Concerned loved ones report one thousand two thousand missing people to the police every year. The majority are found within hours, and official disappearance reports end up making a few hundred a year. Of these, 20-40 people are missing each year.
- There are currently just over 400 missing persons in police information systems, all of whom are wanted. Some are being searched more actively, some have disappeared over the years, but of course everyone is missing the police, says Commissioner for Crime Tero Haapala from the Central Criminal Police.
Lots of younger men missing
According to the Criminal Commission, there is no typical case of disappearance. However, much of the disappearance is quickly resolved, as it may be a lost elderly person or a child who did not remember to inform their parents that they were going to a neighbor. Three-quarters of those missing are men, most younger. About five percent of those missing are children under the age of 15.
KRP Criminal Commissioner Tero Haapala. Stock Photography.
Photo: Mikko Stig / Lehtikuva
According to Haapala, there are an estimated 50 missing Finns on cruise ships and about 60 missing people abroad. In Finland, disappearances are concentrated in the Uusimaa region, as about half of all cases are reported within the province.
In addition, Finns disappear when moving in nature, so searching can be tedious.
Few end up falling victim to crime
The official notification of disappearance is usually made 1 to 3 days after the disappearance.
- In the case of an adult who has not normally returned home from work, the disappearance report may not be recorded immediately on the first night. Everyone has things that they can go to take care of or stay in the restaurant to hang out, says Haapala.
According to the Criminal Justice Commission, the majority of cases of missing children are related to a dispute between a Finnish and a foreign parent, which leads to the child being taken out of Finland without the permission of the other parent.
According to Haapala, about a couple of missing people are victims of homicide every year, and they are mostly adults.
It is difficult to lose one's will
According to the Criminal Commission, disappearing voluntarily is challenging in Finland. A fugitive to another location is usually eventually found, but in the case of adults, the police do not report their whereabouts to their loved ones if they do not so wish.
- A person is allowed to disappear of his or her own free will, and the police cannot reluctantly inform information to relatives other than that the person has been found and alive.
According to Haapala, a person looking for a new life will be able to disappear abroad more easily if the passport is valid at the time of departure.
Finding out your identity can take time
According to Haapala, the most brutal aspect of searching for the missing is preparing to identify a possible deceased. If the missing person is not found within the first days or weeks, the police will collect from relatives the information needed to identify the missing person. The most effective of these are dna, dental records and fingerprints.
- If it appears that the case is going to be a case of missing persons for a longer period of time, then we will collect this identification information. This is a good thing to mention to relatives that it won’t come as a surprise.
Cooperation with foreign police will be established if there is reason to suspect that the missing person has traveled elsewhere.
- There are even cases where a person who came from abroad is found dead in Finland, and it takes years for the identity to be found out. There are certainly similar cases in the world, ie a person who has disappeared from Finland will die abroad as if as an unknown person. There is co-operation with the police and an exchange of hallmarks, but it can still happen that the identity is not clear or it will take years.