Missing Person and Runaways

We understand that having a loved one go missing can be extremely overwhelming. There is no easy way to go through the disappearance of a loved one. Here are some FAQs, tips, and resources to help navigate this traumatic time.

  1. Missing Persons
  1. Definition
  2. Is it a criminal offense?
  3. What to do Next

A missing child or adult will be considered "at-risk" when one or more of the following factors exists:

  • A missing child is 13 years of age or younger (National Child Search Assistance Act)
  • Out of the safety zone for his/her age, developmental stage, or mental and physical condition
  • Diminished mental capacity or suicidal tendencies
  • Prescription drug-dependent - requires life or health-sustaining medications
  • A potential victim of foul play or sexual exploitation
  • In a life-threatening situation
  • Absent from home for more than 8 hours before being reported to law enforcement as missing (missing for 8 hours is not a requirement for reporting)
  • This includes cases where the parent, guardian, or designated caretaker delays reporting the child as missing for 8 hours or more
  • Believed to be with juveniles/adults who could endanger his or her welfare
  • Is absent under circumstances inconsistent with established patterns of behavior, and/or whose disappearance involves circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to conclude that the child should be considered "at-risk"

  1. Runaways
  1. Definition
  2. Is It A Criminal Offense?
  3. What to Do Next

Individuals under 18-years-of-age who run away from their parents or guardians are considered runaways. Runaways are not considered to have committed a criminal offense in the State of Colorado. When the JCSO is notified of a runaway, a report is completed and the information is entered into both the Colorado and National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer systems.

Any deputy who comes into contact with runaway juveniles will be able to check the juvenile’s status through the NCIC information systems. Deputies making contact with reported runaways will take the juveniles into temporary custody, and will notify the parents or guardians.

  1. FAQs
  2. Resource Links
  3. Self Care

Can I report someone as missing to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office?

  • Yes. If you would like to report someone as missing, you must contact the law enforcement agency where your loved one resides. The JCSO has jurisdiction in unincorporated Jefferson County in Colorado.
  • Once local law enforcement has been notified, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Missing Persons Unit can become involved. CBI assists local law enforcement and other partner organizations in locating and recovering missing children and adults. Per CRS §24-33.5-412, CBI manages the Missing Person Alert Program and functions as the clearinghouse for the state.

 When or why does the JCSO use social media for a missing person?

  • We take all factors into consideration on a case-by-case scenario. Some of the factors are:
    • Are they an at-risk individual? (See definition above under "Missing Persons" tab.)
    • Severe weather
    • Qualifies as an Amber or Silver Alert
  • If a missing juvenile is posted on the JCSO’s social media sites, his or her photo will be removed from social media once he or she is located.

 For missing person cases, what does the JCSO do to follow up on an open case?

  • After the initial report, the reporting deputy will have information entered into both the Colorado and National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer systems.
  • After the initial investigation and all leads have been exhausted, the case will remain in open status. As new leads or new information is brought to our attention, the JCSO will follow up.

Is a missing person a status offense?

  • No. Although being a missing person or runaway is not illegal, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office takes these cases seriously and works for and wants the best outcome for each case.