How to report a missing person in Virginia

Virginia has no waiting period to report missing persons

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Police are searching for Virginia Tech college student Johnny Roop after he went missing from his apartment complex on Friday.

As the search for Roop continues, 10 News is looking into what you need to know if you can’t find your loved one.

It all starts with a call, local law enforcement recommends calling 911 when you notice someone’s missing.

From there, an officer is assigned to the case.

The first steps include a well-being check at the person’s home address, talking with family and friends and checking school or work for the person.

As the search progresses, phone pings, bank accounts and ground searches may be used.

Kenny Jarels works for the AWARE Foundation. He tries to spread awareness and provide guidance for families of the missing.

“An adult goes missing that’s not under suspicious circumstances sometimes agencies will tell them that an adult can go missing if they want to, and that is true,” Jarels said. “However, if you have a family member that goes missing, report it immediately.”

Keep in mind that the state of Virginia doesn’t have a waiting period to report.

You also want to use other avenues to get the word out. Social media can be a tool.

“Although it has its downfalls, it also has a lot of positives,” Jarels said. “We’ve found that social media is very powerful when it comes to missing people.”

Jarels said that it’s clear the toll cases like Roop’s take on families, and he’s hoping he’ll be found as soon as possible.

“It’s really difficult, the not knowing is the hardest part,” Jarels said.

About the Author

Amy Cockerham joined the 10 News team in January 2023.