Local law enforcement explain what goes into missing person investigation

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Law enforcement work around the clock to locate a missing person once a report is filed. Chief Deputy Jim Canaday with the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department said the first thing they do is try to pinpoint where the person was last seen and who was the last person to talk to them. Then, they try to learn more about the missing person.

“Try to learn about the person. What were their habits, where did they work. Did they have significant others, boyfriends girlfriends who did they hang out with,” Canaday said.

Canaday also said they have to ask hard questions to find out if they had any bad habits, like drug or alcohol abuse. During investigations, they also use online services like the National Crime Information Center, which is shared across the country with law enforcement. He said they are lucky enough to have a K9 unit that can assist with searches.

“Bloodhounds a lot of times especially, if it’s an elderly person that just walked off from the home or a child we can get a scent article,” Canaday said.

But the biggest resource they have when looking for a missing person is the public.

“It multiplies what we can do. If somebody sees this missing person in an area we don’t know to look at and they happen to call in obviously, that’s helpful,” Canaday said. “So I think the communication between community members and law enforcement in looking for a missing person is critical.”

Canaday said teamwork with the West Virginia State Police and city police departments is crucial in finding the person faster.

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