In the broad majority of cases, the missing person is not in their right mind.
I’ve written a couple posts about what to do if someone you love goes missing and how missing persons cases work. In the latter post, I covered the fact that about 95% of the time, the persons go missing by choice. What I didn’t cover is the reason why these people choose to go missing.
Why would anyone in their right mind choose to put their family, friends, and loved ones through the agony of such an experience?
The answer is because in the broad majority of cases, the missing person is not in their right mind. They are suffering some sort of mental breakdown, undiagnosed mental illness, or they have gone off a psychiatric medication.
I am not a psychologist or biologist, but I have a basic understanding of the human brain. It’s a very, very fragile organ. The brain itself has the consistency of Jello, and it doesn’t take much to throw it completely out of whack. Despite what they show in movies, a single good punch to the head is often enough to cause permanent brain damage. Illegal recreational drugs alter brain chemistry in various ways, some worse than others. Sometimes the effects of drugs are benign, but sometimes they push people to the limit – and out of the realm of sanity.
In this post, I talk about a missing person who went off his medication and lost his sanity, some of the recent missing persons cases we’ve worked on, and a strange case in Denver where a 53-year-old father experienced a breakdown at a Broncos game – and was found 130 miles from the stadium.
A man missing medication in Mexico
A few years back, I posted a video about a missing persons case we had, where a 22-year-old male went off his medication, and decided to fly to Mexico. Never mind the fact that he had no knowledge of the area in Mexico City and that he didn’t even speak Spanish. Remember, these things often make zero sense:
The family found us because we are one of the only private investigative firms based in the USA that does private investigation in Mexico. They did the right thing and called us relatively quickly after they found out their son was missing. We were able to get our investigator down to Mexico City, and after working with local authorities, we were able to get the man back to a hospital, get him back on his meds, and fly him home.
In most of these cases, the missing people are usually well-liked, seemingly normal, well-adjusted, and successful career-minded individuals. It simply makes no sense that they would, in their right minds, choose to disappear willingly. So the possibility of some sort of mental break down, or foul play, is always there.
53-year-old father disappears from Broncos game
As most who read this blog know, I follow the headlines about cases outside of our investigative agency on a daily basis. I was recently fascinated by one such missing persons case where a 53-year old man vanished during a Chargers and Broncos game in Denver. His family had no idea where he could have gone or why he would have left the stadium.
According to what Mr. Kitterman told his friend Tia Bakke, he was extremely excited to be seeing his first in-person Denver Broncos game, and he was very happy to be sharing that experience with his adult stepson. Bakke and Kitterman traveled to Denver with Kitterman’s stepson Jarod. Kitterman got up from his seat to go and meet some friends who were coming to the game. However, Kitterman never returned.
The group searched the grounds until 1AM, hoping they would find the missing man. They had no luck though, and then they had to head back to Kremmling. They said that he didn’t know many people in Denver, and that he had taken off to go to the stadium without his own vehicle, without credit cards, and without a cell phone. The police in Denver filed a missing persons report and helped the family with the investigation. They said that they did not feel as though there was a crime involved in the case, since they had no evidence that pointed toward any suspicious or violent activity.
After several days of searching, Kitterman was found… in Pueblo, a city nearly 130 miles away from Denver.
He said that he ‘had his fill of football’, and he decided to take off.
Police took him in for a medical exam. The doctors said that, aside from being tired and having trouble walking, he was fine. Kitterman went on to tell the police that he hadn’t watched television in a few days, and he did not even know that people were looking for him.
The tip that led the police to his location came from a friend’s ex, who had picked him up at the Salvation Army in Pueblo and who then dropped him off at a hotel. After talking with him, the police decided not to file any charges, since he’s an adult and is able to travel if he wants, even if it does cause concern for his family.
NBC KUSA later reported, “Kitterman suffered some kind of breakdown and that they would be seeking medical help for him once he had rested.”
You can’t assume
As a professional private investigator, it’s frustrating to me when things don’t make sense. I can follow a trail of credit card transactions, but when the person throws his wallet down the storm drain for no logical reason, cases get a little harder.
Even after 40 years of doing this, I still have to remind myself that the actions of the person I’m looking for very likely do not make much sense.
This post was originally published on November 17, 2014.