Tips for Locating Your Runaway

Make a list of all friends, associates and classmates, and start calling.

  • Who is the boyfriend / girlfriend and where do they live?
  • This lets your runaway know that you are hot on their trail and are serious about finding them.
  • Last names, phone numbers and addresses are a great help if you have something you would like the investigator to help with.
  • Many runaways have been trained by other runaways and will tell your child to take date books and photos with them or destroy them.
  • The runaway may clear all telephone numbers from a cellular telephone databank so that you won't call their friends.

Keep track of who you have contacted, what they told you and when.

  • Your runaway's friends will often hide the truth from you and investigators.
  • Document the names of the parents and tell the parents that you absolutely do not give permission for your runaway to stay or live anywhere except home.
  • Because running away is not a crime, court orders for cellular telephone records cannot be obtained. If the cellular telephone that your runaway might be using is in your name, you can get the call records without a court order.

Consider *57.

  • If your child calls home, you can dial *57. This is an actual trace done by the telephone company. There is a small fee for each *57. (Approx. $2.00 per each trace request)
  • After the call, hang up and immediately get a new dial tone before any other incoming calls and dial *57. Stay on the line and wait for the 1-800 number that you will receive from a message machine.
  • Document the date, time and telephone number that you used. This may not work on incoming cellular telephone calls.
  • Call the investigator with the information. The information can only be released to a law enforcement agency and it requires a police PIN number and an active case number.
  • Not all traces are successful. From some cordless telephone or rotary dial telephones use *1157

List all of the "hang outs" and activities of your child.

  • You may know of several and the runaway's friends may give you more.
  • Let the investigator know if the runaway has used or is using drugs.
  • List what the runaway enjoys doing in his/her spare time.
  • Has the runaway talked about places where they had fun?

List what the runaway took with them.

  • How many changes of clothing?
  • Any food or money taken?
  • Cellular telephone or pager with your child?
  • Make-up or toys missing
  • (CD player, video game systems, skateboard, bicycle, etc.)

Check telephone, computer / Internet access.

  • Check the computer history. You may find that a bus ticket was purchased.
  • Search for e-mail to friends and messages about running away.
  • Check your long distance telephone log.

Check with the school and any employers.

  • The school will be glad to give you an attendance history.
  • The school staff and security officers may know friends that you don't.
  • Is your runaway expecting a paycheck soon?
  • Are there work associates that you are not aware of?
  • What is the work history like
  • Unexcused absences from work?

Monitor your home.

  • Many runaways will sneak home to steal food, money and get more clothing. Many times they don't come alone.
  • Is there a way to secure your home and know if the runaway was there while you were at work or away?