Tracing Runaway Individuals

Running away is often a way for teenagers to cope with emotional or physical abuse by their parents or other relatives. Others run away to avoid school work or a lack of employment opportunities.


Hiring a private investigator is one option that could help you locate your missing runaway. PIs are trained to find missing persons and are able to survey the situation objectively.

Cellular Telephone Call Records

Cellular telephone call records are a powerful tool in tracing runaway individuals. Depending on the phone’s settings and the service provider, call, text message and data transmissions can associate with a specific cellular tower location, thereby revealing an approximate geographic coordinate. These records are available to law enforcement without a subpoena if the person is still within the window of time that the cellular phone company keeps its records.

Likewise, a cellular phone provider can provide a “ping” of the subscriber’s location from its CDRs or pen register records (which contain information about all calls made or received), or from a tower dump, which contains identifiers for each cellular base station serving a particular area at a specified time. Such un-targeted tracking techniques are increasingly used by federal and local law enforcement, as recent news stories in the Washington Post and USA Today have highlighted.

Upon getting a call from a runaway or person demanding ransom, immediately dial *57, which will initiate a trace of the last call made to that number. This will connect you to a live operator who can retrieve the trace information for you.

Computer History

Computer history is an interesting tool in tracing runaway individuals. Computers are extremely useful tools that allow us to analyze information quickly and efficiently. However, they can also be a dangerous tool if they are misused. This paper will explore the advantages and disadvantages of using computers as a research tool in history.

In 1801 Charles Babbage conceived the idea of a programmable machine. He was the father of the modern computer.

Vannevar Bush developed the Differential Analyzer in 1930 a machine made up of vacuum tubes that switched electrical impulses to do calculations. In 1937 Howard Aiken planned to develop a machine that could conduct calculations involving large numbers. A year later he constructed the Mark I computer as a partnership with IBM and Harvard.

In the 1950’s two devices would be invented that would change computers forever. The first was the transistor which ousted the days of vacuum tubes and made computers much smaller and more energy efficient.

The second invention was the floppy disc. This was a device that allowed computers to store large amounts of data and be easily transportable. Computers were now small enough to fit on a fingernail and could be used by anyone.

School Attendance

School attendance is an important factor in a student’s academic success. Research shows that students who miss too much school have lower grades, are more likely to drop out of high school and are more likely to have trouble with the law. Chronic absenteeism is a significant predictor of negative long-term outcomes, including poor job prospects and health problems.

Most schools track average daily attendance or unexcused absences (truancy), but few collect data that identifies the combination of excused and unexcused absences for individual students. High overall school-wide averages can mask substantial numbers of chronically absent students, and most states do not make it easy for educators to see attendance data disaggregated by student populations or grade levels.

The East Greenbush Central School District, with the support of its parents and community, has launched Attendance Matters, a campaign to raise awareness about and address the issue of absenteeism in our schools. Our team regularly reviews school attendance data in order to identify students who deserve recognition for good attendance, and to create strategies for helping our most at-risk students.

Social Media

Social media is becoming a major tool for many runaway teenagers. It is possible that a missing child’s friends or classmates may “let slip” valuable information about their location. Parents are encouraged to ask these individuals if they have seen the missing child. In addition, it is important to circulate a picture of the missing person with identifying marks or clothing and last-known locations.

Social media is also an excellent tool for tracing runaway young people of color, whose disappearances are often overlooked in Amber Alert notifications. In California, a new law creates Ebony Alerts to help track these missing youth.