Chicago Police DepartmentGeneral Order G04-05
Missing/Found Persons
Issue Date:14 July 1998Effective Date:15 July 1998
Index Category:Preliminary Investigations
This directive outlines Department policies and procedures for the investigation of missing or found persons. Department members will refer to the Special order titled "Missing/Found Persons" for general information regarding missing and located persons .
  • A.A prompt response to a missing person report is critical in locating the missing subject and identification of key evidence and/or witnesses. There is no established time limit for a person of any age to be missing before that subject can be reported missing; however, preliminary investigators will use discretion in taking reports of missing adults (see definition of "Missing Adult " for guidance).
  • B.Missing tender-age children and the elderly are always considered at risk. Special considerations and extraordinary measures must be taken in investigating such cases.
  • C.A Missing/Found Person Case Report (CPD-11.407) will be completed for residents of the City of Chicago and visitors to the City who are missing under unusual circumstances. Complainants who are visitors to the City will be instructed to also report such cases to the local police agency whose jurisdiction covers the missing person's permanent residence.
  • D.The Intergovernmental Missing Child Recovery Act of 1984 (325 ILCS 40/1) has been modified, requiring that state agencies report a missing person younger than 21 years of age as a missing juvenile (see definition of "Missing Adult ").
III.General Information - Missing Persons
  • A.The preliminary investigating officer will:
    • 1.verify that the individual is missing. If possible, the member will conduct interviews of individuals present at the location from which the individual is reported missing.
      If the location where the missing was last seen is outside of the reporting district, the preliminary investigator will contact a supervisor before taking any action beyond the district boundaries.
    • 2.advise the complainant that it would assist the preliminary investigation if a contact person were available at all times, including having someone remain in the missing person's residence to notify the Department in the event the missing returns. The complainant will also be advised that the Missing Persons Section should be notified immediately if the missing person is located.
    • 3.complete a Missing/Found Person Case Report for each missing person and obtain a Records Division (RD) number for each report.
      • a.When the subject of a missing person complaint returns or is located before the preliminary investigator has obtained an RD number, the member will prepare a Miscellaneous Incident Exception Report (CPD-11.419), summarizing the circumstances. The preliminary investigator, however, should not delay in completing a Missing/Found Person Case Report once the missing person complaint has been found to be bona fide.
      • b.When the subject of a missing person complaint returns or is located during the preparation of the Missing/Found Person Case Report and an RD number has been obtained, the reporting officer will explain the circumstances in the narrative portion of the case report. Additionally, the reporting officer will contact the Missing Persons Section to make all necessary notifications.
    • 4.document all search activity in the Missing/Found Person Case Report to avoid unnecessary duplicative efforts by follow-up or assisting personnel.
    • 5.notify a field supervisor for incidents involving missing tender age children , juveniles or "high risk " missing subjects, informing the supervisor of the unit assigned, of any unusual circumstances and the complainant's address.
    • 6.immediately request the dispatch of a "flash message" of a "high risk" missing subject's description.
    • 7.have the complainant sign the case report in the space provided. In the event the complainant refuses to sign, the preliminary investigator will mark "Refused" in the complainant signature space.
    • 8.make all notifications required by this directive.
      • a.A notification will be made to Operations Command for all missing person incidents that are potentially newsworthy or when unusual circumstances exist, in accordance with the Department directive entitled, "Operations Command."
      • b.Immediate notification will be made to the district watch commander(s) of all affected district(s) concerning all "high risk" subjects.
      • c.An immediate notification will be made to the Missing Persons Section for all missing subjects.
      • d.Formal flash messages via the Citywide 3 dispatcher are required for all "high risk" missing persons.
  • B.The supervising sergeant will:
    • 1.respond to all "high risk " missing person assignments.
    • 2.if necessary, coordinate a formal and systematic search for "high risk" missing subjects including:
      • a.designating a particular search area for each unit;
      • b.requesting additional personnel as needed;
      • c.determining whether the premises where the subject was last seen and, if applicable, the subject's home have been thoroughly searched;
      • d.maintaining a chronological log of all investigative strategies and all units assigned.
    • 3.ensure all required notifications are made, including a notification to the district watch commander for all "high risk" missing persons.
    • 4.ensure that all required notifications are made including notifications to the district watch commander(s) of all affected district(s) concerning all "high risk" subjects.
    • 5.determine if support services may be utilized. If appropriate, request the necessary services including, but not limited to:
      • a.air support consistent with the Department directive entitled "Helicopter Support For Department Operations" for guidance.
      • b.the Department's Canine Unit which is available for searches. The Department directive entitled "Canine Teams" should be consulted.
      • c.additional district personnel such as gang tactical and tactical units. When available, tactical personnel will be used to assist in any systematic search for missing "high risk" subjects.
    • 6.determine if any unusual circumstances exist or any additional resources are needed for locating missing juveniles. The supervising sergeant will direct the preliminary investigator accordingly.
  • C.The district watch commander will:
    • 1.ensure that the Missing Persons Section is contacted concerning the status of missing subjects, prior to continuing or expanding investigations into the missing person's whereabouts.
    • 2.ensure the district watch commander for the on-coming watch is:
      • a.notified of any "high risk ," juvenile , or newsworthy missing persons who have not been located, and
      • b.furnished with copies of all reports pertinent to the investigation.
IV.Found Persons
  • A.Persons who fit the definition of a "found person " will be documented on a Missing/Found Person Case Report and the "FOUND" box will be checked.
  • B.When the OEMC receives a call for service for a found person, a district unit will be assigned to conduct the preliminary investigation.
  • C.When preliminary investigating officers are assigned to investigate a found person, they will:
    • 1.provide for medical attention, if needed.
    • 2.attempt to ascertain the identity of the subject. If identified, provide for the return of the subject to the responsible person having a concern for the found person. If a Department member provides transportation, a Miscellaneous Incident Exception Report will be completed; otherwise, the member will return to service by informing the OEMC dispatcher of the appropriate Miscellaneous Incident number-letter code.
    • 3.verify that the found person is not currently reported missing by contacting:
      • a.the district desk,
      • b.Missing Persons Section, and/or
      • c.Citywide 3 dispatcher.
    • 4.if the subject cannot be identified:
      • a.notify a supervisor of any found person when unusual circumstances exist,
      • b.submit a Missing/Found Person Case Report documenting all actions taken including any requests for all-call messages, flash messages and/or facsimile messages and notify Missing Persons Section Control Desk,
      • c.ensure the subject remains in the custody of district personnel until turned over to Youth Investigations Section personnel for follow-up investigation.
      • d.make a formal notification to a Citywide 3 dispatcher and request that a formal flash message be broadcast,
      • e.submit a facsimile message to the Alternate Response Section for forwarding to the Administrative Message Facsimile Network Center for distribution to all units. A full description and location where the subject was found will be provided on the facsimile message.
  • D.Members are reminded that an elderly or disabled found person may have an identification bracelet distributed through the Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons Emergency Identification Program or other social service program. In the event the found person is wearing such a bracelet, the emergency phone number identified on the bracelet will be called and a notification made.
Terry G. Hillard
Superintendent of Police
97-072 GHY
1. -
Any person previously reported missing whose whereabouts are verified.
2. -
Any person twenty-one years of age or older whose:
  • A.Whereabouts are unknown by close family members, friends, or associates; and,
  • B.Absence is unaccounted for and unusual circumstances exist surrounding the absence.
    The Intergovernmental Missing Child Recovery Act of 1984 requires that a report be taken for missing persons under 21 years of age. Department members will complete a Missing/Found Person case report for all missing persons under 21 years of age.
3. -
  • A.Missing Tender-Age Child: Any child under the age of ten whose whereabouts are unknown by a person having the responsibility for his or her welfare.
  • B.Disabled Missing: A missing person who, due to a mental and/or physical disability or senility, is an immediate danger to himself or herself or others if not located.
  • C.High-Risk Missing: As defined in the Missing Person Identification Act (50 ILCS 722/5) as a person whose whereabouts are not currently known and whose circumstances indicate that the person may be at risk of injury or death.
  • D.Catastrophe Victim: A person who cannot be located and is presumed to be injured, killed, or displaced as a result of a catastrophe.
  • E.Elderly Missing: Any missing person sixty-five years of age or older.
4. -
The Intergovernmental Missing Child Recovery Act of 1984 (325 ILCS 40/1) defines a "Missing Child" as any person under 21 years of age whose whereabouts are unknown to his or her parents or legal guardians.
5. -
An individual of any age who is found and not cognizant of his or her whereabouts and cannot make contact with a responsible person having a concern for his or her welfare. This includes persons who, due to a weakened or impaired physical or mental condition, are unable to contact a responsible person having a concern for their well being.