A Missing Persons list [Download PDF] that comprises 232 people is being circulated by authorities in anticipation that some of those people are simply unaccounted for and were not swept away in the tornado, or trapped under the mountains of debris in Joplin.
Already one woman has been found — or found herself. Sally Adams, 75, checked in with authorities to let them know that it was a miscommunication that led to her as being someone thought to be missing.
Neighbors had rescued Adams Sunday after the storm destroyed her house and had taken her to a nearby home. Her relatives had called the missing persons hotline and posted Facebook messages — Adams said she lost her cell phone in the storm and had no way to contact family members.
State officials are asking Missourians to help locate friends, family and loved ones on that list.
At the urging of Gov. Nixon, the Missouri Department of Public Safety has assumed control of the process of locating unaccounted-for individuals.
DPS says an official missing persons report has been filed for each person on that list.
Law-enforcement and emergency-management personnel, State Highway Patrol troopers, State Emergency Management Agency staff, federal partners and local detectives are working under the department’s direction to find and account for everyone on the list.
“Following the Governor’s orders, we have assigned additional investigators to take and investigate official reports, to field calls, and to help locate each and every one of these individuals,” said DPS Deputy Director Andrea Spillars. “Just as all necessary resources were devoted to search and rescue efforts in the tornado’s immediate aftermath, this critical mission will have all the personnel necessary to get information to anxious families, friends and loved ones. Locating these unaccounted-for individuals is a critical priority for our department.”
Under the department’s direction, the Red Cross is also aiding in the search.
The names are being cross-referenced with all hospitals that admitted or treated patients injured during the tornado, shelters housing tornado survivors, applicants for disaster assistance and the Red Cross Safe and Well program (www.safeandwell.org).
DPS is also working with cell phone service providers to check whether cell phones have been used by those missing.
Spillars is asking the public to help reduce the list and speed the process of reuniting tornado survivors with loved one by calling the Missouri State Highway Patrol Found-Persons Hotline at 417-895-6868.
For directions on filing a report about an unaccounted-for individual, families and loved ones, call 417-659-5464.
Those in Joplin can file a report with the Highway Patrol in person at the Billingsley Student Center on the campus of Missouri Southern State University.
The list will be made available and kept updated on the Missouri Department of Public Safety’s website at www.dps.mo.gov.