By Michael Kersnovske.
Edited for online by Thomas Brakstad.
The reappearance of three missing women in the USA has renewed hope for many Australia families who are currently missing loved ones.
In Australia, more that 35,000 people go missing every year, with a large number left unfound.
Every 15 minutes someone goes missing in Australia, but in 85 per cent of the cases they return home within a week of being reported missing.
Rebecca Kotz, spokesperson for the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre, says one missing person is one too many.
“We find 99.5 per cent of those people, the 0.5 per cent that’s left over equates to about 160 people per year which in the western world is a very small percentage,” she says.
She says Australia has some of the lowest rates of missing persons in the first world and encourages people to report suspicions early.
“If you have ever got a fear for the safety and well being of a loved one, go straight to your local state and territory police and report them missing,” she says.
“Don’t ever think you are wasting police resources because the sooner they get on to a case, the more likely they are to return that person safe and well.”
Lyndal Barker, director of the Salvation Army’s Family Tracing service, says every missing person’s case is different and most of them are to do with disagreement or relationship breakdowns.
She says a lot of parents blame themselves when their child goes missing.
Ms Barker says the events in the United States will give hope to any family missing a loved one.
“It will just open the doors and a light comes on because while there’s life and you don’t know, you always believe in the hope that they would be found,” she says.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of someone who is missing should call Crime Stoppers.