Hiring a Private Investigator to Locate a Runaway

Hiring a Private Investigator to Locate a Runaway

There are many reasons why children run away from home. Problems with family, friends, school or even drugs can all be possible contributing factors. Unfortunately, many children don’t realize that running away likely won’t solve any of their issues and, in many instances, only increases the chances for more serious problems to occur. In addition to taking several other important steps, hiring a private investigator can be instrumental in locating a runaway.

If You Can’t Find Your Child:

Before contacting a private investigator, there are a few important things you should do. It’s important to first verify that your child is actually missing. There are many reasons why kids stay away from home for extended period of time and not all of them are necessarily malicious or purposeful.  


For instance, if your teenager drives, their car could be broken down somewhere and their phone is dead, leaving them unable to contact you or call for help. Sometimes, while staying at a friend’s house, kids may go somewhere without thinking to check in with a parent beforehand. These instances, while potentially worrisome, don’t necessitate the involvement of investigators or authorities. If you fear your child missing, it’s usually a good idea to try your best to find them.

Ask Around

If multiple attempts to contact or locate your child have failed, there are a few steps you should take. First, ask people familiar with your child if they know where he or she is. This includes not only friends but also parents of friends, coworkers, employers, and teachers.

Often, kids, especially teenagers, will tell their friends things they won’t tell their parents. Try to figure out who was the last person to see your child and if they said anything about where they might be. You also want to determine the last place they were seen. This information will be helpful for both the authorities and a private investigator.

Check Their Room

Looking around your child’s room could provide some insight as to where they may have gone and how long they intended to be away. Are there a significant amount of clothes missing? Is your child’s usually messy room suddenly neat and tidy? Does it look like they left in a hurry? Are any of your child’s prized possessions missing? The amount of clothes missing isn’t always a good indicator of how long your child intends to be gone. However, it may be less likely they would intentionally leave behind a treasured possession.

Contact Police

Many TV shows and movies will have you believe that you need to wait 24 or 48 hours before filing a missing person report. This is actually false. If you can’t locate someone and you are legitimately concerned for their safety, you can go to the police immediately. All of the information you’ve gathered from asking around and searching their room can be used to give the police more information. Even if you suspect your child will be back in a day or two, you must contact the police.  

Contact a Private Investigator

In addition to filing a report with the police, it’s a good idea to enlist the services of a professional private investigator. It can’t hurt to have more than one professional investigative source searching for your child. Private investigators are trained in the art of investigation. Many of them are even former law officers or members of the military. They will be more knowledgeable and adept at searching for and recognizing clues than the average citizen.


A private investigator isn’t limited in the same ways that the local police are. For instance, their caseload is typically much smaller, so they will be able to focus more of their attention on locating a missing runaway. They also aren’t limited to the same rules of jurisdiction that apply to local police. If there’s evidence suggesting that your child crossed county lines, local police may have to hand the investigation off to a neighboring department. In contrast, a private investigator would still be able to pursue them without losing any precious time dealing with red tape.

As with any missing person case, time is of the essence when trying to locate a runaway. The sooner you can enlist the services of a private investigator, the better your chances are of finding your lost child before anything bad happens to them. The skilled professionals at South and Associates can help you try to locate any missing person or runaway. We are a fully licensed, bonded, and insured investigative team and we provide all of our clients with exceptional service. Don’t wait to act – time is of the essence. Contact us today!

By | 2018-03-26T18:51:34+00:00 April 6th, 2017|Investigations|0 Comments

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