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Missing Persons Policy

Missing Persons Policy

The term ‘missing student’ is defined as any Bethel University student residing in an on-campus student housing facility who is reported missing from his or her residence for 24 hours.

Report a Missing Person

To report a missing person, call any or all of the following:

Department of Safety and Security
(731) 415-7599

Housing Director
(731) 352-4096

McKenzie Police Department
(731) 352-2265

Official Policy

Whenever a Bethel University student is believed missing, the University will initiate Bethel University Department of Campus Security and Safety Missing and Unidentified Person Protocol to locate him or her or to determine why the student has not been seen. Students are under no obligation to notify the University of plans to spend time away from their residences; however, if circumstances indicate that an investigation is warranted, concerned parties should contact the Department of Safety and Security. 

Upon notification, Campus Security will make inquiries within the University and beyond. If the University determines that the circumstances of the missing student require a police investigation, Security will notify the McKenzie Police Department. If the police determine that the student should be classified as a missing person, they will initiate their own investigation. The University will support the investigation by providing whatever technical support is appropriate, including notices, photos, schedules, and any other information relevant to the search for the missing student.

Policy Attributes

This policy only pertains to the McKenzie Campus as there are no student housing facilities at any satellite campus sites.

  • Although 'missing student' generally refers to a student missing for 24 hours, if circumstances warrant a faster implementation, the department will initiate the procedures in less than 24 hours.
  • It shall be the policy of this department to thoroughly investigate all reports of missing persons. Additionally, this department holds that every person reported as missing will be considered at risk until significant information to the contrary is confirmed.
  • In an effort to avoid jurisdictional conflicts, when an off-campus, on-campus, or commuter is reported missing to Campus Security, immediate notification will be made to the appropriate jurisdiction. The Department of Safety and Security will assist external authorities with these investigations as needed or become primary jurisdiction if requested.
  • This policy was developed based on recommendations provided by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) “Model Policy;” 2006.

Missing Child Policy

Questions concerning parental custody occasionally arise in relation to missing-child reports. It shall be the policy of this agency to accept the report of a missing child even if custody has not been formally established. Reporting parties shall be encouraged to obtain legal custody as soon as possible; however, since the safety of the missing child/children is paramount, members of this agency will open a case when it can be shown that the child is missing, without explanation, from his or her usual place of residence.

Contact Procedure for a Missing Student

Contact Person: 

  • All students residing in an on-campus student housing facility have the option of identifying a Contact Person or Persons whom the University will notify if the student is determined missing by the Department of Safety and Security or the local law enforcement agency. The contact information will be confidential, accessible only to authorized campus officials and law enforcement, and may not be disclosed outside a missing person investigation.
  • Procedures for registering this contact information will be made available by the Housing Department and recorded on the housing card each semester. This confidential information will be used only if a person is reported missing.

When a student who resides in an on-campus student housing facility is determined to have been missing for 24 hours, the University will:

  • Notify a contact person if the student has designated one, within 24 hours.
  • Notify the student’s custodial parent, guardian, or any other designated contact person within 24 hours if the student is under 18 years of age and is not emancipated.
  • Inform the local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction in the area that the student is missing within 24 hours, even if the student has no contact person listed.