More than 5,400 people missing in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
missing people -

In 2021, 22,285 people were reported missing. This means that 61 people disappeared every day in Spain last year. The number of missing persons has been tracked since 2009. Moreover, the number of cases still active stands at 5,411.  

Examples of missing person cases from 2021 include that of Antonio David, a 15-year-old minor with limited mobility. He disappeared on September 12 in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo). Or that of María Muñoz, 14 years old and last seen on 24 July in Cartagena. These cases are still ongoing. However, 90% of the disappearances resolved themselves in 2021, 83% even during the first fifteen days. As of December 31, there were still 1,928 ongoing cases from 2021. That is almost 5% more than in 2020 and 2019. 

The figures are 21.5% higher than those for 2020, probably due to the exceptional situation during the pandemic. The more than 22,000 reports concern 14,777 people; 3,990 of them are repeat offenders and have been reported missing more than once in 2021 or in previous years.  

Profile of people missing

The most common profile of the missing person is male, underage -between 13 and 17 years- and of Spanish nationality. In 66% of the cases, it concerns minors. The 13-17 age group alone accounts for 64% of the total number of cases reported. 58% are male and 42% female. The provinces with the highest number of reported cases are Las Palmas (3,446), Madrid (2,205), Barcelona (2,179), and Valencia (1,085).  

In terms of nationality, 68% have Spanish nationality out of a total of 113 different nationalities. Morocco, Algeria, and Romania are the countries following Spain in the number of missing citizens.  

Voluntary or not? 

According to the typology of the case, more than 87% of disappearances were voluntary and only 0.46% were forced. 3.3% were considered involuntary and 9% were unknown.  

Record number of identified bodies  

Noteworthy is the significant increase in the number of bodies found. The Ministry of the Interior estimates the number of bodies found by state security services and police at 226, the highest figure in recent years. Moreover, a total of 117 bodies were identified in 2021, the highest number ever. Last year there were 74 identifications and in 2019, this was 65.  

Figures since the introduction of the system  

Since the introduction of the Missing Persons and Human Remains (PDyRH) system in June 2009 and until 31 December 2021, a total of 117 bodies have been identified. And of the 243,768 reports of disappearances registered, 94% have been resolved. Almost half received a clarification within three days and more than 77% within 15 days of the report. However, currently, 5,411 are still ongoing. 

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