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Missing Persons

The San Diego Police Department recognizes that not being able to locate a family member or loved one can be an extremely stressful and fearful experience.  Statistically, most missing people return home or contact their family or friends within a few days. However, SDPD's Missing Persons Unit is available to take the necessary investigative steps to reunite individuals as quickly as possible. 

Report a Missing Person

Call 9-1-1 if the missing person is a child under the age of 12 or if the person is missing under suspicious circumstances.

Otherwise, call 619-531-2000 to report a missing person.

Be prepared to provide their name, date of birth or age, physical description, medical information, circumstances surrounding their disappearance, and a current photograph if available.

While we will take a missing persons for someone who has gone missing in Mexico, SDPD does not have jurisdiction in Mexico. It is recommended to contact the local law enforcement agency in Mexico. If the person is a U.S. Citizen, you can contact the U.S. Consulate General Tijuana for additional assistance.

What to Expect

It's important to know that it is not a crime to be a missing person. In general, if the missing person is not the victim of a crime or a suspect in a crime, there are limits to our ability to locate them. 

We will conduct follow-up and try to locate the missing person. Once they are located, we will encourage them to make contact with the reporting party, however, they may request that we not disclose their location. In that case, we will notify you they have been located and are safe.

Things to Know

When Can I Report Someone Missing?

Contrary to popular belief you do not need to wait a specific period of time before reporting a person missing. 

What Can I Do To Help?

While our teams are doing their work, you can help by: 

  • Contacting local hospitals and homeless shelters
  • Contacting local jails
  • Contacting the Medical Examiner’s Office

Who Will Investigate The Case?

The age of the missing person determines who investigates the case. All adult missing persons are investigated by the Adult Missing Persons Unit.  Juvenile missing persons are investigated by the Juvenile Services Team at your police station

What Is Considered At-Risk?

Some of the following reasons will be considered when evaluating whether an individual is considered "at-risk": if the person is a victim of a crime or foul play, in need of medical attention, has no pattern of running away or disappearing, if the person is a victim of a parental abduction/kidnapping, mentally impaired, or is a danger to themselves or others.


Based on the length of time a person is missing, there are additional resources available that the investigator will provide once assigned to a case.  These include the following: