The Missing Persons Unit is under the direction of the Homicide Unit commander and is staffed with one sergeant and four detectives. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office averages over 3,500 missing persons calls for service each year. Approximately 65% of those calls involve juveniles between the ages of 13 and 17. This same age group also constitutes the largest number of habitual runaways. Historically, a large majority of habitual runaways are located or return on their own within 10 days.
Reports of habitual runaways (when foul play is not suspected) are investigated by patrol officers for the first 10 days. If the habitual runaway is not located by patrol officers within the first 10 days, the case is referred to the Missing Persons Unit for additional follow-up by detectives.
A common misconception is that a missing persons report cannot be filed unless the person has been missing for at least 24 hours. While there is no such time limit, a report of a missing adult will only be taken if there is an indication of an accident, foul play, or unusual circumstances. Unusual circumstances can include the need for urgent medical treatment, mental incompetence, emotional instability, suicidal threats, and drug or alcohol dependency to the extent they pose a danger to themselves or others.
On average, Missing Persons detectives investigate over 1,200 cases per year, and in any given year less than 10 reports actually involve foul play.
More information is available on pages 9-11 of the 2013 Investigations and Homeland Security Departmental Report*
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office
Missing Persons Unit
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**Official crime data is released by the Uniform Crime Report (FDLE/FBI) on a semi-annual basis only. For the purposes of public education, crime incident numbers used in this document may reflect reported incidents and may differ from those appearing in the annual UCR Report.