PERMIAN BASIN, Texas — Missing person cases are nothing new, but the number of unsolved cases has changed dramatically,

“We have missing person’s reported to us all the time,” said Odessa Police Department Communications Officer Steve LeSueur.

According to National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, that number has spiked.

In just Ector County alone, there have been 10 unsolved cases of missing people total between 2018 and 2019.

9 of those 10 cases have been reported just this year.

“As far as why it would recently go up it’s unknown. I know with social media, it can be good or bad because a lot of the times rumors are spread that end up being false.  But we investigate every single one and we take all of our missing person cases very serious,” said LeSueur.

LeSueur explained patrol officers and detectives always factor if they have a medical condition, what the weather was like and if the person has always been from the area. But he mentioned the first 48 hours of someone missing are the most crucial and a lot of the time people hold back from letting them know in a timely manner.

“One of the biggest misconceptions is a lot people think they have to wait a certain period of time like 24 or 48 hours and that’s not true. If you think someone’s life is in danger, then you can report them missing immediately and you can file a report and we’ll begin investigating immediately,” said LeSueur.

Missing person cases are always open until the individual is found. The investigations are always ongoing.

In six local counties including Midland, Odessa, Howard, Pecos, Reeves and Ward, there are a total of 24 current missing persons from last year to May 2109.