When a disappearance occurs, everything changes. Emotions a survivor goes through range from: sadness, guilt, hurt, anger, depression, hopelessness, apathy, rage, hysteria, to a lack of appetite and sleep. Nightmares, panic attacks, anxiety, lethargy, thoughts of harming self and others, lack of concentration, are common.

It is not uncommon for survivors to fall into deep depressions, lose their jobs, and have uncommon behavior changes. They are dealing with a situation which is at the very highest stress level possible. A medical doctor should be contacted; consulting a therapist immediately is also advisable.

One extremely important person to contact immediately in any disappearance is the missing persons dentist. Providing the police with the name and number the missing person's dentist is very important, and should be followed up on to make sure the records were picked up. Most agencies will give you a dental form when you report a person missing. Click on the tooth to see Dr. Tewes, Maryland's Forensic dentist, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner's, message.

Missing Person Checklist

File a missing persons report with the local police department and/or contact your State Justice Department. There are some jurisdictions that do not classify a lost person who is an adult as a missing person.

Filing Missing Persons Report - Maryland

To file missing person reports in Maryland, contact the law enforcement agency in the county where you live or where the missing person last lived. Missing person reports are not limited to children.

Write down a complete description of what the person looks like. A description includes the color of the hair, eyes, height, weight, and date of birth. Also include anything that might help identify the person such as eyeglasses, braces, marks, blemishes and scars, hair texture, tattoos, and any unusual characteristics.

  • Write down a list of any known medical problems the missing person has. Asthma, depression, glasses, hearing aids, heart problems, medications, disabilities, psychological problems, etc. Names and numbers of doctor's should be gathered and presented to the police. Gather medical records such as x-ray and broken bones.
  • Gather photos of the missing person. Head and shoulder pictures are preferable.
  • Gather a list of friends and places frequented by the missing person. Include full names, phone numbers, addresses, and work numbers and addresses.

Make your own Missing Persons Flyer - use the most recent photograph you have, the circumstances surrounding the disappearance, a description of clothing and body markings (scars, tattoos, etc.) that would help someone to recognize your loved one.

  • Think carefully about places your loved one might go if lost or hurt. Below is a suggested list for places to post your loved one's flyer:
    • homeless shelters
    • hospital emergency rooms
    • convenience stores
    • gas stations
    • bus stations/taxi cab services
    • churches, houses of worship
    • social services office (social workers, etc.)
    • drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers
    • local media (news stations and newspapers)
    • tattoo parlors
    • Contact your local assemblyperson and/or senator for your voting district....ask for their help in getting the flyer and information out to the public.
    • Post your flyer on missing person websites (contact me for a list) and e-mail it to everyone in your address book...ask friends and family to post and email the flyer also.

Check with coroners and medical examiners. Ask about any unidentified John or Jane Doe cases they may have.

You may also wish to contact the following organizations to request a search of their files:

1. Maryland State Department of Motor Vehicles

Download the "Request for Record" (form #DR-057) and submit the form and required fee by mail to the Motor Vehicle Administration, 6601 Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie, MD 21062, Rm. 145. 1-800-950-1MVA (1-800-950-1682)

2. Vital Records Maryland

6550 Reisterstown Rd.
Reistertown Road Plaza
Baltimore, MD 21215
(410) 764-3038 or (800) 832-3277
Fax: (410) 358-0738 

Fee: $12.00 (Death and marriage)
Fee: $10.00 (Birth)

3. Social Security Administration

Office of Central Records Operations
300 North Green Street
Baltimore, MD 21201  Fee: $3.00

On a plain, unsealed envelope, write the missing person's name and social security number, and enclose a brief letter of explanation. The Social Security Administration will try to determine the last employer and forward the letter to the employer's address if available.

Social Security Death Index can be found at: http://www.vitalrec.com/search.html