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Missing persons

It is not a crime to be missing. Adults can choose to leave home and cut off all contact with friends and family. This means law enforcement is limited in what it can do in these situations. Even if law enforcement locates a missing person, they cannot divulge any information about that person without specific permission from that person.

Remember: There is no 24-hour waiting period to report a person as missing.

If there is some indication of foul play, contact police immediately at 9-1-1. If foul play is not suspected, contact the Missing Persons Unit at 204-986-6250 and provide the following information:

Missing children (under 18 years of age)

  • Information about the child’s school and teachers and whether or not the school was contacted and checked.
  • A current photo of the missing child. This may be used by police when issuing a media release and helps officers identify the missing person.
  • A description of the child, including date of birth, age, physical description and clothing worn when last seen.
  • The time and place where the missing person was last seen and by whom.
  • The names, addresses and phone numbers of friends and whether or not they have been checked prior to reporting the person missing.
  • A list of possible hangouts or locations that the child may have gone and whether or not these locations have been checked.
  • If the missing person requires any medications:
    o Find out if they have the medications with them.
    o How often they need to take the medication.

Adults (18 years of age and older)

  • A current photo of the missing person. This may be used by police when issuing a media release and helps officers identify the missing person.
  • A description of the person including date of birth, age, physical description and clothing worn when last seen.
  • The names, addresses and phone numbers of friends and whether or not they have been checked prior to reporting the person missing.
  • Check all hospitals prior to contacting police.
  • A list of possible hangouts or locations that the adult may have gone and whether or not these locations have been checked.
  • If the missing person requires any medications:
    • Find out if they have the medications with them.
    • How often they need to take the medication.
  • Ensure the missing person is not at work prior to contacting police.

Endangered missing persons

The Missing Persons Unit classifies some incidents involving missing persons as Endangered Missing Person incidents. An Endangered Missing Person is defined as:

  • A person who is reported to possess a physical or mental disability.
  • A person who is elderly or very young.
  • A person who is dependant on prescription medications.
  • A person who is unfamiliar with the city.

Persons reported to engage in a high-risk lifestyle or those associated with violent behaviour are also considered endangered. The perceived risk to a missing person can also be elevated through environmental conditions.

A risk assessment is conducted on every reported missing person and, if the assessment dictates, a uniform car will be dispatched to begin the investigation. Depending on the circumstances, members of the Missing Persons Unit may be called upon to assist or lead the investigation.

Support missing children and their families

Most of the persons reported missing are under 18 years of age There are resources you can access to help you prevent a child from going missing as well as resources to help you locate a loved one.  

MissingKids.ca is Canada's missing children resource centre. A program of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, MissingKids.ca offers resources, support, and educational materials aimed at locating missing children and preventing children from going missing. MissingKids.ca offers various services to families of missing children. The Winnipeg Police Service utilizes their assistance when investigating missing children.

Other resources

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