LANSING — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared May as Missing Persons Awareness Month highlighting the roughly 94,000 active missing persons cases across the country. In Michigan, there are roughly 3,500 to 4,000 missing persons reported to police at any given time. Of those Michigan cases, approximately one-third are children under the age of 18.
The Michigan State Police is encouraging family and friends of missing persons to attend an event geared at raising awareness and taking tips about cases, regardless of how much time has passed. Missing in Michigan 2023 will be held Thursday, May 25, from 1-4 p.m. at Madonna University in Livonia. It is a free event that is open to the public.
Attendees are encouraged to register to ensure their loved one is commemorated. A private session for family members will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and space is limited for this session. Please email MissingInMichigan@gmail.com to RSVP and reserve your seat.
“This is a wonderful way to honor the families of the missing while also bringing attention to this serious issue,” said Jolene Hardesty, MSP’s Missing Persons Coordinator. “Sharing stories and information is helpful. You never know what detail could help bring someone home.”
During Missing Persons Awareness Month, Michiganders are encouraged to seek resources and educate themselves on what to do if a loved one goes missing, including:
• Remain calm. There could be a valid reason for someone to not answer a phone call or text or show up when they planned.
• If you have sufficient reason to believe your loved one is missing and potentially in danger, contact police. Be prepared to answer basic questions about their age, physical features, time elapsed since last seen or contacted. Police may also ask more intimate questions such as medical history, including prescription or recreational drug use and mental health. Make sure you have access to a recent photograph of your loved one.
• Keep the home, living space or vehicle of a missing person untouched to preserve possible evidence. Cleaning can destroy fingerprints and DNA. Do not alter social media accounts, emails or text messages. Police also advise you to avoid sharing your personal contact information on social media as the families of missing persons are often targeted by scammers.