In the Spring, we reported on our project to build our missing persons database. Through tireless efforts from ourselves and a volunteer (thanks, Jody!) we gained some very interesting insights about the official information on the Oregon State Police missing persons list:
- Photos on the internet for those missing between 2014 and 2022 were scarce. People missing for longer periods of time were easier to find photos for.
- Even after exhaustive research, nearly 60% of those missing have no photo.
- There are cases for missing persons that aren’t actually missing:
- One person was located using online records research and was found to be living in Florida.
- One person was found to have been deceased since 2020
- Several have recently posted to their social media profiles
- One person was found to be in the Lane County Jail
- There are a handful of missing person cases found online that aren’t on OSP’s official list.
- Many people on the list appear to be fugitives from the law. In other words – wanted people.
- Some of the younger people on the list are runaways trying to escape their circumstances. They aren’t necessarily missing, but they won’t return home (some for good reason.)
In Oregon, there is never a waiting period for reporting a person missing. Furthermore, any missing person case that is filed must prompt law enforcement to begin investigating within 24 hours of filing. We have noticed that it can take up to a week for a missing person to get listed on the OSP list. For this reason, we have created a way for people to report missing persons on our site so that information can start getting out there as quickly as possible. When the OSP record gets created, it will be merged into our list.
This month, we launched our missing person ads that appear on participating sites (including ours.) These ads are the digital equivalent to a sign in the window at the corner market. They rotate randomly to provide equal exposure to all missing persons. To help with the upkeep and operating costs, these ads can be sponsored by individuals and organizations. Each ad has a small acknowledgement to the sponsor and a link back to their website. These ads receive 25,000 views (and growing) per day just on our web sites and social media posts and are a great way to show the community that you care. Sponsorship info can be found here.
The next phase of the project is to complete and launch a new website to create some separation between this work and the crime watch and mugshots that we have traditionally focused on. For this, we are looking to launch a new 501c3 non-profit organization so that we can pursue grants and donations for the ongoing funding and maintenance. This site will initially serve Lane County but will soon include other Oregon counties and if successful, we’ll take it nationwide.
This work is something that we are very passionate about doing. So much so that we’ve depleted our savings and have invested significant hours in personal time to create the system that we’ve created. We are now reach out to the community to ask for help is funding the remainder of our project so that we can continue the good work that we’ve started. Please check out and consider giving to our GoFundMe that we’ve created for this project. To see what work we’ve already done and what we have planned for the future, click here.
Please consider making a donation for this project