People often ask how, when and why Texas EquuSearch conducts searches for missing people.

When we start the actual search depends on many things. Before Texas EquuSearch will enter a missing person case, the missing persons family must have already filed (documented) a missing person report with the law enforcement agency in the city where the missing person was last seen. So if you have a family member that is missing, your first step should be to contact local law enforcement.

After filing a missing person report with law enforcement, the family representative should then contact Texas EquuSearch. One of our Search Coordinators will then gather information from the family representative regarding the circumstances surrounding the missing person’s disappearance.

Prior to your conversation with our Search Coordinator you should have the following items:
• An accurate description of the missing person
• A recent photo
• The law enforcement agency’s case number, the investigator’s name & phone number.

We will then evaluate whether our resources can be of any success in locating the missing person. Texas EquuSearch will then contact the investigator to determine whether our team, and/or resources can be of assistance in the missing person case. Texas EquuSearch must have approval of the law enforcement investigator before we will actively enter a missing person case.


Texas EquuSearch does not charge any family for conducting a search. Texas EquuSearch is a volunteer organization funded solely through private donations. Our ability to conduct a search depends on the availability of our volunteers, and the amount of financial resources we have at our disposal at the time of need.

There are multiple reasons as to why we search for a missing person. But we guess the biggest reason is because the person is missing, and possibly endangered, or in many cases, likely deceased. Another reason is that in most cases, the missing person’s family is distressed, and has requested our help.

Special Needs Patients: Many missing persons have mental disabilities that won’t allow them to make rational or logical decisions, so it is urgent to locate those people safely. We are able to bring many home safely, such as in the case of missing Dementia patient, George Breaux.

Foul Play: Law enforcement agencies frequently contact Texas EquuSearch for assistance in locating victims of foul play. When we find one of these victims, the family members can get a lot of answers about the disappearance, and investigators can use evidence to widen and pursue charges against a killer.

While the Texas EquuSearch team is searching for a missing person, it also gives the investigator the time to concentrate on the case and conduct a more thorough investigation. It also gives the missing person’s family some type of comfort in knowing that everything possible is being done to find their loved one.

When we activate a search depends on the circumstances surrounding the missing person’s case. But it is important to remember that we always require authorization from law enforcement investigators before we will enter any missing person case. If a person disappears while driving a vehicle, we won’t normally begin an active search until the vehicle is located. But if law enforcement investigators obtain information that the vehicle might possibly be in a specific area, they might request Texas EquuSearch to activate our team, and search that specific area. We will respond quickly for any missing child if we obtain authorization from law enforcement investors. However, we do not accept cases for “runaways” unless law enforcement contacts us, and specifically requests our help. If the missing child’s parents can provide documentation that the missing child is a “Special Needs” child … and law enforcement authorizes us to conduct a search, we will do so. When an person with Alzheimer’s, Autism, mental retardation or other similar ailment is reported missing, we will try to activate a search as quickly as possible, because in many cases the person has a child-like mentality, and can’t make rational or logical decisions like other people. In many ways, it’s much like they are a lost child. We also try to respond as quickly as possible to drowning victims, especially if they are in a body of water with currents that can easily move the drowning victim to another area or further downstream. We do search for many people that might possibly be the victims of foul play, but only after law enforcement officers either requests our help, or gives Texas EquuSearch their approval to enter the case and conduct a search. In many cases, investigators may postpone their approval for several days, and rightfully so. That’s because the investigators are following-up on multiple leads, waiting for the findings of tests on crime scene evidence, interviewing witnesses, getting subpoenas, awaiting the results of phone records and much more. Only on a television program will you see a foul play related missing person case be solved — in one hour.

Texas EquuSearch will do whatever it can to find a missing person, but will not search for any person that has disappeared of their “own free will” or by their own choice. One thing that slows our response and the search activation on a missing person … is when we learn the missing person’s family and friends have not been truthful with us, or that they have withheld important information, or they have avoided or chose not to tell us about circumstances leading up-to or surrounding the missing person’s disappearance. They don’t realize that sooner or later, we will learn the truth.

How we conduct a search depends on the type of case, circumstances involved in the disappearance, the terrain and environment in the area to be searched, weather conditions and many other factors.

How and where the missing person disappeared from will influence whether we will need to search with the sonar boat, an un-manned aircraft, foot searchers, ATVs, horses, helicopter or other resources.

Naturally we want to find the missing person quickly and safely. But the are many elements that will determine the length of time before a search is suspended or cancelled. The missing person’s mobility, the environment where they disappeared, severity of their illness, age, the missing person’s background & history, access to public transportation, circumstances surrounding the disappearance and many other factors are used to determine the length of time that we will actively search for a missing person. We will continue to search for a missing person — as long as we have a reasonable expectation, or a good reason to believe that the missing person would be found during a continued search of that specific area. We will also continue searching wherever specific information may lead us – within reason, and if the information is plausible, and has a significant likelihood of the missing person being found there. However, just because a person disappears from an certain area, doesn’t mean they will stay in that area … or be found anywhere near where they disappeared. Many missing person’s families criticize investigators for various reasons. Many families claim that investigators aren’t moving fast enough, or doing enough to find their missing loved one. But the investigators constantly use their training, technology and investigative skills to successfully track & locate several thousands of missing persons each year.

Related: How to file a missing person’s report