missing person overseas

There are few feelings more unsettling than knowing that a loved one is far away and being unable to confirm their well-being. Unfortunately, this is the harrowing experience faced by many Americans when a friend, partner, or family member goes missing abroad.

There are several proactive steps that can be taken in order to find an American missing abroad, however, it also helps to understand why a missing US citizen may be beyond your reach. Not all cases in which a person falls off the grid are tragic stories—in fact, here at Lauth Missing Persons we have a 90% success rate in finding those who are lost—so there is always room for hope.

Alongside coordinating with the State Department and authorities on the ground, collaborating with a specialized international missing persons investigator can dramatically speed the process of bringing your loved one home. However, first, let’s examine some of the more common and entirely non-violent reasons why someone might be deemed a missing person abroad.

Misunderstanding or Miscommunication

In some instances, a missing person overseas may simply have miscommunicated their plans or their itinerary may have been misconstrued. A traveler on the go may fail to check messages and touch base with loved ones. This kind of loss of communication can also occur due to a drift of non-contact when a person travels abroad and decides not to return.  However, when communication is suddenly severed or behavior is uncharacteristic, it might be a call to take action.

Technological Isolation or Lost Documents 

When a traveler chooses to wander off the beaten path, barriers to communication such as a lack of phone or internet service can quickly leave their loved ones worrying. This problem can be compounded by occurrences including a lost, stolen, or broken phone and the loss of key documentation or financial resources critical to forward travel.

Mental Health 

It’s scary to imagine a friend or family member in personal crisis far from home, but it is also important to recognize that mental health can be a risk factor for going missing abroad. Here at Lauth Missing Persons, we understand how vital it is to approach each case with empathy and work closely with family and/or loved ones of any missing person to identify anything that may have contributed to an international disappearance. 

Romantic Interest or a New Relationship 

Most of us know what it feels like to get swept up in the moment when a new romantic interest arrives in our lives. It may be surprising, but a new relationship can lead to someone forgetting to check in with those who care about them most. Of course, some love interests may be cause for concern in their own right, so if communication is dropped in an out-of-character way, a swift follow-up can be the safest course of action.

Removed by a Guardian or Family Member

Whether out of the blue or following a family breakdown, it is immensely distressing for those left behind when a child is taken overseas by a parent or other guardian. In many instances, this may be considered an abduction if a child was removed from their home without the consent of all concerned parties. Under these circumstances, seeking immediate legal and investigative support is essential.

Going Off the Radar Intentionally

When we talk about a missing person abroad who has actively chosen to get off the radar, their actions will likely fall into one of three different categories. They may have chosen to run away from a safe setting, such as in the case of a runaway teen. They might be escaping an unsafe situation, such as an individual fleeing domestic violence. Or they may be absconding to avoid legal consequences having fallen foul of the authorities.

Detained by Authorities Abroad

In some cases, we uncover that an American missing abroad has been detained by local authorities. This could be because they are suspected of committing a crime or it may simply be the consequence of overstaying a visa—however, because communication is often challenging for those in detention abroad, tracking them down can be a crucial step ahead of ensuring adequate legal support.

Seeking Support When Your Loved One Goes Missing Abroad

As you can see, there are numerous reasons why a missing person overseas may become unreachable. However, until the reality of the situation is known it is completely normal to be highly concerned and want to take action urgently. If you are unsure about the status of a loved one abroad, visit the Lauth Missing Persons resources page for further guidance on the next steps that you can take right away. If you’d like assistance, an international missing persons investigator is ready to take your call.