Saturday, 26 July 2014

NAMUS offers way to share missing persons data

An estimated 40,000 unidentified dead bodies 10 years ago in the offices of medical examiners and coroners nationwide — many of those officials with limited access to information about missing person cases from across the country — prompted the creation of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, a federally funded national repository of people who have vanished. It may be the most comprehensive database available to the public; the FBI refuses to release its own list.

“I think NAMUS is the response to that,” Todd Matthews, a spokesman for the organization, said about the FBI’s decision. “ ‘What can we share with the public?’ We have to find a way to share this information or it’s being lost.”

FBI officials insist their data on missing persons belongs to the individual agencies that submit it, and the FBI is “not at liberty to release it.”

The Chicago Sun-Times also sought from the Illinois State Police information about missing persons reported to the agency since 2003. More than three weeks later, no data has been provided.

However, members of the public can search missing persons cases in NAMUS by name or state at The database contained 180 open cases last week in Illinois out of more than 10,200 across the country.

Anyone, including family members and police, can enter a case into the database. But all cases are verified with law enforcement before they appear publicly.

Matthews said coroners and medical examiners trying to identify John and Jane Does could find the national reach of the database particularly helpful.

“If you’re not comparing the missing and unidentified outside your local area, you’re really not going to accomplish a lot,” Matthews said.

Saturday 26 July 2014


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