Missing person’s case resolved quickly, questioned by public

Alyssa Amarshi lost and found in 24 hours

By Adam Tatelman, Staff Writer

Alyssa Amarshi, a 25-year-old woman from Vancouver, was reported missing when she did not come home when expected on November 8. In a public appeal for information, the RCMP described her as South Asian, 5’2” tall and 100 pounds with a slender build, long black hair, and brown eyes.

The RCMP claimed that Amarshi was last seen at 1:30 a.m. on, November 8, and that it was out of character for her to not contact her family regularly. She had been last seen in Surrey, and police speculated that she may have been travelling to her home in Burnaby at the time of her disappearance, driving a blue two-door 2013 Honda Civic.

Fortunately, Amarshi was located in under 24 hours, reappearing later that evening. Neither the police nor Amarshi’s family have disclosed the circumstances of her return—only that they do not suspect any foul play.

As Amarshi is also known to frequent the Vancouver area, the RCMP had invited anyone with information on her whereabouts to call Burnaby RCMP, the Surrey RCMP, or CrimeStoppers to assist with the investigation. Curiously, the RCMP categorized Amarshi as a “high risk” missing person, but did not disclose the reason for this classification.

High risk missing person’s cases are given priority during investigations, and are people who receive this classification are usually 12 years of age or younger, senior citizens, and the mentally or physically handicapped. The law was recently amended to also include homeless persons, sex workers, those suffering from alcohol or drug addictions, and “anyone who may be subject of a cultural bias” as high risk individuals. Given the extensive list, it is difficult to say precisely why Amarshi was considered a high risk missing person.

Amarshi’s case has been widely reported over the past few days, with news outlets like the Vancouver Sun, the Province, and CBC News covering both the disappearance and reappearance. Some were confused at the time frame, believing that the investigators and reporters were too hasty because Amarshi had not yet been missing for 24 hours. According to the Canadian Centre for Information on Missing Adults, there is no waiting period when reporting a disappearance, contrary to popular belief.

Reporting a loved one missing is a simple procedure. After contacting the local authorities, there is a Missing Person’s checklist to fill out. This list covers basic information such as physical description, habits and personality, clothing when last seen, any known trip or vacation plans, last time and place the missing person was seen, overall health and condition, plus a list of people the individual might contact. Supplying the police with any supplementary items such as personal effects, written documents, or DNA samples is also helpful.

According to the Vancouver Police Department website, the Missing Persons Unit investigates roughly 2,500 cases yearly, with unresolved cases numbering between 5–12 by year’s end; 99.5 per cent of all cases are solved.