Hundreds of thousands of people go missing every year, according to FBI data. In 2020, more than 540,000 people went missing, including more than 340,000 juveniles, according to the data.
In May, the FBI conducted an internal audit of its field offices and compiled a list of 43 active missing persons cases of people under the age of 21 that the agency says need fresh leads. Some date back decades.
The agency conducted the audit around National Missing Children’s Day, May 25, as part of an annual practice of taking inventory of ongoing cases, said Siobhan Johnson, an FBI special agent and spokesperson in Chicago who provided the list to USA TODAY.
“We are just looking for fresh leads,” Johnson said, noting the list is hardly all-inclusive. “Now is a good time to start soliciting for additional information.”
Thomas Lauth, who runs a missing persons agency in Indianapolis, said the combination of factors in Petito’s case — the multiple states involved, videos of the couple arguing and a 911 call about her fiancé slapping her — made for headlines.