A last chance for families with missing loved ones
By Jeff Carlton
The databases of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) contain files on more than 1,000 active missing person cases in Texas and about 14,000 nationwide – each one a tragedy for the families involved.
“I’m not sure we can help a family find closure,” said BJ Spamer, director of forensic and analytical services for NamUs, which is based at UNT Health Science Center. “But we can help them find answers, and families often take great comfort in that.”
For the second straight year, families with missing loved ones are invited to “Missing in North Texas,” scheduled for Sunday on the UNTHSC campus. At the inaugural event in 2017, more than a dozen families came to UNTHSC to provide more information and documentation about missing relatives.
Family members are encouraged to bring any police reports, X-rays, dental information, fingerprint records or other documents related to their missing loved one. The information will be used to create a new NamUs entry or update an existing one.
Law enforcement officers will be there to take missing person reports if one already hasn’t been filed, and NamUs personnel will be on hand if families want to provide DNA samples that can be used in the search for missing loved ones.
With funding and oversight from the National Institute of Justice, the UNT Center for Human Identification since 2011 has managed and expanded NamUs, a national information clearinghouse and resource center for missing person cases, unidentified victims, unidentified living individuals and unclaimed bodies.
Medical examiners, coroners, law enforcement officers, family members of missing persons and concerned citizens can access varying levels of information on secure online databases to assist in resolving thousands of unsolved cases. NamUs provides data management, analytical support and forensic resources for missing and unidentified cases at no cost to investigating agencies and family members.
Missing in North Texas
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, April 22.
Where: UNT Health Science Center’s Medical Education and Training (MET) building, 1000 Montgomery St., Fort Worth
By Alex Branch The UNT Health Science Center’s osteopathic medical school was the only medical school in Texas to place at least 25 percent of 2018 graduates in family medicine. It’s the latest example of the program’s leadership in reducing the state’s shortage of primary care phy...Read more
Dec 12, 2018
By Jan Jarvis Shelia Neal can’t recall much of what happened on the day she learned she was HIV positive because of the sheer shock of it all. But one thing stands out. “Until then, I had never had a doctor bend down and look at me eye-to-eye,” she said. “But she did, and ...Read more
Dec 12, 2018
By Jan Jarvis Michael Mathis, PhD, sees plenty of similarities between his current job at Louisiana State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, and his future one as dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UNT Health Science Center. “A medical school and a vet...Read more
Dec 11, 2018
By Sally Crocker In the fall of 1984, Maria Guadalupe Almaguer was murdered by her estranged husband, David Gonzales. The couple had been separated for two years following a rocky, abusive relationship, and Maria had been saving for a divorce. She had just been promoted at work, and thi...Read more
Dec 5, 2018