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True Stories of Missing Persons and the People Who Search for Them

by Carole Moore

Pub Date: May 16th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4422-0368-6
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

A guided tour through the perplexing realm of missing persons.

Moore is a professional writer who also spent 12 years as a police officer. She thought she knew a lot about the missing-person phenomenon until she started talking with family members of the missing and attended a conference on missing and unidentified persons. The number of missing adults across the United States at any given point hovers around 40,000, an admittedly rough estimate. When children are included, the number at least doubles. Using case studies, Moore goes broad more than deep, examining almost every imaginable angle: police-agency procedures when receiving a missing-person report; procedures which are too often insensitive and outdated; advances in forensic technology, especially DNA and dental records, which sometimes mean a higher rate of cases solved; abductions of children by a biological parent feuding with the other biological parent; the unique challenges of searching for missing persons who are mentally ill; missing-person cases that cross international borders; the usually devastating, permanent impacts on family members searching for loved ones; how to prove foul play when no physical evidence emerges; and heroic searchers who are unrelated to the missing person by blood, including those at organizations such as Project Jason, the Charley Project, Cue Center for Missing Persons, the Center for Hope and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, among others. The author’s case studies, usually treated in a page or two, can create a dizzying effect, but they are appropriate to her arguments.

By nature depressing, but shot through with rays of optimism.