UNTHSC manages ‘one-stop shop’ for missing person cases

March 12, 2014

 Namus Video Screenshot
Click here to watch the video

For cold-case detective Stuart Somershoe, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) is a “one-stop shop” for unsolved cases.

“We all have pieces of the puzzle,” said Somershoe, who works for the Phoenix Police Department. “Medical examiners have elements of these cases. Police have elements. The families have elements.

“NamUs invites us all together in order to solve these cases.”

With funding and oversight from the National Institute of Justice, UNT Health Science Center since 2011 has managed and expanded NamUs, a national clearinghouse 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.

In many ways, NamUs is a perfect fit at UNTHSC, which runs a crime laboratory set in a graduate school for scientists and health care professionals. UNTHSC trains students in forensics and the use of DNA technologies to help solve crimes and identify the missing and unidentified.

It is one of only eight public- sector labs in the nation with a program dedicated to DNA testing for identifying missing persons and unknown victims. UNTHSC forensic experts routinely work with the FBI, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and hundreds of police agencies and medical examiners nationwide.

“Victims’ families wake up every day – year after year – not knowing where their loved ones are,” said Arthur Eisenberg, PhD, Chair of Molecular and Medical Genetics. “Our efforts through NamUs are aimed at helping families find answers.”

Walters Fc
Researcher to lead national opioid crisis steering committee

By Sally Crocker Scott Walters, PhD, Regents Professor and Chair of Health Behavior and Health Systems at the UNT Health Science Center School of Public Health, has been named Steering Committee Chair of an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid ...Read more

Jul 16, 2019

Tcom Fc
TCOM students spend the day giving back

By Steven Bartolotta   The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Class of 2023 got their chance to lend a helping hand to the Fort Worth community as 236 medical students fanned out all across Fort Worth for a Day of Service. The TCOM students divided into groups and spent the afte...Read more

Jul 12, 2019

Sparks Fc
A medical student travels an unconventional road to TCOM

By Steve Bartolotta   A fresh wave of new medical students arrived at UNT Health Science Center this week, all from a variety of different backgrounds and traveling on different paths. One of new faces belongs to Clarence Sparks, 36, a one-time college dropout who enters the Texas Col...Read more

Jul 11, 2019

Ns Fc
Williams urges TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine students to reclaim human element in health care

By Alex Branch   The human element of the doctor-patient relationship is too often taken for granted in modern health care, UNT Health Science Center President Dr. Michael R. Williams told the inaugural class of Fort Worth’s new medical school. For example, a chief complaint among em...Read more

Jul 10, 2019