying for them so we do our best to comfort them and tell them we're going to do everything we can."
Detective Clark says that as a parent, the best thing you can do to aid law enforcement is paying close attention to children and keeping lines of communication open as best as possible while they grow up.
"We really rely on parents to conduct their own investigation in the beginning. If you see who their friends are and some of them change, look into it. Do they have a boyfriend or girlfriend? What are their hangouts? Do they have access to money? Simple things like that will help us quickly eliminate certain things that are a little time-consuming."
If you need to report a missing person, call law enforcement. After that, call 800-THE-LOST (800-843-5678).