Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Missing person- advice please

Hi All,

Quick question, my brother in-law has been suffering from schizophrenia for about 4 years now. He used to go on long walks for maybe 2 hours anytime he was having a “bad day” with his illness. For about 4 months now he’s been unusually afraid of going outside in general but as of yesterday he went for a walk and hasn’t returned yet. We are in such a panic and we have reported him as a missing person but I was just wondering has anyone else experienced this sort of behavior? Thanks in advance.

Hello Harlo, yes had missing person reports for my son many times. The police are very good with finding someone.

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Hi Harlo.Hendrix,

I have experienced this a lot with my husband, who is high-functioning yet unmedicated. He would sometimes go out late at night and not come home until later the next day. Several times he told me he drove to look at the bay and fell asleep in the car. Other times when he was on road trips by himself, his phone ran out of batteries and there was nowhere to charge it or (this happens very often with him) he dropped it and it broke so he couldn’t call.

Every time this has happened, I have worried and every time he tells me not to worry. So far, he has always been safe and eventually returned home. (Although now he has been homeless for a year so that’s another story.)

With your brother: Does he have a cell phone? If so, the police may be able to track it if he has it with him. Do you know the usual route he takes or places he likes to go? Perhaps you could ask anyone along the route if they have seen your brother.

I am hoping that he is like my husband and just wanted more time to himself. Being missing overnight is worrisome. You are doing the right thing. Let us know what’s going on.

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Oh great! That makes me hopeful, it’s been about 27 hours and he still has not returned. No cell phone, he is at the refusal stage so he doesn’t want a phone, medication, help etc. I am so worried, pacing back and forth. Thank you for the tips.

I really hope that he makes it back safe and sound, when he returns, maybe for awhile somebody could walk with him. Make sure all of the authorities are aware that he has a compromised mental status.

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My daughter disappeared a few times, once for three weeks, until her money ran out and she pulled a suitcase behind her walking back home.

It is very stressful. I hope you get some good news soon.

Persons with SMI can be amazingly resilient. However, we have every reason to worry about their vulnerability and their safety. You did the right thing to report him missing. However, in my experience, if the police find him and he doesn’t want to come home, they have no obligation to even tell you, unless you have guardianship. I am hopeful that he comes home soon on his own, but there are posts on this Forum with suggestions for finding a missing person, should you need to get more aggressive in your search.


Has your brother in-law returned?

Yes, about 34 hours later and acted like it was no big deal. Thank you for asking.



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Police put out a silver alert for my son a couple of times. He was ok but needed to be found.

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There is also good information on the website