Ethical challenges in missing persons investigations

Joyce Kim, Jackie Leach Scully, Sara Katsanis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Ethical challenges arise in the investigations of missing persons cases from the prioritization of casework to the management of privacy of individual families. Cultural differences may affect how an investigation should be handled, and secrets may be revealed without careful navigation of the information supplied and discovered during an investigation. Out of respect for a family missing their loved one, investigators attempt to maintain open communication, but must limit information that would compromise the investigation. Modern surveillance tools may aid future missing persons investigations but social norms and legal constraints should dictate whether and how to implement such tools to the benefit of society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Missing Persons
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9783319401997
ISBN (Print)9783319401973
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Cultural differences
  • Ethical challenges
  • Ethics of missing persons investigations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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