The Many Challenges of Tracking Missing and Unidentified Persons in the US

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The Crime Report highlighted some revealing statistics about missing and unidentified persons in the United States. For instance:

  • There are an estimated 40,000 unidentified human remains currently in existence with approximately 4,400 recovered every year.
  • Those figures don’t include victims who have been cremated or who have been placed in unmarked graves.
  • The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, also known as NamUs, serves as a highly useful clearinghouse for missing and unidentified individuals. One drawback to the system, however, is that reporting from law enforcement agencies is voluntary. Thus not all missing persons cases are contained within the database. This was highlighted in a recent posting by the administrator of The Charley Project who created a long list of cases of missing people who were not in the NamUs database.
  • NamUs is currently undergoing an upgrade that will allow expanded database exchanges between government agencies.

The Crime Report post was written by a group of individuals who co-founded a new think tank called Time to Address the Nation’s Cold Cases (TANC). You can read more about their efforts at this website.