Recently a runaway who’d been gone for quite a long time was listed by the NCMEC as found safe. I knew this teenager’s mother had set up a Facebook about the disappearance, so I went there for details. It seems the runaway was arrested for something or other in a city hundreds of miles from home, then released, and the mom only found out about this after the fact and still has no idea where her child is now. But the runaway was located, briefly, and identity verified before they vanished again. Since this person is now over 18, the police had no obligation to hold them any longer than necessary or notify the parents — in fact, doing so would probably be illegal. So, even though the runaway’s parents have no idea where their kid is, and the police don’t know either since the now-18-year-old was released from jail, they are no longer “missing.”
It seems quite unfair and I don’t blame the mom for being distressed. But I don’t see any other way to handle the situation.