On Charley I’ve got six categories of missing people: runaways, family abductions, non-family abductions, missing, lost/injured missing and endangered missing. I believe missing and endangered missing are the biggest categories. Both are pretty much catch-all terms. Missing is the default category for all adults, and endangered missing for all minors (under 18). Minors become runaways, family abductions or non-family abductions if there’s evidence pointing to that cause. Adults become endangered missing if they have a medical condition and/or there’s evidence they didn’t leave on their own. Both adults and minors become lost/injured missing if it looks like they got lost in the wilderness or had an accident that caused their disappearance.

But if you wanted to be more specific, I could classify almost all of my Charley cases into these categories (with the caveat “probable” of course, since things aren’t always what they seem):

1. Homicide by spouse or relative
2. Serial killer victim
3. Homicide by lover, friend or acquaintance
4. Abduction/homicide by stranger or acquaintance
5. Abduction by relative
6. Teen runaway
7. Teen runaway who met with foul play afterward
8. Accident in wilderness area or on water
9. Suicide and body not found/identified
10. Suffers memory loss and wandered away, probably homeless if still alive
11. Sane adult running away from life problems
12. Mentally ill person wandering off or running away, possibly homeless or incarcerated if still alive
13. Simply moved on or lost touch, unaware of missing person status
14. Died of natural causes somewhere and not found/identified
15. Not enough information to form a theory

Can you think of any more?