Tom Threadingham

Missing persons toolkit to help families

A NEW missing persons toolkit will guide distraught families on how to use social media and how to work with media to raise awareness during the crucial first 48 hours.

Since 2010, 116 people have been reported missing in the Gympie police division alone.

While almost all of those people had been located, some were not.

Gympie man Jason Paul Hazelgrove (born 1970) was reported missing after being last seen in July, 2010, in Gympie. Jason was last seen by his family when he told them he would speak to them later in the day.

Anyone who may be able to help locate Jason Hazelgrove can contact police on one of the numbers below.

The Missing Persons Advocacy Network believes it has developed the world's first online resource to help in the initial search and to support families of the long-term missing.

MPAN founder Loren O'Keeffe knows the devastation and hopelessness that comes with having a missing loved one and had recognised a gap in support services for the 35,000 Australians who go through the same thing each year.

Her brother, Daniel O'Keeffe, disappeared more than two years ago from their family home in Geelong, Victoria.

"We didn't know what to do when Dan disappeared. We reported him as a missing person to the police, but we weren't given any advice on what to do next. There were no resources; no support groups in Victoria," Ms O'Keeffe said.

"As Dan's case wasn't deemed suspicious, it added another level of difficulty.

"Going missing isn't a crime, and so while the police were on the lookout for Dan, we knew they couldn't be actively searching for him as we needed them to. "

Found at, the toolkit includes templates to simply and easily create missing persons posters and media releases, step-by-step advice around raising awareness for the missing person through avenues such as social media; and details of support networks.

Gympie police said yesterday a "missing person" was defined as any adult or child whose whereabouts was unknown and there were reasonable and justified fears for the safety or concerns for the welfare of the person.

"If these circumstances exist a person can be reported missing to police at any time. There is no waiting period or time limit after which you can report somebody missing," District Crime Prevention Coordinator Snr Const Llew O'Brien said.

"If you have concerns for the welfare or safety of a person and their whereabouts is unknown make a report to police as soon as possible."

This can be done via Gympie police on 5480 1111 Policelink on 131 444 or the Missing Persons Unit 3364 6213.

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