ITTAWAMBA COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- There are as many as 100 thousand active missing persons cases in the U.S. at any given time…
Startling statistics that, if enough time passes, don’t always have the best outcome.
In Mississippi alone there are over 100 reported missing persons cases and roughly 20 of them are from our local area.
Search parties and K-9 units – that’s how the search for a missing person begins, but as days and weeks go by leads are harder to come by..
Ittawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson has seen his fair share of cases and ones that have even gone cold. He’s currently working on one that’s pushing nine years.
“That’s one of those cases where we have people tell us 10 different stories, and we follow up with everyone of those stories… we have dug in wells all over the place… you know people say he was thrown in a well,” says Dickinson.
Unfortunately, nothing came of those leads.
“That’s a tough case when you don’t have any evidence that you can support, physically support evidence- then you can’t find that person.”
The most important component to these investigations is evidence.
“If we have something to go on and we can substantiate the leads that we’re given and it becomes evidence, we’re gonna find you. Unfortunately, if you don’t have any leads, you don’t have the evidence… you’re kind of stuck. You know we’re not gonna waste the resources that we have, but if we have a tangible reason to continue a search for someone, we’re gonna do it,” says Dickinson.
He says the majority of missing persons do not involve foul play…
“Most of the time people go missing because they want to go missing you know that’s number one gonna lead up to 75% to 80% of our missing persons cases,” says Dickinson.
And with these cases, time is of the essence.
“A few hours can make a difference in finding someone and finding them okay,” says Dickinson.
Dickinson uses every tool he can to get the word out, including the media.
He says often, if a missing persons photo airs in a newscast, they receive a call from that individual before the end of the program.