Below is a list of acronyms and terms you may come across in some missing persons cases.
ACIM – A Child is Missing Alert
Age-progression – A usually computerized image showing how a person missing for a great length of time may look today. Sometimes abbreviated as “AP”.
Alzheimer’s – Alzheimer’s disease (AD), is one form of dementia that gradually gets worse over time. It affects memory, thinking, and behavior.
Amber Alert – America’s Missing: Broadcasting Emergency Response. Alerts regarding a missing child. Named for Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas in 1996.
AMW – America’s Most Wanted. A television program hosted by John Walsh which features stories on missing persons.
Autism – A disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication, and by restricted, repetitive or stereotyped behavior.
Billy’s Law – AKA Help Find the Missing Act. Legislation to help families of the missing find justice by ensuring funding for the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs).
BOLO – Be on the Lookout
CAE – Child Abduction Emergency. Same as “Amber Alert”.
CARD – Child Abduction Rapid Deployment. CARD Teams are comprised of experienced personnel with a proven track record in violent crimes against children investigations, especially cases where a child has been abducted by someone other than a family member.
CERT – Community Emergency Response Team
CFSI – Center for Search and Investigation. A non-profit group that does missing child discovery work.
CJIS – Criminal Justice Information Services Division
Code Adam – Missing child safety program primarily implemented by retail stores. Named in memory of Adam Walsh, the 6-year-old son of John Walsh (the host of America’s Most Wanted.). Adam was abducted from a Sears department store in Florida in 1981 and was later found murdered.
Code Red – A mass notification system that can be used to send text or voice messages to cell phones or land lines. It is used for community emergencies, including evacuation notices and missing persons alerts. It pulls numbers from 411 and 911 databases to send thousands of text and voice messages within minutes.
CODIS – Combined DNA Index System – CODIS Unit manages exchange and comparison of forensic DNA evidence from violent crime investigations.
DART – Drowning Accident Rescue Team
DCF – Department of Children & Families
Dementia – A serious loss of global cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person, beyond what might be expected from normal ageing. It may be static, the result of a unique global brain injury, or progressive, resulting in long-term decline due to damage or disease in the body.
EMD – Missing person category: Disability. Used to populate NCIC Missing Person File.
EME – Missing person category: Endangered. Used to populate NCIC Missing Person File.
EMI – Missing person category: Involuntary. Used to populate NCIC Missing Person File.
EMJ – Missing person category: Juvenile. Used to populate NCIC Missing Person File.
EMO – Missing person category: Other. Used to populate NCIC Missing Person File.
EMV – Missing person category: Catastrophe Victim. Used to populate NCIC Missing Person File.
Endangered Missing – Description used when a person disappears under suspicious circumstances, or has a condition which may endanger their welfare, or when someone is believed to be in danger.
Endangered Runaway – Description used when a child leaves home voluntarily. Due to their minor status, they are also considered endangered.
Family Abduction – Description used when a child has been known to have been taken by a non-custodial family member. The vast majority of these cases involve parents, although other family may be involved.
FSU – Forensic Services Unit. The FSU provides training and investigative support to resolve missing person and unidentified decedent cases across the United States.
Gold Alert – Alert in which law enforcement agencies notify the news media about adults who go missing, to also utilize variable-message signs along state highways (Delaware).
Golden Alert – The “Golden Alert” system in Kentucky works for adults in much the same way as Amber Alerts work for missing children.
Involuntary – Description used for the adult version of Non-Family Abduction. Used when an adult is believed to have been taken against their will.
IPKCA – The International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act (IPKCA) of 1993. A criminal arrest warrant can be issued for a parent who takes a juvenile under 16 outside of the U.S. without the other custodial parent’s permission.
Levi’s Call – Georgia’s Ambert Alert named after Levi Frady who was abducted and murdered in 1997.
Lost/Injured Missing – This is also called Catastrophe. Description used when someone is injured and missing because of that condition, lost due to some sort of natural disaster, or lost in a situation where it is likely an accident occurred.
Mattie’s Call – Alert system to locate missing elderly, or otherwise disabled persons. Named for Atlanta, Georgia area resident Mattie Moore who went missing from her home in 2004. Ms. Moore had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
MEPA – Missing and Endangered Person Advisory. Alert program designed to provide Montana agencies another option to respond to missing person cases they typically deal with. MEPA can be used in situations that do not meet AMBER Alert criteria.
Missing – Description usually used in cases where adults have vanished and there is no evidence of foul play.
MPC – Missing Person Circumstances. Optional field when populating NCIC Missing Person Field.
MUPS – Missing and Unidentified Persons System (California)
NAMI – National Alliance on Mental Illness
NCIC – National Crime Information Center
NCIP – National Child Identification Program
NCMEC – National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Nixle – A private company that helps governments, law enforcement and schools to send emails or text alerts to subscribers.
Non-Family Abduction – Description used when a child is taken by a non-family member.
Operation Return Home – Louisville, KY based program that helps police find missing children and adults. Program has more lenient criteria and faster notifications than Amber Alerts.
Project Lifesaver – Project Lifesaver is for adults and children who are prone to wandering due to disorders. Participants are outfitted with a tamper-proof and waterproof bracelet that emits a unique radio frequency every second.
SARAA – St. Louis Area Regional A.M.B.E.R. Alert
Schizophrenia – A mental disorder characterized by a breakdown of thought processes and by a deficit of typical emotional responses. Common symptoms include auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social or occupational dysfunction.
Silver Alert – Alert regarding missing person, especially seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, or other mental disabilities.
TES – Texas EquuSearch – A search and rescue organization dedicated to searching for missing persons. It has increasingly become involved in high-profile abduction cases, including that of Natalee Holloway, working through local law enforcement agencies.
UFAP – Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution – Parental Kidnapping. When criminal charges are filed by a state that requests our help, a criminal arrest warrant can be issued for an abducting parent who flees across state lines or internationally.