Once a missing loved one is located safely, we do all possible at LostNMissing Inc. to have the posters and photographs removed from online. However, it should be noted that many times search engines online will “cache” and keep the information and it is retrieved easily by a mere search of the person’s name. This is sometimes quite problematic as we know the importance of a located safe loved one wanting privacy following their return home.
LostNMissing, Inc., will always contact the newspapers online, that reported our cases for us, to ask if they can please remove the “missing story” and while some news outlets will comply there are many that will not remove “old stories” but will instead update with “located” information to replace the “missing” information.
Families with a missing loved one (most especially minors) should not allow “Found” to be imprinted on the previous missing poster for a number of reasons:
- It adds unnecessary further exposure of the missing when privacy and healing needs to transpire.
- For minors, it can put them at risk. What better teen to possibly abduct, exploit, or even traffic than one vulnerable? It can make them easy targets.
- Adding Found or Located, on a previous missing poster…doubles their exposure in Google caches. A few years later, this can come back to haunt them.
- A simple statement that one has been located is all that is needed.
The majority of missing, that are located safe, is due to the public making recognition, through media and social networking…so it is important. The main point in having news and media attention is to gain the public’s awareness to help find a missing loved one or to call a tip/lead if they have information or may have seen someone who has been reported missing…or to bring awareness that someone is missing so that should they cross paths they can report their sighting. This leads to the police agencies to have a target location in finding the missing person.
Fact is, media attention is the number one method to locating a missing loved one. The first priority is getting that person home safe and to deal with the removing of media postings after they are home. Our policy is to remove all possible.
LostNMissing works with many other groups and organizations who will assist us by “picking up” our missing loved ones and share on their own social network sites (which is a tremendous aid to us for their role in helping to bring awareness of the missing person) and most all have the same practice in removing posts once they receive notification that a missing person has been found.
As explained above, our experience tells us that many times (especially with teens) that whatever duress caused the person to “up and leave” also have anxiety and fears, once home safely, that they will feel embarrassed and sometimes have anxiety on how their peers will react to them “up and leaving” and the “old news” stays and haunts them. We know for the person’s emotional well-being of the importance to remove all evidence of their missing status once located safely. We also know that it is extremely difficult to be sure that ALL is removed especially when search engines may “cache” the information and it will invariably pop back up when a name is searched. We will give family instructions on how to contact Google to have it removed, but even that is not a guarantee that they will remove it.
Hopefully one day soon the search engines will have their own policies and procedures and will remove all evidence, the same.
Authored by: Cynthia L. Caron
President/Founder LostNMissing Inc.
May be shared intact as written above with author credit