The National Missing and Unidentified Persons Conference was held in Las Vegas last month to bring awareness and advocacy to missing person cases. The three-day event, hosted by the National Criminal Justice Training Center of Fox Valley Technical College, emphasized new strategies to locate missing and unidentified persons.

Training and Education About Missing Persons

The 12th annual National Missing and Unidentified Persons Conference brought together major experts from all over the United States to conduct seminars on how to properly search for and locate missing persons.

Sadly, there’s a real need for this conference. Brad Dennis, a representative for the KlaasKids Foundation, said that “Unfortunately, [missing persons] seems to be a growing issue in our country.” The conference invited representatives of various agencies, nonprofit groups, and authorities from the local to national levels.

The three-day event covered a wide range of topics that included looking for people after natural disasters, understanding the reasons why people go missing, and how to prepare for any outcome.

Other topics covered were:

  • Search and rescue in urban and rural environments
  • Human trafficking
  • Missing persons death and forensics
  • Recovery and identification
  • Missing and murdered indigenous females
  • Forgotten missing persons cases

According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons database, between 80,000-85,000 missing persons cases are active on any given day.

It Takes a Village…

It takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes one to find them. The conference brings together a number of advocates along with law enforcement and others who must work together to help find missing people.

B.J. Spamer, Executive Director with NamUs said, “Our job in NamUs is to support these agencies across the country and provide them with database technology, forensic science, investigative support to help them resolve cases.”

Heather Doto, an advocate working for the Nevada Child Seekers said that everything—and everyone, for that matter—is connected. “The point is just having all these like-minded people. All these people with hearts coming together.”

The fact that large agencies and the nonprofits that support their causes attend a conference focused entirely on one thing—locating missing persons—demonstrates a serious level of commitment.

KlaasKids Foundation’s Brad Dennis mentioned that they hope to “send a message to every single parent that has a child that could be missing that we actually care, and we are going to do something about it.”