Tazewell Co. Deputy shares missing persons tips and procedures

Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 6:26 PM EST
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TAZEWELL, Va. (WVVA) - When a family member or loved one goes missing, the feeling of uncertainty can be overwhelming for all involved in the search. WVVA spoke with law enforcement on Friday about what the search process looks like on their end, and what family and friends can do to make sure their loved one is tracked down as soon as possible.

Captain Jonathan Hankins with the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office said the most important part is to alert police immediately when someone is missing. He added that he and other law enforcement officials would always prefer to cancel a dispatch, as opposed to getting a late start on a missing persons case.

That initial call is important, because as soon as it comes in, Cpt. Hankins said departments are able to quickly disseminate details through a number of local and national means.

“The one difference between a child and an adult is the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children,” said Cpt. Hankins. “But all missing children, or adults missing, are entered into NCIC immediately. As soon as the information is obtained they’re entered into NCIC.”

NCIC stands for the National Crime Information Center -- and while local authorities are typically the best source of knowledge on where to look off-the-bat, Cpt. Hankins added most cases can not be solved without the help of surrounding areas, agencies and the public’s assistance.

Check out the video above for more from Cpt. Hankins on what law enforcement are looking for during a search.