We can be thankful that the vast majority of families across the United States will never have to ask what happens if an American goes missing in another country. However, for the few who suddenly find themselves staring down the barrel of this unwelcome question, the need for high-caliber information can be urgent.

Here at Lauth Missing Persons, our team is always ready to be called upon in an international missing persons investigation. When the clock is ticking to find a missing US citizen overseas, we understand that the challenges are always unique to the location and circumstances of their disappearance.

We also know that a clear outline of where to begin as a loved one of an American missing abroad is a must. With that in mind, read on for an overview of what happens when an American goes missing in another country and what you can do today to increase the probability of bringing your loved one home safely.

Understanding American Law Enforcement Jurisdiction in Missing Person Overseas Cases

It can be distressing to learn that the jurisdiction of American law enforcement to investigate international missing person cases can be limited. Local privacy laws or authorities simply unwilling to cooperate can leave our own home-grown authorities dealing with closed doors at the border and silence in response to information requests.

Each national and even local jurisdiction can mean very different circumstances on the ground for investigators of every stripe. However, as the loved one of someone who is missing abroad, you can pull out all the stops to maximize the reach of those able to assist.

If you are concerned that your loved one may be in danger, you can begin by contacting not only law enforcement agencies local to their last known location but also the nearest American Embassy or Consulate. Next, you can reach out to the State Department and, once a formal investigation is underway, you can approach Interpol and ask them to issue a Yellow Notice for the person who is missing.

Making Noise Adds Momentum to an International Missing Person Case

What do we mean by making noise? Crucially, the more eyes that encounter the news that your loved one is missing, the more likely the right connection will be forged and the more pressure will be placed on those actively investigating the case.

This can be achieved by setting up a website about your loved one’s disappearance, creating a crowd-funding campaign to support your search, sharing information on social media, and contacting media outlets both here in the United States and in the country where they went missing. It is also worth searching for independent aid organizations and other resources focused on missing persons in the relevant country.

Working With an International Missing Persons Investigator

When the situation is pressing or local authorities are being less than helpful, boots on the ground can be the most practical choice. Many family members of people who go missing abroad choose to travel to where their loved ones were last seen to do whatever they can to support a safe return. However, an expert international investigator can be a vital ally when language barriers and local legislation are making progress elusive.

If you’d like to know more about how a private investigator from Lauth Missing Persons might assist in the case of your loved one missing abroad, explore our process and services further or reach out today for a no-obligation conversation. We approach each unique case with empathy and will provide simple advice on the options available to you at this difficult time.