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Said The Sun
05-10-2011, 05:18 PM
I'm brainstorming and got painfully stuck. Any help will be precious.

If a woman previously told all her family and friends she was going away, maybe abroad, for an indeterminate amount of time, and therefore, was never reported missing… Say eight, twelve, thirty-five years down the road, what happens to this woman’s identity if there hasn’t been any revenue reported to the IRS, no traffic tickets, no bank account activity, no contact with anyone familiar, no ‘proof of life’ at all? Does the government notice? Are these cases legally assumed and declared dead? If so, after what amount of time? And would this time period depend from state to state? Whew.

Thank you for your hearty push while I floor the gas pedal and quit this ditch.

xoxo,
Sunny

strictlytopsecret
05-10-2011, 05:23 PM
I can think of no reason for any government inquiry whatsoever in the scenario you described (i.e., a person leaves her home or leaves the country and is not reported missing). Unless someone intervened, there would be no reason to declare him/her legally dead or to investigate in any way.

~STS~

PinkAmy
05-10-2011, 05:30 PM
Adults are allowed to go missing. The only reason there would be an investigation is if there was evidence of a crime. The government isn't involved unless there needs to be involvement. Say the family keeps pressuring the government to investigate then our government would go through the embassy in that country. Usually this would happen right after she went missing, I don't know if the family would have any luck years or decades later. Most likely evidence would be gone.
If you wanted to create an investigation, you could go the you tube route, have someone make a plea online and then it goes viral, lots of public and media pressure.

walter101
05-10-2011, 05:52 PM
Sad to say that, if no one cares if you are dead or alive, you might as well be dead.

veinglory
05-10-2011, 05:55 PM
Nothing would happen until someone made a report, and quite possibly nothing would happen even if they did and their was no evidence of foul play.

defyalllogic
05-10-2011, 05:55 PM
I think if she went to another country and never came back, it would become an issue in that other country. She'd be flagged for violating the terms of her visa... don't know if she'd just be flagged or if anyone who actually look for her though.

jclarkdawe
05-10-2011, 06:04 PM
To be honest, I don't quite understand exactly what you're looking for. Used to be people would go GTT -- Gone to Texas. Now they just go.

If a legal situation arises in which their heirs have an interest in property that needs to be addressed, then the heirs could go to probate court to declare the person dead. Presumptively, this is after seven years from the last contact. However, individual facts determine this, and I know of a case where the individual went missing for only six months and was declared dead, while in another case, the individual was missing for more than thirty years and the judge still would not declare the person dead.

Once the missing person has reached the age of 150, it's relatively easy to declare them dead, but you still have the issue of whether they have an estate somewhere else. It can become very involved for searches.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Said The Sun
05-10-2011, 06:09 PM
Sad to say that, if no one cares if you are dead or alive, you might as well be dead.


It is quite sad, but actually, this will make the story work out even better, since its to everyone's best interest that this woman is never found again.
And no, there isn't any evidence of foul play (not that the cops know of).

But it still boggles my mind that even after say 100 years, this person's "file" per say, would not have been stamped with a deceased mark at some point, I mean don't all our identities end up with this stamp? She had to have died at some point... Interesting...

Thanks everyone! You're awesome.

Said The Sun
05-10-2011, 06:11 PM
OH! Thanks Mr. Clark-Dawe. I posted without seeing your response. This is the second time you've saved me with a crazy legal hypothetical situation. :D I feel I owe you a cup of coffee or something. Thanks again!

Williebee
05-10-2011, 06:16 PM
Just following the train of thought. It might be worthwhile to look at what "holes" the individual's absence would create.

Example:

Did they previously file a tax return and now haven't for years? The IRS is going to send letters, but unless there is major money involved, they probably are not going to come looking.

Any police reports/insurance claims filed by the individual (like for lost or damaged property) might get followed up and lead to closer inspection.

Any heavy credit card/property debts? That creates paperwork, court cases, and maybe a visit from a repo man.


All of which gives me a collection of odd writing prompts. hmmm

jclarkdawe
05-10-2011, 09:15 PM
Just following the train of thought. It might be worthwhile to look at what "holes" the individual's absence would create.

Example:

Did they previously file a tax return and now haven't for years? The IRS is going to send letters, but unless there is major money involved, they probably are not going to come looking. Not usually. The IRS is going to notice if 1099s or W-2s are filed and no return is filed against them. Even then, if the withholding looks higher than the estimated tax, they don't get excited. People stop filing for a lot of reasons such as death, job loss, retirement, illness and there's no way for the IRS to keep up with that.

Any police reports/insurance claims filed by the individual (like for lost or damaged property) might get followed up and lead to closer inspection. They might, but the police don't go too far in investigating missing criminals for minor crimes. They wait for them to get caught and pop up in the system.

Any heavy credit card/property debts? That creates paperwork, court cases, and maybe a visit from a repo man. Lots of people in debt disappear. It's a simple solution. As long as you don't apply for credit, they're not going to find you and they won't even try. Credit cards are designed as a business model that writes off as uncollectible over ten percent of their outstanding debt every year. They know when the give you the card that there's a good chance they won't collect all their money from you.


All of which gives me a collection of odd writing prompts. hmmm

Disappearing is easy. It doesn't take much effort or skill.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

shaldna
05-11-2011, 12:29 AM
Honestly, if it;s an adult, probably nothing. Which is kind sad.

The problem with the tax man, and even things like banks and credit card companies etc, is that if they can't find you either, then there's nothing that can really be done.

People go missing all the time, and, for a lot of adults that's what they want.

Chances are nothing will be kicked into action until either-

1) someone reports them missing
2) they are summoned by the court re: unpaid debts etc, in which case a warrant may be issued in the case of a no show

veinglory
05-11-2011, 12:39 AM
I think it is sad and not sad.

The idea of a society that kept constant tabs on everyone is a little frightening too.

Drachen Jager
05-11-2011, 12:55 AM
People disappear all the time in that way. Nearly every homeless person you see is in that situation. That's why when serial killers target prostitutes it often goes unnoticed for years. The women are not missed by anyone but their street friends and the police often don't take such 'missing person' cases seriously because many people in that situation move around a lot.

shaldna
05-11-2011, 01:00 AM
I think it is sad and not sad.

The idea of a society that kept constant tabs on everyone is a little frightening too.

Totally.

But at the same time, how often do you hear about people who die and no one notices.

Most recently Yvette Vickers has been int he news here. It's and example of how people, especially older people, can be forgotten about to the point where no one even notices any more. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yvette_Vickers

Williebee
05-11-2011, 01:10 AM
Disappearing is easy. It doesn't take much effort or skill.

It's a topic for a different thread (actually I seem to remember there being one, about Frank Ahearn (http://www.frankahearn.com/disappeararticle.html)) but that isn't at all true in today's world.

Williebee
05-11-2011, 02:07 AM
More on topic: (http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/entertainment&id=8110778)


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- Los Angeles County coroners are trying to confirm that a badly decomposed body found in the Benedict Canyon home of a former Playboy Playmate is hers.

A neighbor found the body last week in the 10000 block of Westwanda Drive, the home of playmate and 1950s B-movie actress Yvette Vickers.

Vickers, 82, hadn't been seen or heard from in months, but she normally kept to herself, according to neighbors.

Yvette Vickers in happier times. (http://www.glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com/show/279/Yvette+Vickers/index.html)

Nugus
05-11-2011, 02:27 AM
Unfortunately, I've known people, through my day job, that have made a good job of disappearing. And they stay disappeared until they die and if, and only if, they have any money to their name, it's then that family come looking for them.
For example: years ago I nursed a patient who had been seriously injured in a hit and run. Although I liked him, and so did alot of the nurses, he could be very abrasive. I only get to know patient's once they're ill and so I don't really know about the person behind the illness, but suffice it to say, this man was a bastard to all who know him. Even the person who ran him over knew him. Anyway, after two years as a tetraplegic in a young disabled unit, without a single visitor, he received 250,000 pounds as compensation. About three weeks later he died. His funeral was massive. His sister, who he hadn't seen in fifteen years, cried over his coffin.
Money is a good reason to find someone. Sometimes the only reason.

Sorry, I rambled.

NewKidOldKid
05-11-2011, 11:34 AM
It's so easy to move abroad and "disappear." I've lived all over Southeast Asia and a few places in Africa. Paperwork in many places is (at best) very very poorly managed. You can get visa extensions through travel agencies. Sure, they have to go to that country's immigration office to get you the extension, but that doesn't mean your own country will find out about it. Unless you register with the embassy when you arrive, the US government won't even know you're here. And if you're not working for a US company who's sending out 1099s, then the IRS will never know either.

Said The Sun
05-11-2011, 05:33 PM
That Yvette Vickers story is truly sad. We all die alone... whether we did great things throughout our lives, or just watched the wheels go round and round, abroad, missing, in the very neighborhood we were raised in and in our own homes, we die alone.
Thanks everyone for your answers. Great brainstorming.

Maryn
05-11-2011, 05:43 PM
I thought the Vickers story seemed odd right from the start, though. Here, if your mailbox gets full, the postal worker reports it to his/her supervisor and they contact the police. With junk mail, it's less than two weeks before the cops are on it, determining if the person is traveling, has contacted friends or family, or if the house or apartment shows signs of a struggle or foul play, etc. What did the postal worker do when s/he couldn't cram another item into her mailbox?

About the only people to disappear unnoticed here are college students who frequently spend days away from dorm rooms or apartments with a boyfriend or girlfriend. It can take a while to realize they haven't been seen at either location, and haven't been attending classes either.

This does make me want to go out and talk to my neighbors, though!

Maryn, who keeps to herself

dirtsider
05-13-2011, 02:15 AM
This reminds me of a situation at one of my jobs years ago. One of the guys there did a 'no call, no show' for a couple of days. I didn't think much of it because he worked in the field and the field guys didn't have to call in every day. But after a few days, I got a call from someone looking for him. I told him that I hadn't heard from him recently. He tried to joking with me as if I was trying to cover for the guy - I wasn't. That's when the caller identified himself as a debt collector. Of course, I repeated the fact the guy hadn't been heard from for a few days.

So I'm sure that, depending on the situation, someone might be interested in looking for the person.

Oh, another thing, if the bank accounts haven't been used in the course of a year, they're "closed" down due to lack of activity. If they haven't been touched in a couple years, the government starts taking a portion of it as a sort of fee. I had this happen to me (well, not being charged a fee part as of yet).

blackrose602
05-13-2011, 10:57 PM
I agree that disappearing is super-easy for an adult in the United States. I'm from New Orleans' French Quarter, one of the most popular places in the country to disappear to. A lot of people invent a street name (Shadow, Raven, Timberwolf, etc.), work for themselves as mimes or street musicians or tarot readers and rent a room by the week on a cash basis. They never establish a legal address, get a driver's license or register to vote.

Our community was shattered after Hurricane Katrina, because no one could trace each other through the regular databases. How do you ask the Houston Red Cross if Shadow or Raven checked in at the Astrodome? Thankfully someone who had moved out of state before the storm turned her Live Journal into an information portal where everyone could post what they knew. I actually found out one of my dearest friends was okay by stumbling across someone online who had read an interview with my friend in a California newspaper.

It's tough for those of us who live within society to wrap our brains around but there's a huge population that, for whatever reason, simply chooses to live entirely outside it. And that's perfectly legal.

maryland
05-27-2011, 12:51 AM
I went missing (UK) and my mother wrote to the National Insurance offices. As a favour to her they forwarded a letter to the address where I was living at the time - the address was traced via my employer's national employment stamps. They only do it once.
They went to the police also, who said a person over 21 (as it was then) was their own boss.
The Salvation Army is the best for searching for people, but once you are an adult -and it's down to 18 here now - you can go off-message.

WriteMinded
05-27-2011, 06:19 AM
It is quite sad, but actually, this will make the story work out even better, since its to everyone's best interest that this woman is never found again.
And no, there isn't any evidence of foul play (not that the cops know of).

But it still boggles my mind that even after say 100 years, this person's "file" per say, would not have been stamped with a deceased mark at some point, I mean don't all our identities end up with this stamp? She had to have died at some point... Interesting...

Thanks everyone! You're awesome.A person's "file"? What is that? God forbid that we all have one. I'm with veinglory. No tabs - please!

As it stands, if I want to disappear, I am free to do so. I am not legally bound to report my absence or my intentions to anyone.

No, not even the IRS would look for me or send letters. People go years without filing taxes. Just don't ask me to name names.

glutton
05-27-2011, 05:15 PM
People go years without filing taxes. Just don't ask me to name names.

Well if you have no income or income below the standard deduction, wouldn't it actually be legal? At the least you wouldn't be evading any taxes you wouldn't have to pay anyway...

WriteMinded
05-28-2011, 07:17 PM
Well if you have no income or income below the standard deduction, wouldn't it actually be legal? At the least you wouldn't be evading any taxes you wouldn't have to pay anyway...In that case, one is not required to file taxes, which is why the IRS doesn't track you down if you don't send in their many forms. My comment about naming names had to do with those who are either evading or failing to pay the taxes that are required by the Infernal Revenue Service. (No that is not a typo.)