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In the TV show, Hannibal, ep 1,

Jack tells Will that all the girls were abducted on a Friday, so that they would have been reported missing until next Monday?

  • What does he mean? My understanding is: law enforcement do not report missing persons or do not accept missing person report on a weekend?

I would imagine for a serious case such as a potential missing person, law enforcement should react right away.

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Jack: All of them abducted on a Friday so they wouldn't have to be reported missing until Monday. Now, however he's covering his tracks, he needs a weekend to do it.

Will: Number eight?

Jack: Elise Nichols. St. Cloud State on the Mississippi. Disappeared on Friday. Was supposed to house sit for her parents over the weekend, feed the cat. She never made it home.

Quite simply this means that no-one would have known they were missing until Monday. Someone has to know you are missing to report it.

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You need to take a moment to think about how anybody notices that a person is missing.

  • A roommate or close neighbor notices that they haven't come home yet.
  • They are not showing up for class (the victims in this episode are all college students).
  • They are not showing up for scheduled work.
  • They are not showing up for social events.
  • They are not responding to contact attempts (phone, text, email, knocking on door, etc.)

Except for the first one, all of those things are far more likely to be noticed on a weekday than on a weekend.

Also, a basic part of American culture is that weekdays are more "serious" than weekends. If a person is going to do some stereotypical college student thing like go home to visit their parents, blow off a work shift to attend a party, or take a road trip to Tijuana, they are far more likely to do it on a weekend than a weekday. This perception means that being missing on a weekday is usually going to be taken more seriously and reported while being missing on a weekend is more likely to be rationalized as "well, they must be off doing {insert stereotypical thing here}."

  • absolutely, good point. My initial thought was too tunnel visioned, as I was thinking about it from a viewer point of view. – Yu Zhang Nov 18 at 22:43
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Depending on jurisdiction, and the age of the person who disappeared, often times a parent or friend is told to wait a day or two.

An apparent TV trope that has become a myth on it's own, one is often told to wait to build tension in the episode/story.

The reasoning behind this may be because often enough the person simply ran away (or just ignores social medias and didn’t say anything), went out and got drunk, maybe hooked up and didn’t come home for the weekend. We the viewer of course know better!

On top of that, teenager or older who didn’t come home on a Friday night isn’t particularly suspicious...A Saturday night with still no phone call...is maybe strange depending on the person but not completely surprising and in tiny towns I could see the police station being closed on Sunday or close early, so a parent who maybe waited patiently all weekend for their child to call or come home would be finally suspicious enough to maybe talk to the police.

If this is a working adult, them disappearing from work Friday night, and not showing up on Monday for work without a call would be the only tipoff something might be wrong.

Friday is the ideal time to kidnap a working teenager or adult in the context of the show as its normal a person would be gone or difficult to contact over the weekend.

However if this was a child who disappeared on a Friday night, it would be much more suspect and illicit a fast missing persons response, I would assume.

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    For reference: the victims in this case were college students. Their absence during the weekend may mean then went home to their parents (which is why the roommates don't suspect they're missing) or stayed in their dorm (which is why the parents don't suspect they're missing). – Flater Nov 19 at 14:28
  • "a parent or friend is told to wait a day or two" - a dangerous myth – Stop Harming Monica Nov 20 at 17:38

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