Determining a missing persons case

Law enforcement agencies are currently investigating hundreds of missing people in Arkansas.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Law enforcement agencies are currently investigating hundreds of missing people in Arkansas.

In Hot Springs Village, police say a body found in the Ouachita National Forest last Saturday is missing dispatcher Dawna Natzke. In Faulkner County, a hunter found bones that may have solved the missing person case of Christopher Jones. In Hot Springs, police are searching for 42-year-old Larry Funderburg and 48-year-old Rita Woodall who disappeared Christmas Day.

Lt. Carl Minden with the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department says when it comes to missing person cases, each agency handles them differently.

"If you want to disappear, there's nothing anyone can do about it. Your family, friends, and loved ones can report you missing, but technically no law has been violated."

Lt. Minden says most missing persons are juvenile run-a-ways or adults where foul play is involved. That's why he says it's so important to report as much information as quickly as possible.

"People think you have to wait a certain amount of time or they don't want to bother law enforcement, but you're not bothering us. It's our job, and that's what we're here for."

Lt. Minden says the hardest part of locating a missing person is knowing where to start looking.

"It is not the easiest thing. It's literally a lot of times a needle in a haystack."

With so many factors and no set rules to determine if a person is missing, Lt. Minden says the quicker they can get out looking, the quicker they can find them.

"The longer it takes for us to find them usually is not a good outcome."

Lt. Minden says law enforcement agencies consider photographs to be the most important tool in missing person cases. They can take that picture plus information about the person and enter it into a state and national database.

Missing persons are classified into categories to help police figure out if a person is really missing and in danger or just doesn't want to be found.
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