Missing Persons / Personas Desaparecidas

The Oxnard Police Department Missing Persons Unit is tasked with handling over 1,200 missing person (MP) cases each year, 80 percent of which involves minors.

If you cannot find your child or adult relative or friend, call the Oxnard Police Department Dispatch Center at 805-385-7740 to file a missing persons (MP) report. THERE IS NO WAITING PERIOD. You will provide detailed information on the MP such as a physical description, clothing description, associates' names, etc. The MP's information is placed on the National Crime Information Center database.

When the MP returns home or recontacts the family or friends, call the dispatcher so that an officer can do a confirmation of the MP's safe return. It should be noted that most MPs return home on their own or recontact their families and friends.

If the MP does not return home, please contact the Oxnard Police Department Missing Persons Specialist at (805) 385-7646 for follow-up investigation.

Different Ways That Minors Run Away

Runaway minors have been known to ask for rides from social media friends. Runaway minors have also been picked up by Uber drivers and Lyft drivers, even though legally both companies are not supposed to pick up unaccompanied minors. Runaway minors have ridden buses and stowed away on trains. They have also been known to fly on airplanes.

What else can I do to try to find my child?

Contact your child's friends. Please note that friends often know where your child is but will not disclose this information to "protect" your child.

If you have access to your child's phone activity, study their phone log for frequently contacted phone numbers and long phone calls, even if you took away your child's cell phone. Focus on the phone numbers that your child contacted shortly before he or she left home.

Search your child's electronic devices and bedroom (trash, between mattresses, and other hidden areas) in case they left clues. Look through the runaway's social media. Even if you did not provide your child a cell phone, your child might possess a WiFi-only phone that he or she acquired from your home (an old phone?), a friend known to the family, someone the family doesn't know (social media friend?), etc.

If neighbors have video cameras, ask to view their video footage to see if your child left in a car, walked away, etc.

Give the officer recent photographs of the child (full body and face) as they normally appear in public. (Photographs of the child dressed for a special event are not the best choice.) Please note that while the child is gone, the child might change their physical appearance such as hairstyle, hair color, length of hair, facial hair, weight, etc. Mask requirements during the pandemic made it more difficult to locate missing persons in public.

The child's family must provide the missing persons specialist with useful information that she can follow up on. If the specialist finds out private information such as a possible address or phone number of the child's friends, the specialist is unable to divulge that to the family. But she can send officers to the address to attempt to locate the child.

For more information refer to the following: https://www.missingkids.org/gethelpnow/isyourchildmissing


I believe my child was kidnapped because he/she hasn't contacted anybody. They've never done this before. Why don't you issue an Amber Alert?

The California Highway Patrol is the only agency in California that issues Amber Alerts. A missing persons case must meet all of the following strict criteria in order for an Amber Alert to be issued.

  1. It has been confirmed that an abduction has occurred or the child has been taken by anybody including, but not limited to, parents and/or guardians. (A parent's suspicion is not the same as confirmation.)

  2. The victim is 17 years of age or younger, or of proven mental or physical disability.

  3. There is reason to believe the victim is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.

  4. There is information available that, if disseminated to the general public, could assist in the safe recovery of the victim.

Please click here for more information about Amber Alerts: https://www.chp.ca.gov/news-alerts/amber-alert/amber-alert-plan

Under what circumstances does a law enforcement agency need to get a warrant? My child is missing!

A minor running away from home is not a crime. In California, a search warrant can only be issued when a felony or certain misdemeanors have been committed. A parent's suspicion of such crimes is not evidence that those crimes have been committed.

I have the MP's cell phone (or any other electronic device). I want you to track it.

Police are NOT ALLOWED to track or look at any voluntary missing person's electronic device (even for minors whose parent owns the device) due to the California Electronic Privacy Act.

The US Supreme Court found that location data more closely resembles GPS tracking which requires a warrant. Even though the information is shared with the wireless carrier, people have a right to expect that their every waking movements are not being tracked, catalogued, and shared with police. Cell phones are, at this point, an essential feature of daily life, and our “sharing” of location data with the wireless companies is necessary for them to function. Moreover, cell phones share data automatically; people do not actively click “share location data” every time they enter a new cell site. For these reasons, the Court found that people do have a reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to cell phone location information, and if the government wishes to obtain that information for use in a criminal proceeding, it must obtain a search warrant by establishing probable cause.

Can you track my loved one's debit or credit card activity? I know where they bank.

In voluntary missing persons cases, employees at financial institutions cannot divulge information about banking activity without violating privacy laws.

I know what house my child is staying. What do I do?

You can go to the home and ask the residents if your child is there. If you are not comfortable doing that, you can call 805-385-7740 and ask to meet with an officer at the home. The residents of the home have the legal right to deny entry into their home.

Runaways have been known to hide in closets, under beds, etc., of their friends' homes when the police show up. Or runaways have also escaped through a window or the backyard of a home if the police show up at a friend's house. Even if a runaway is in the home of a probationer or parolee, only the probationer's or parolee's personal area and common areas of the house are allowed to be searched. Runaways have been known to hide in other areas of the home where the police and probation or parole are not permitted to search.

My child doesn't want to go home. What can I do?

Please call Interface’s 24/7 Youth Crisis Line at (805)469-5882.

https://www.icfs.org/services/youth-crisis-homeless-services/


If you have information regarding the whereabouts of any missing persons, please call the Oxnard Police Department at (805) 385-7740

Useful Websites:

Public information about missing persons:


http://www.unclaimedpersons.org/

https://stories.usatodaynetwork.com/unclaimed/why/

https://www.namus.gov/About

https://dhs.lacounty.gov/home-public-resources-locate-deceased-persons/