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