LAKEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) — At any given moment, there are about 1,400 people reported missing in Colorado.
“At the end of August we pulled stats for all of our missing persons cases in the state and we had a total at that time of 1,437 cases so there’s a lot of them out there,” Colorado Bureau of Investigations investigator Audrey Simkins told FOX31.
Most of those people will be found within a relatively short amount of time. About 670 of those people have been missing for more than a year. About 400 of those have been missing for more than three years.
“We also have a cold case database which tracks more of those long term missing folks and there we say that a person should be missing about three years before we put it in,” Simkins said.
According to Simkins, some are on those lists by choice.
“And that’s always the risk with missing person cases. Once you’re an adult, people can be missing if they want,” she said.
However, many other people who have been reported missing are in danger. In some cases, police departments will seek the help of the public to try and find the missing party.
“Maybe it’s something unique about their situation and maybe there’s some kind of a disability at play that puts them more at risk than someone else or their age puts them more at risk,” Simkins said.
It is up to local police departments to issue their own press releases or ask CBI to issue specialized alerts for missing persons cases.
“We want to make sure we’re using it only in the most serious of cases,” Simkins said. “If you got an alert every day for 14 hundred people, people would be like I’m turning this off now and we just don’t ever want to get to that point.”
Although the public does not get an alert for each and every case, Simkins says it does not mean law enforcement is not actively working those other cases.
One tool CBI uses to continue working on leads is a special deck of playing cards featuring the names, faces and stories of 52 currently missing Coloradans. They are handed out mainly in jails and correctional facilities.
“The hope would be that somebody would play them, play with the cards and provide information,” Simkins said.
So far, the decks have not led to any cases being solved.
“I’m always hopeful that there’ll be something but I think the bigger message for me with this deck is that to the families, we haven’t forgotten about their case,” she said.