Missing Children

Missing children remains a huge issue throughout the world and many Private Investigators are tasked with missing child investigations. As a parent or loved one, the first step should be to contact the authorities when a child is suspected as missing. Many law enforcement agencies have specific missing children units or task forces that are well equipped to find a missing child. However, when the missing child case goes cold is typically when a loved one will request a PI help them find the missing child. Furthermore, many parents wish to invest in extra resources and hire a PI even at the first reported instance when the child goes missing. Experienced and capable Investigators know how to find a missing child. Private Investigators can use many avenues to locate a missing child, such as Cyber Investigations, interviewing, and surveillance.

Cyber Investigations will usually be the first place a Private Investigator starts when attempting to find a missing child. Many articles/ blogs on this topic will state that a missing child Investigator will start with investigating the child's network of known associates and spread outward from there. However, this is not entirely true. Parents and loved ones will often have unique and intimate information regarding the missing child. The Private Investigator will use this information to determine how to start the missing child investigation. The parent(s) should also be able to provide the missing child Investigator with the child's online information. This can be things such as, social media accounts and emails. This is a great way for the missing child Investigator to establish “Anchor” points when beginning the missing child case.

Using interviewing for a missing child case is just as it sounds. The missing child Investigator will gather information on individuals that appear to have knowledge on the child's location/ possible location and then interview them. The method of interviewing can be in-person, thru telephone, and even communicating via the internet. Attempting to locate the missing child overtly or covertly will depend on if the Investigator wants it to be known that there is a missing child investigation in progress. The Investigator might not want to tip off guilty parties involved in a child abduction, Performing the missing child interviews covertly can be done by the Investigator interviewing individuals through a pre-text.

missing child

Surveillance is used when the missing persons Investigator has known locations that the child might be located at, or perhaps known associates of the missing child. In order for the missing children Investigator to properly perform surveillance, they will need complete and up to date information regarding the missing child. This information can be things such as, up do date photos or vehicle information(of people known to the child). Surveillance requires a lot of time and resources. If a skilled and experienced missing children Investigator decides that surveilling a location is needed, there is a good chance that the surveillance will provide valuable information to the missing children case. This can be providing the next step in the missing children investigation or finding the missing child altogether.


  1. There is typically no time limit in reporting a missing child to authorities.

  2. Strangers are rarely involved in the abduction of a child.

  3. Most missing children are run-aways.

  4. Most non run-away missing children are abducted by a parent.

  5. Slightly more female children go missing than male children.

  6. Authorities can find children, even if they are taken out of country.

  7. Most missing children are found.

About the Author

missing child investigator

Peter Sandru is an Instructor & Co-Founder of NDIL with over 13 years as a Professional Private Investigator. Peter has spent more than a decade conducting investigations and security operations throughout the world, primarily for corporations, law firms, and government agencies. Peter has assisted in the creation of numerous investigative & security training programs in various capacities. Peter has investigated numerous missing child cases.