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How to Volunteer for Missing Persons


Posters like the one pictured here are just one of the tools used to search for the 2,300 Americans that are reported missing each day.
Posters like the one pictured here are just one of the tools used to search for the 2,300 Americans that are reported missing each day.
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images Europe

Amy Abell is 28 years old. She's 5 feet 6 inches (1.67 meters) tall, weighs 130 pounds (59 kilograms), has curly blonde hair, blue eyes and a tattoo of a Chinese symbol on her left hip. She was last seen on Sept. 12, 2005, at her home in Baltimore. No one has heard from her since [source: National Center for Missing Adults].

Profile after profile on the National Center for Missing Adults Web site tells the same story. Kelly Allen disappeared from a friend's house in Berkley, Mo. Trevor Angell's big rig was found abandoned at a pit stop in Las Vegas [source: National Center for Missing Adults].

Stories like these have made "America's Most Wanted" one of the longest running network television shows in history. With 2,300 Americans reported missing each day, host John Walsh has plenty of cases to chase [source: Krajicek].

On any given day, there are 100,000 active missing persons cases in the United States, with 52 percent of those involving children under the age of 18 [source: National Crime Information Center]. In total, there are nearly 1 million people in the U.S. who are missing -- mostly men (55 percent) [source: National Crime Information Center].

The stereotypical kidnapping by a stranger is just that -- a stereotype. That scenario comprises only a tiny fraction of missing persons cases. More often, it is a case of mental illness, runaways or children abducted by non-custodial parents [source: National Crime Information Center].

No matter the circumstances, the statistics are enough to make anyone want to do something about it. Read on to find out which organizations are on the case.


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