About 50 percent of people who go missing are found within a week and 80 percent within a month. Three percent of people are still missing after a year, the Federal Criminal Police (BKA) said.
Though missing children are of particular concern – about 50,000 are reported as missing each year – in 98 percent of cases they are found quickly.
“Most children are at home again within a few hours, or at most after two weeks,” said Carl Bruhns, head of the Missing Children Initiative, which is dedicated to helping track down missing kids.
Many of those children are runaways, fleeing a difficult family life, problems at school or just seeking adventure. Particularly in the summer, they often end up in Berlin or Frankfurt before finding their way back home, Bruhns said.
But when children go missing for months or years, it becomes much more difficult to track them down. The Missing Children Initiative has a map on its website that shows many of those cases. They're often frustrating, terrifying and inexplicable for anxious parents.
Bruhns pointed to the mysterious case of Georgine Krüger who in 2006 disappeared while walking a few hundred metres from a Berlin bus stop to her parents' house.
“The girl disappeared without a trace,” he said.