Missing Persons

Missing Persons

Purpose:  To provide an effective and efficient process for investigating the disappearance of a student or employee from campus, or of a resident student from a college owned residence hall;  to provide an effective and efficient process for assisting law enforcement agencies who are investigating a student or employee who has been reported missing from an off-campus location.

The Sage Colleges’ will:

1.      Inform each resident student that such student has the option to identify an individual to be contacted by the institution not later than 24 hours after the time a student is determined missing.

2.      Provide each such student a means to register confidential contact information in the event that the student is determined to be missing for a period of more than 24 hours.

3.      Advise each such student who is under 18 years of age, and not an emancipated individual, that the institution is required to notify a custodial parent or guardian not later than 24 hours after the time the student is determined to be missing.

4.      Inform each such student that the institution will notify the appropriate law enforcement agency not later than 24 hours after the time that the student is reported missing.

5.      Establish official notification procedures for a missing person who resides in on-campus housing that:

a.      includes procedures for official notification of appropriate individuals at the institution that such student has been missing for more than 24 hours

b.      requires any official missing person report relating to such student be referred immediately to the institution’s police or campus security department

c.       and if, on investigation of the official report, such department determines that the missing student has been missing for more than 24 hours, requires such department to contact the individual identified by such student

d.      if such student is under 18 years of age, and not an emancipated individual, the institution to immediately contact the custodial parent or legal guardian of such student.


A Missing Person is defined as a person who has disappeared without explanation.


It is often difficult to determine where a person is missing from.  Careful consideration must be given in determining if a person is missing from campus, from a residence hall, from an off campus residence, from a permanent residence, or from a place of employment or recreation.

The disappearance of a person may occur under a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to, abduction (by family, by romantic interest, by stranger), intentional flight or concealment (runaway), withdrawal or separation from the institution or when a person becomes lost, disoriented and unable to “find their way”.  Until proven otherwise, each case shall be treated as occurring under the most urgent circumstances.

Law enforcement agencies may have policies that do not provide for report taking when a person is first thought to be missing.  Circumstances such as age, time and place last seen, mental health and personal circumstances may affect their decision to take a report.

College students frequently reside in communal situations.  Roommates, suitemates and other residents may have privacy concerns and expectations that should be considered, when appropriate.  However, the most important concern is the safety of the missing person.

The location from where a person is missing may be a crime scene.  It should be treated as such until determined otherwise.

When a member of the college community is first reported as a Missing Person:

1.       Identify and describe the missing person as completely as possible.

First determine:


Address (campus and local)






Hair color/length


Distinctive physical attributes

Status on campus

As soon as possible, determine:


College ID

Academic schedule

Work schedule

Places frequented

Vehicle ownership/usage

Obtain photograph

2.      Contact persons who may have information, including

Parents, family

Romantic interests






Residence Life staff

Student services staff

3.      Determine where the person was last seen.

The place where a person is last scene is usually used to determine where a missing person should be reported.

4.      Determine circumstances around disappearance.

Is there a witness to a potential crime?

Has the missing person displayed concern about his/her safety?

Has the missing person been involved in a dispute with another person?

Is the missing person mentally healthy?

Is the missing person experiencing academic, personal or financial problems?

Does the missing person have an alcohol or drug dependency?

Has the missing person disappeared before?

Has the missing person left behind a communication to anyone?

Have others been reported missing in the area or under similar circumstances?

5.      Search appropriate areas.

A quick but thorough search of the entire campus, focusing on areas frequented by the missing person, should be conducted.

Attempt to locate a vehicle on campus registered to or used by the missing person.

Prepare to assist a law enforcement agency conduct a more thorough search.

Do not contaminate any potential crime scene.

Do not contaminate any source of a scent for a K9 search.

6.      Notify appropriate authorities.

Notify the appropriate campus officials.

Notify a parent, guardian or other person pre-designated by the missing person as the appropriate contact under these circumstances.  The notification should be made by an appropriate official from the institution involved and must be made no more than 24 hours from the time when a person is first known to be missing.

Notify the police department immediately when the disappearance and all of its circumstances create an articuable concern for the safety of the missing person.

7.      Cooperate with a law enforcement investigation.

Make persons available as requested.

Make information available as requested.

Provide access to campus facilities as requested.

Provide access to CCTV, building access systems, email, social networking sites and computer networks as requested.

8.      Depending on the circumstances of the disappearance and the results of the investigation, prepare:

Media statements and responses

Hospitality services for victim’s family

Counseling services for affected persons

9.       When a person reported missing returns to campus or is otherwise located:

Verify the health and welfare of the person.

Notify appropriate campus officials.

Notify investigating law enforcement agencies.

Notify the parent, guardian or other person pre-designated who was notified of the disappearance.