According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, a national database for missing people, there are as many as 90,000 missing people in the U.S. at any given time. Sixty percent of these individuals are adults over the age of 18, while 40 percent are juveniles.
With approximately 750,000 cases of missing people reported by loved ones each year, it's apparent that missing persons cases are not isolated. People go missing every day for a wide variety of reasons. In the state of New Jersey alone, there are thousands of cases, which you can view on the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons List.
Because of the way the media portrays missing persons cases, our minds often jump to the very worst: kidnappings, murders or abuse. While some missing persons cases in NJ do unfortunately end up this way, there are many other reasons why people, mainly adults, go missing.
Let's take a look at some of the most common reasons why adults go missing from their loved ones.
Deliberate Disappearance. These disappearances include people who are experiencing overwhelming circumstances such as financial troubles, legal issues or family break-ups. They choose to disappear to escape the situation. Other times, people deliberately go missing to start a new life elsewhere.
Unintentional Disappearance. Unlike individuals who choose to go missing, there are some who accidentally disappear. These are people who may have cognitive problems and are prone to wandering.
Suicide. Some adults disappear with the intention of committing suicide.
Accident Victims. Sometimes people disappear from an accident caused during boating, diving, hiking and other adventurous activities.
Drifters. Drifters are people who lead transient lifestyles. They don't stay in one place too long, and they often lose contact with friends and family.
Mental Health Issues. Surprisingly, a fair amount of missing persons cases stem from an undiagnosed or untreated mental health issue, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
Addiction. Addiction is another type of brain disorder that causes people to think irrationally. Some addicts will disappear to go on binges or to find their next fix. For instance, it's common for those living in NJ to spend days or weeks in New York City where they can find more illicit substances.
Foul Play. Some disappearances are believed to be from foul play, such as homicide, kidnapping, domestic violence, human trafficking or other violent events. However, only a small portion of missing persons cases are due to foul play.
If you know of someone who has gone missing and you haven't had much cooperation from the police, your next step is to hire a private investigator.
Law enforcement in New Jersey must operate under a strict set of rules and regulations, but these same ones do not typically apply to PIs. Also, most detectives will take on any type of case, even those that have gone cold or are not really considered missing persons cases.
Private detectives are often successful at finding out more information, answering lingering questions and helping unite loved ones. If you have a family member or friend in NJ who has gone missing and you don't feel that you're getting the legal support you need, put your trust in a private investigator.