Missing schizophrenic daughter


My daughter has paranoid schizophrenia. We have a strong family history of the disorder and she had been hearing voices. She is now in her mid-20s. She has been missing now for two years. No one in the family has heard from her, I reported her to the police department as missing in her last known location. Also I’ve hired private detectives and there have not been any leads from either source. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what else I can do?


Several questions here if I may.

When did you report her missing?

What feedback have you gotten from the PI or law enforcement?

Have you contacted any local news outlets and emphasized her disorder?

I know that when a “capable” yet troubled adult goes missing they can be swept under the carpet. If you feel she is in danger keep pushing until something gives.


I hope you find her. One of my friend’s sons with SMI was missing for years and found eventually. He is back in our town and doing well.

The first link has a free downloadable booklet. I think it is this booklet that suggests sending flyers to homeless shelters; this could also be done digitally. There are a couple of registries in these links.





Thank you so much for responding. I’m sorry for the delay…I responded through my email address but it kept bouncing back. So I’m doing it through the website this time.

We first formally reported her as missing about 15 months ago to the Chicago police since Chicago was her last known address and also where she had always lived. After searching for her they decided to close the case, I think because her former boyfriend said he had spoken with her at some point, and because she left voluntarily. It now has been about 15 months since that happened. About three months later I learned online that she was picked by the Portland Oregon transit police for a fare violation and released. Since Portland has a large homeless population, I hired a PI to try to locate her but this was unsuccessful. She could be anywhere because she is an experienced traveler even with no money. We have not contacted local news because we have no idea where she could be and she is local anywhere. She left Chicago after we attempted to have her hospitalized. She had told her sister that she wanted to “live in the wild” and eat worms and insects for survival. We felt that her life was in danger because of this planned lifestyle. Unfortunately the psychiatrist did not consider this a danger and she was released, never to be heard from again, even by her closest friend whom she seemed to trust. Her former boyfriend now has not heard from her either since she left the Chicago area.

in the last few days I’ve registered her on the national missing persons registry but I don’t know if they’ll publish it yet…

Any other ideas you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again for your help.


Thank you so much. I’m sorry for the delayed response-I was having trouble figuring out how to get my emails through.
We will read these and take advantage of these suggestions. It gives us hope that your friend’s son is finally home. Did he come back on his own, and if not what method was used to find him?


The way he was found was someone who knew the family and that they were looking for him saw him in a city 500 miles away. He had also lived in a shelter about 2,000 miles away for years.

So, that was good luck that someone recognized him and was able to get word to the family quickly. The family went up there and looked for him, found him. He agreed to come home.


You might want to expand the search to include Alaska. There is a book (Into The Wild)- later made into a movie about a young man who passed away from starvation. One mom wrote a couple of years ago on the NAMI boards that her son tried to make a pilgrimage of sort to the bus in the woods where the young man had lived - Wikepedia says the bus is still there. She said her son wasn’t the first person will mental illness to try. Since your daughter is travel savvy and did make it to Portland, I thought it was worth mentioning. Hope


That’s a great idea! I’m trying to get her on the national missing persons search and if I’m successful I will request this. If I’m not successful I may hire a PI in Alaska. Thank you so much for this suggestion!


Excellent point. With paranoia while they may be in a populated place for a reason (and sometimes the reason may not be logical to us) the desire to be left alone is very strong. Our son has young children so he stays around but even now is planning on going somewhere north with little population when the time is right.


I used wonder if it does help stop the voices when my son isolates. If it did at one time, I don’t think it does anymore. My son would want to move to different towns in the early years of the illness. He believed a change of location would help.


Have you tried setting up a Facebook page for her? I was following a person who had a missing son. She’d send me fliers and I would take them to the homeless people who hang out in our town. She also had a documentary done about her and her husband looking for him in other towns amongst the homeless.


Do you know how they convinced him to go with them? My fear is that I will find her and then refuse to come.


I don’t know how that happened, just that it did. I understand your fear, but if you are in contact there may be an opening? Or if she is too paranoid to make contact, maybe alert social workers or other helpers in the community to look after her? You could let them know she has family who love her.


Keep asking questions. Also, I know of a person who probably had paranoid SZ and had disappeared for 7 years then just showed up. I have dealt with a missing loved one for 3 months. It is a terrible experience. I am so sorry you (and anyone else) is having to go through this. I hope you have a strong support system and you have to figure out how to be kind to and take care of yourself.


Bad news is that NAMUS wouldn’t post her listing without a local report. Chicago had closed her search when she was spotted in Portland, Portland wouldn’t even take a report because she is an adult and she left voluntarily, saying “she would contact you if she wanted to”. The investigator there did do a search of some type (maybe she has a small job?) and said she was in another state now. They refused to even tell me what state, although I did ask about Alaska and they said “No”. At least I feel like she may be safe. I than called her suburban town in IL where she still had her address on her IL driver’s license, who then said I had to file with MY current town. I called them , and GOOD NEWS…a very compassionate officer took the report, so hopefully NAMUS will post her report now. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Thank you SO MUCH for the resources everyone suggested. The booklet “Lost Among the Homeless” is excellent and has a missing persons checklist. I’ve been referring to this and helped me get to this point. It also has a section about “What Next” if you find them.


Wow. They don’t make it easy for you, do they? I admire your persistence. Keep it up! You will find her. Have you ever prayed to St Anthony? It’s always worked for me😊


I used suggestions in at least one of these sources named above and finally found and caught up with our missing person. It was a wild, crazy journey, and we were fortunate to have some definite “clues”, but challenging because our person would appear “normal” again when approached by police or after someone called 911 due to concern. Once hospitalized and then a surprising change of events that brought our person back to our state, and another hospitalization, I sought an emergency guardianship and removed access to funds. With the guardianship, I can say where the person lives and have him picked up if he disappears (of course, assuming he is found). One thing I have learned is that the future with MI is not predictable.


I am sorry your daughter is missing. Have you tried to post that she is missing eith a picture of her? Since it has been awhile since she left, her appearance may be altered. If she has any distinctive marks, you can post that too. If she was last seen in Portland, you can see if they have a website for missing person’s, and contact them so they can advise you better. Facebook is such a popular tool. Does she have a Facebook or social media account? Check that as well. May you find her safely.


@Auttiesvet please see the above message - i believe it’s meant for you


Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve had some clues recently. Like she;s not in Oregon but another state now. (They refuse to tell me more even though they know), I think I’m going to hire a PI. They have some pretty successful methods. If the Portland police could tell me that she’s moved, I think we may be able to locate her. Even with a local police report I’m having trouble with NAMUS…now they need “permission” from the local police. No one seems to want to help. I really don’t want to post on FB because I think she’ll run scared and go somewhere else. I hope and pray that we find her.