Monday, 21 July 2014

MH17: families donate DNA samples to help identification

Police have asked the families of the British victims of flight MH17 for toothbrushes and other personal items so DNA samples can be taken to help formally identify them.

Officers have begun the harrowing process of collecting forensic evidence even though the whereabouts of the bodies is still unknown. They are compiling DNA, fingerprint and dental records so identification can be quickly confirmed if and when the bodies are returned.

The DNA of some family members has also been taken to help in the process.

It raises the prospect that bodies from the Malaysia Airlines flight may be too disfigured, damaged or decomposed to allow easy identification.

Families have also urgently cancelled their loved ones’ credit cards, mobile phones and other dealings amid reports of looting at the crash site. Relatives described as “horrific” the suggestion that rebels were rifling through the bags and bodies of those killed.

Police have begun taking DNA samples from family members of some of the 12 Indonesians believed to have been on board the Malaysia Airlines flight that was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday.

Police are also questioning the relatives about any identifiable physical characteristics as they seek to provide details to the investigators trying to identify the remains scattered over a field in rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine, according to Adj. Comr. Aris Prasetyo, a spokesman for the National Police’s Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team.

Aris told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday that police had already taken a DNA sample from relatives of Yuli Hastini, 44, an Indonesian woman who was on board Flight MH17 with her Dutch husband, Johnny Paulisen, and their two children, Arjuna Paulisen and Sri Paulisen.

The family were said to be on an annual trip to visit Yuli’s family in Solo, Central Java. It was the first time they had flown Malaysia Airlines, having previously taken Singapore Airlines, relatives said.

In neighboring Karanganyar district, police took DNA samples from the parents of Supartini, 39, who was employed as a domestic worker in The Hague with her two sisters.

Aris said the family had also submitted a copy of a picture that Supartini had taken of herself at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport and sent to one of her sisters before boarding the flight.

The three sisters had all planned to return to Indonesia for a month before going back to the Netherlands. Paryati and Murtini, though, flew out a day earlier, on Emirates and Singapore Airlines flights, respectively.

Aris said the DVI team would submit all the DNA samples and descriptions of the victims to the National Police headquarters in Jakarta for use in aiding investigators identify the bodies at the crash site.

Monday 21 July 2014


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