Why do people go missing in New Jersey?
You might be very surprised to learn hundreds, and sometimes thousands of people go missing in New Jersey every year.
Most are quickly located, but sometimes individuals may drop out of sight for weeks, months or years. In some cases, they are never found.
According to Sgt. Jeff Flynn of the New Jersey State Police, no one really knows how many people in the Garden state go missing because in the vast majority of cases local police handle the case disappearance, and only rarely will county authorities, the State Police Missing Persons Unit or the FBI get involved.
Flynn said the State Police Missing Persons Unit may join a local investigation if there is something suspicious or odd about a particular disappearance. They will also responsible for handling most of the cold cases throughout the state as well.
The reasons that people go missing can vary.
“People of all ages go missing. Oftentimes, it’ll be elderly adults suffering from dementia. It could also be adults with mental disabilities. There are other circumstances where there are individuals involved with drugs,” Flynn said.
In the cases of addiction, Flynn said many times loved ones will call authorities after not hearing from the person for days and tell them they're concerned because the person suffers from an addiction and they're hoping to find them before something bad occurs.
Flynn said it's rare for people to go missing because they're mixed up with criminals and they get bumped off.
“I wouldn’t say that’s typical. It does happen, but it’s not typical,” Flynn said.
What should you do if someone you know goes missing?
Flynn stressed that people must take action right away.
“There’s no minimum or maximum requirement for someone to wait if you feel your loved one is missing. You should report it to your local police immediately,” Flynn said.
In addition to keeping an online file of hundreds of people who have gone missing, the New Jersey State Police has also posted information about hundreds of unidentified bodies of individuals found all over the Garden State over the past few decades.