Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type

Capstone - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Nicole Frisch


With the general public’s help, the amount of time a youth is missing may lessen greatly. Bringing a youth home as soon as possible would decrease the chances of a youth encountering danger or traumatic events which could lead to emotional and mental struggles in their future. Moreover, focusing on America’s ability to rehabilitate youth who have run away and become subject to trauma is very important to creating safer communities; runaway or traumatized youth are at greater risk of chronic criminal involvement, so reducing this trauma may decrease mass incarceration and/or recidivism rates throughout the United States of America. Examining systems the United States currently has in place to increase publicity of missing children’s information and barriers the general public may have that affect their willingness to work with law enforcement is vital toward improving these investigations. This research seeks to further understand how the general public could become involved in assisting law enforcement agencies in missing children’s investigations. This research focuses on understanding how missing children investigations are conducted, identifying barriers that the general public have to working with law enforcement agencies, and how the public can become involved to expedite such investigations. Interviews with the general public, law enforcement officers, and experts who work with youth who are at risk yield recommendations for enhancing missing children investigations.