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Missing Person 101

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By Scott Hunter

December 4, 2003

Dougherty County--The ongoing search for a missing North Dakota college student continues to make national headlines.  In October  an Albany woman disappeared from her home and police pleaded for the public's help in finding her.  Right now  the G-B-I is investigating 11-missing persons cases some going back ten years. How do investigators find people who seem gone without a trace? 

  In his 19 years in law enforcement Lieutenant Craig Dodd has been involved some 100 missing person cases. "You are working backward its very similar to a homicide investigation where you are starting at Z and working your way back to A," says Dodd.

And point Z for investigators is  family, friends and co-workers. They say these people would know a missing person's  behaviors , habits and where they were last seen. 

"Because we don't know yet if there is foul play we would then obtain a search warrant for your apartment to see if there were any problems there,"says Dodd.

 When in an apartment investigators look for everything from cell phone records, drug prescriptions to computer files. 

"We will go into the computer if we can and look for any emails any correspondence with chat rooms," says Dodd

 But every case calls for different techniques.  In some cases  investigators may use web sites, traditional police searches or police snitches.

" We can use confidential informers on the street to help locate you," he says.  

The methods usually work  to help investigators close most of these, all too common cases.The Dougherty county Sheriff's Department currently has no open missing person cases. They say almost all of the cases are usually resolved within one week.

posted at 4:50PM by scott.hunter@walb.com

 

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