About 350 people are considered missing in Iowa on any given day, but most of those receive little attention from police.
The Des Moines Register investigated how missing-person cases are handled in Iowa and identified several concerns about the system.
Although every missing-person case could have a tragic ending, most are resolved simply when a runaway child returns home or an adult who left intentionally is found.
Gerard Meyers with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says it's a challenge for law enforcement to stay vigilant about these cases.
The Register found that many cases are largely ignored as runaways and the missing-person database is often outdated and lacks detailed descriptions and photographs. Some police departments do little follow-up.