At What Point Do You Alert "The Authorities" When You Can't Reach Someone?

Rather than just fret, I’ll pose a question.

Say you have a female relative or close friend who lives in a big city several hours away. She’s a performer (musician) so she doesn’t keep regular office hours. She has a new boyfriend and an even newer roommate (but you don’t have their numbers), and she has two cell phones but no landline.

If she doesn’t respond to vmail, email or text messages within a couple of days, does this concern you?

At what point do you consider contacting the police?

Note to 20-something Dopers – Call Your Mother!

check out this old, and fascinating…thread:

the saga continues at:

My kids get out of touch for weeks at a time. Just stopped checking in a few years ago and think nothing of it. Yes, email, voice mail, real mail go unresponded to. But I just have to content myself with the idea that it hasn’t mattered so far, they always turned up alive and well.

Does she usually respond fairly quickly to messages you leave, or is she often cavalier about these things?

She’s typically busy on the weekend, so it’s not surprising that she didn’t call me back on Saturday or Sunday. But to be so far through Monday without a return call is strange. Especially since she was supposed to come here for a visit this week. Hmmm, maybe she’s changed her mind (in favor of her new spiffy boyfriend) and doesn’t want to tell me.

I did call the place where she performs on Saturdays & they saw her then. There’s probably nothing to worry about. ::sigh::

We couldn’t reach my dad for 4 days.

He doesn’t have voice mail or email.

We called the cops.

He was dead in his house of an apparent stroke.

If you have to ask–call the cops.


Have you tried putting something like PLEASE TELL US YOU’RE OK in the text message or email subject? Sometimes if I’m really upset about something I ignore my mother or my father’s emails, but when I get an “Anybody there?” email then I reply. Maybe all I say is “Yes, I’m alive.” but I reply.

Dollars to donuts she’s having either a very good or a very bad day.

Chances are it is nothing, but I agree with **sugar and spice ** send another message saying how worried you are.

Related story.

When I was going to College I was talking to my Mom on the phone and I had casually mentioned that I had a headache. Over the course of two days my meager headache had (in my Mothers mind) turned into Meningitis. I was working at a theatre that weekend loading in a show and was not home to get my Mom’s dozens of phone calls. This was also pre cell phone.

So she called the people who ran the dorm where I lived, they knocked at the door but would not go in.

Mom thought I was passed out unable to answer the phone or get to the door.

So she did the logical thing and remembered that I said I was working that weekend, so she phoned every number she could find until she got the backstage phone number to call the theatre. Now NOBODY has the backstage phone number it is only there to call out in an emergency. I didn’t have the backstage phone number and I worked there! But a worried mother is a force to be reckoned with.

And yes I was teased mercilessly

Call the authorities.

My widowed arthritic Mom spent a night on her living room floor (700 miles from me) 15 years ago and wouldn’t use the 'round the neck medical phone dialer. Neighbor called the cops/fire dept. and they went in thru a kitchen window. She went to the hsopital, then to an assisted living home, then to the nursing home where she died 7 years later, having visited her home of 65 years only when I got up there to take her on a visit for a couple of hours. BTW, I recently found my old microcassette phone message machine and played the tape. Several messages of “Call your mother!” Call.

Two years ago my widowered “favorite” uncle spent 6 days/nights on his bathroom floor, 800 miles away. A friend of his found him. After the hospital, he’s been on near fulltime home health care since then. When I called him yesterday on his 91st birthday (he’s mentally sharp as a tack) I found out he just spent 9 days in the hospital. Call.

Depends on the person and the circumstances.

If it’s someone older, or in frail health, then I’d be quicker to call the police if I couldn’t get hold of them. But someone younger and healthier? Nope. I’d leave two messages (first: “Call me”; second: “The reason I called earlier is…”) and then let them get back to me.

I also take into account whether it’s a person I know is neglectful of answering their phone or getting back to people.

The exceptions are if I know they are in a potentially dangerous situation (example: they have an abusive, jealous SO) or supposed to be somewhere they wanted to be, but didn’t show up.

The “CALL ME!” message finally did the trick. She’s fine, has been really busy, and isn’t coming down to visit. :frowning:

I’m glad that she’s AOK, the stinker.
I don’t really know the boyfriend, although he’s probably wonderful; that was part of my concern. And her purse was stolen a month ago, who knows what some stranger knows about her thanks to that.

Glad to hear everything’s OK!

I’ve always been careful about staying in touch with Mom (I’ve known her to call the police over the tiniest things, I hate to think of what would happen if I didn’t stay in contact one way or another). I do remember when I was in college that the police blotter in the student paper was always filled with entries about the police doing a welfare check and telling the individual in question to call home.

Oh, fessie, you’re such a mom.

But that’s a good thing. :smiley: My mom is such a mom too, and I appreciate it. For every ten times she calls at a bad time/when I’m doing something else, the one time she calls just when I need a mom call is worth it.

Ooh, I’m glad it’s all OK. I agree with others, though, that one should take into account differences in state of health or likely danger before sending the police to a younger healthier person who might just be busy. In this case, I can see that the stolen purse thing would be a cause for concern.

All’s well that ends well. :slight_smile:

When I was in college I got a phone message from my mom that started, “We haven’t recieved any notification so we assume you’re still alive”. Yes, I called her back.

Well (in the future), short of calling the cops, maybe you can get a neighbors # or the landlord or something?

And, get the roomies numbers, too.

I will, I need to get those numbers, you’re right.

I should clarify - my “call your mother” shout-out was just because I empathize. I am a mom, but I’m not HER mom, I’m her sister – and we both take turns playing the “maternal” role in our relationship. When I was pregnant with my twins, she called me every single day to see how I was doing. She was there when they were born, and for the first year of their lives she took the train out to the 'burbs every single week to help me, often watching them while I took a break for an hour or two. She’s pretty awesome. We live a lot further away now and I miss her. :frowning: