Monday, April 4, 2011

Solving Missing Person Cases with NamUs

NamUs Helping Solve Cold Cases

By: Joseph L. Giacalone

Missing person cases are tough enough on family members, but they are often even more disillusioned with the investigation.  Department policies are set on who is considered missing and who is not, leaving the family more frustrated.  The family rarely has a chance to participate in the investigation; however, this has been changed.  The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has a free tool that aids family members called The National Missing and Unidentified Person System or NamUs for short:

NamUs is comprised of two (2) databases: The Missing Person Database and the Unidentified Human Decedent database.  NamUs accepts information on missing person cases from Law Enforcement, Medical examiners and the general public.  The general public can include victim’s family members, victim advocates or concerned citizens, however, they cannot access law enforcement only information.  NamUs helps investigators in missing person cases because not everyone has access to NCIC, i.e. the general public and medical examiners, which allows more sharing of information.

The process is simple.  The general public can create a profile on the site for free in order to access the database.  For instance, a family member can upload information that may identify their loved one in another state: dental records, medical records, tattoos, etc.  The family of the missing person also has the option to have a DNA sample put into CODIS to be used for identification purposes. 

Unfortunately, according to the Bureau of Statistics, there are over 4,400 unidentified human remains recovered in this country each year and only about one third of those are cleared through identification.  That number may increase as the use of the NamUs database by the public, law enforcement and medical examiners expands. 

Related Articles:

7 Allies that Help Solve the Toughest Cold Cases

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the awesome article on NamUs!! Legislative efforts are also currently underway to further strengthen and utilize the NamUs system through Billy's Law, The Help Find the Missing Act ... We finally have the opportunity to somewhat lessen the horror so many families with missing loved ones are forced to endure ... let's not let it pass us by - Help Pass Billy's Law today!! ‎- Billy's Law online petition -