Why We Exist

People go missing all the time.

  • The Wall Street Journal reported in 2012 that: “It is estimated that some 8 million children go missing around the world each year.” In 1980 it was roughly 150,000 people.
  • Of the 692,944 people reported missing in 2010, 531,928 were under the age of 18. These are our daughters and sons.
  • Every 40 seconds, a child goes missing in the United States of America.
  • Every day, over 2,500 Americans are reported missing. This includes both children and adults. This does not include Americans who have vanished in other countries, individuals who disappear and are never reported, or the homeless and their children.
  • Minorities, those who suffer from mental disorders, and substance abusers who go missing often receive little attention from authorities and little sympathy from the press or public.
  • When a child goes missing, the first 3 hours are the most crucial in finding the child safely. Approximately 76.2% of abducted children who are murdered are dead within three hours of the abduction.
  • It can take hours to get information about a missing child from a panicked parent. It can take even longer to get people in the field searching for that child.
  • In most jurisdictions, missing persons cases receive low priority. Authorities are already working homicides, robberies, rapes, assaults, traffic issues, and crime prevention.
  • Medical examiners and coroner’s offices in the U.S. hold more than 40,000 sets of unidentified remains. That number is large enough to represent a small city.
  • It is estimated that nearly 800,000 children will be reported each year in the U.S; 40,000 children go missing each year in Brazil; 50,500 in Canada; 39,000 in France; 100,000 in Germany; and 45,000 in Mexico. An estimated 230,000 children go missing in the U.K. each year, or one child every 5 minutes.
  • It is estimated that at least 8 million children worldwide go missing each year.
  • There are as many as 100,000 active missing persons cases in the U.S. at any given time.
  • In the United States alone, enough children are abducted by family members on an average day to fill a school bus every other hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Problem 1: Urgency -We don’t treat all missing persons with urgency.

Due to the rising numbers of missing persons and the fact that they often show up on their own, society often does not typically act with urgency unless there is evidence to show concern. Even though we know the first few hours are the most important, sometimes there is no activity for days.

Problem 2: Priority -The priority of missing persons is often low.

Due to the number of other types of crime, the authorities may have other priorities that pull resources. They definitely cannot commit resources 24×7 to all missing persons.

Problem 3: Scalability – Small number of OSINT specialists

While nation state agencies may have the bandwidth of rooms full of OSINT professionals, most small towns do not.

The Solution

The creator of Trace Labs recognized this growing problem and knew there were people with the skills and interest who could help. As a volunteer member of a local Search and Rescue organization and a professional in the information security industry, the creator decided to make a place where these people could come together to contribute.

First responders are doing amazing work. Search & Rescue members are volunteers who leave their own families in the middle of the night to help search for others. These people put themselves in harms way with the only reward being the satisfaction of helping others. It is time we helped them to scale by providing virtual assistance.

This is where Trace Labs comes in. Trace Labs can scale up to find key information which can then allow first responders to take constructive action.


  1. https://www.factretriever.com/missing-people-facts
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_person