In Zealand, people typically disappear in the woods-in Jutland it is mostly near water. But securing the port of Aalborg has, according to the organisation, helped…
When the phone rings at the home of Vivian Eriksen in Rebild, her husband occasionally puts his head on cocked and listens.
If the word “emergency search” appears, he is often about to pack the wife’s car with yellow waistcoats and other gear, before she has put down the phone.
Then he knows, that she is likely to be on her way, to help find a person who has disappeared from family and friends.
Vivian Eriksen is the chairman of the voluntary and nationwide “Missing People” organization, which aims to help find people, who have been lost and at the same time support the families, who are left in a mixture of hope, fear and powerlessness.
Often in days. Maybe for weeks, months or even years. With a lurking risk of never getting clear facts about what happened.
Relatives have a high priority
-Our first priority is clearly the relatives. To give them calm. Then it’s a bonus when we Occasionally find the missing, “Vivian Eriksen says.
She herself gives her 27 years in the Home guard the honor, that without great concern, she can organize the searches. Here she is the command-Officer, corresponding roughly to above sergeant, and has previously performed similar tasks here.
-The Home guard is what made me what I am. But there is a difference; Now I have to organize it, so that both Mr and Mrs Denmark can and will join, the chairman explains.
It’s Worth It
Although, Vivian Eriksen has not experienced a similar disappearance in her immediate family, she can understand the torrential unrest, that the relatives find themselves in, when the police have to exit the search and no decisive clues have been found:
It’s certainty they need and once you have experienced, how much the certainty can benefit them to stay a bit more calm, it is worth it. Then you forget that you have sore feet of being out searching for hours, Vivian Eriksen explains.
Difference between Jutland and Sealand
When the volunteers in Missing People make statistics on their work, patterns emerge that can surprise: In Jutland, most people disappear in the winter-mostly near water. In Zealand It is typical in the summer and most often in the woods.
Three out of four, who are wanted as missing, are men. East Jutland is clearly the region that Missing People has the most searches in.
Unsupervised Ports in Randers and Aarhus is unfortunately a part of Missing People´s statistics, due to the fact, that a few of our searches has ended with the found of the missing in these Ports. Fortunately since Aalborg Ports has been monitored in the basin, there has not been any unfortunate accidents at all.
Vivian Eriksen is pleased that many -as she herself- put up with not getting paid for spending hours searching for missing people.
Many of the people that Missing People are searching for are Demented and it was after a demented man disappeared in the hot summer, that the organization was asked to come to Silkeborg, as the police search had not given any results.
Although most citizens believe, that they know everything about what is going on in their own backyard, it is Important to follow the invitation, to look for missing near one’s own house
-We went from house to house and showed pictures of the man and asked if the owners of the houses, would look for the missing in his/hers garden or let us do it. Often The residents did not know that someone had disappeared, and many felt also sure, that it was not in their garden That someone could be, Vivian Eriksen says.
Found Seven meters from coffee table
It also applied to a woman, who spent the warm summer day on the terrace of her garden.
-“I haven’t seen anyone, and I’ve been sitting here all day, so I’m sure there’s no one, but You must look, “she said to us,” Vivian Eriksen says.
When the two volunteers from Missing People came to the back of the garden, they found the man lying, behind a compost pile, sunburned and dehydrated, but otherwise in good condition. Only seven meters from the chair, where the woman in uncertainty had drunk her coffee!
80 kilometers in a day
The Previous weekend Missing People had called in a search by Egå, north of Aarhus. This was the 27-year-old Steffen, who disappeared from a city tour of the capital of Jutland, as far back as 1. December.
Through local media and Missing People´s Facebook page, the effort team from Missing People asked for help. 150 volunteers showed up and received maps and instructions to patrol 80 kilometers of the edge of Aarhus Bay.
Including two sailing ships that examined the seabed, well over 10 kilometers, into the Harbour of Aarhus with sonar.
Police Officer is positive
Missing People also have drones attached, that made good use of the shallow coast, while the dog patrol this day stayed at home.
We didn’t find anything, but at least we have ruled out some options, Vivian Eriksen says.
At the East Jutland Police, Detective Commissioner Morten Bang Rasmussen experienced cooperation as positive:
It’s been a good experience for us. Missing People have been able to attract many to the search, and we have had a good dialogue about what they should and should not emphasize, he says.
Should fit with worked
On a daily basis, Vivian Eriksen has worked in a Rema 1000 store, so the searches needs to fit into the roster.
In 2018 Alone, Vivian Eriksen was included in 22 of the 50 searches, that the volunteers in Missing People stood for around the country.
About 75 percent of them are carried out without the public noticing much. The last 25 percent leads to information and major searches, that are often advertised in the daily press.
The longest search for Vivian Eriksen was exactly three years ago. A 19-year-old man from Aalestrup disappeared during a city tour in Randers.
-I was down there every day, for five weeks, until his body was found on a Saturday. On Sunday, I couldn’t find peace at home and just went restlessly around, “Vivian Eriksen remembers.
Her Dream is that 80 percent of the population will know the organization and that there are two intervention teams ready in each Danish commune:
Then they know, that there is someone to call if one of their loved ones disappears, she says.
A “tag” Is ample reward for her. Vivian Eriksen has also tried to get flowers sent from relatives when a search was over.
I know the relatives mean well, but I really don´t need things from them, to know that they appreciate our help . I need to have an emotional distance to things, in order to be able to stay in it, she explains.
Will Make a Difference
It is the desire to make a difference, that makes Vivian Eriksen and the others use a large and unpredictable part of their free time, to be part of Missing People.
You never know when you’re going to be called on a case and It’s not always easy to fit the volunteer job in, when you also have a full-time job, says Janne Bisgaard Sørensen, one of the watchkeepers of the phone, that is open around the clock, at the organization.
-But when you see and feel, that you have made a difference to some people, who have difficulties, it is worth it, she states
Janne Bisgaard Sørensen lives in Farum north of Copenhagen, but has several times taken the trip to Jutland to participate in searches.
-For me, it started when someone from my close family, was away for three days without a message. I’m sure I can’t get into, what it’s like to do without a family member for a long time, but I know how scared and uncomfortable you can be in those three days.
Voluntary and Nationwide organisation created 22. May 2016.
Aims to be “a natural choice of partner in searching for missing persons in Denmark”.
Missing people offer to organize and initiate searches of missing persons in Denmark.
It should not be confused with another organisation, “Missing People Danmark”, which was dissolved in 2015.
Missing People have no one on the payroll. Membership costs a smaller contingent as either a support member or a member of the action.
If you Want to be a member of the action, you must be able to show a criminal record.
As a member of the action, you have to undergo an education so that you can help organize and run a search in a team of teams.
An effort team consists of an action manager, a card manager, a relatives contact and an assistant.
The Organisation requires volunteers to always follow the guidelines of the authorities and, in particular, the police.
It requires a review from the nearest relatives as well as acceptance by the police before Missing People do a search.
The Organization’s guard phone is open around the clock: 71 74 76 76
-You also meet many different people, that you would not otherwise have met. Both in terms of cultural background, political opinion, income and other things. When you meet about something like this, it’s like everyone’s going to be equal, whoever they are. And, of course, we also get a good team-up, “says Janne Bisgaard Sørensen.
In Skanderborg, consultant Claus Lindgaard is accustomed to driving towards North Jutland in his daily work. But occasionally he also packs the car to participate in one of Missing Peoples searches.
It’s not because we’re especially good people, but we have found Missing People as a commond stand and when we search, there are many people, who do not know the missing person at all. It touches something in all of us, to be able to help someone in distress, he experiences.
-It probably always hurts the heart, when we don’t find the person we’re looking for. But If we have done a serious job, I am satisfied. And I have not yet experienced anything else, he says.
24-year-old Benedikte Winther has almost been in the organization for two years:
I have to prioritize my work first, but then the volunteer work in Missing People is what fills the most. It warms the heart very much, when you feel, that you have made a difference, she emphasizes.