If it's not something you look at regularly, the number of people registered in Montana's Missing Person's Clearinghouse is simply astounding. Just this year, 78 people have gone missing and their whereabouts are still unknown. Even more unsettling is the fact that 73 of those people are school-age children. Montana Amber Alert Coordinator and Criminal Justice Information Network Manager Jennifer Viets says the national numbers are even more shocking.

"Montana's missing persons case volume is smaller than most states, that is partially because we only have a million people, but right now the FBI missing persons file averages 95,000 missing people," Viets said. "You can figure that as almost the population of Billings."

According to Viets the list of those missing from Montana includes a wide variety of types, from potential murder victims to runaways.

"Of the Montana list, 32 have been identified as under suspicious circumstances and most of those cases are more than a year old," Viets said. "We have five that are victims of drownings, where we have never recovered their body. We have a couple of lost hiker cases, three lost dementia patients..."

11 people are missing from Missoula County, and, while four of those cases are from 2017, some stretch back decades.

Photo courtesy of Department of Justice
Photo courtesy of Department of Justice

"Missoula has a number of interesting cases," Viets said. "The Susan Pearson case is a very old case, from 1992. She was a professor at the University that disappeared under suspicious circumstances. She's never been located, but we never forget when someone goes missing. If someone has been reported to us, we are not going to take them off of our site until we have an answer."

Including all of the cases from past years that are still unsolved, the total number of all people still missing from Montana has climbed to 166.

The number of missing Montanans fluctuates daily and all of these statistics reported in this story are only true as of September 1, 2017. For an up-to-the-minute glance of Montana's missing persons cases follow the link below.

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