Ongoing investigations consist of little more than calls to family members to determine whether the person missing has returned.While state records indicate that the vast majority of missing-person cases are resolved within a month, some Iowans have been gone months, years, even decades.
At any given time, more than 300 such cases are active across the state.
The data — compiled by the state’s Missing Person Information Clearinghouse and analyzed this summer by the Register — underscore that the cases getting the most publicity also are among the rarest.
Even a missing-person advocate empathizes with the workload police agencies face.
“We ask law enforcement to do an awful lot for us — protecting communities and responding to violent crimes …,” said Robert Lowery, a senior executive director at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
That’s because family and friends who filed the initial report don’t always contact police when that person later turns up or phones to reassure them they are OK, Meyers said.