Law Enforcement Response to Missing and Unidentified Persons

Law Enforcement’s Response to Missing and Unidentified Persons
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Resources
Recorded June 8, 2016
Unit 1 Slide Deck
Unit 2 Video

At any given time, there are over 100,000 missing and unidentified persons in the United States. Just as technical, societal and cultural changes have caused law enforcement to evolve, law enforcement response to missing and unidentified persons must also change. One such response is the Justice Department’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs).

Although NamUs provides free DNA, odontology, anthropology, fingerprint, analytical services, and a searchable on-line database of missing and unidentified persons, many agencies are still unaware of NamUs’ existence and how to best utilize these resources.

This presentation will introduce NamUs and how to utilize the free resources available at NamUs.

Webinar Notes:

  • At any time there are over 100K Missing and Unidentified Persons in US
  • 40K unidentified persons
  • 80-90K missing persons
  • NamUs is part of a multifaceted NIJ Program
  • NamUs provides free DNA testing of unidentified human remains
  • NamUs also provides training to medical examiners, and the families of victims
  • NamUs combines online case and analytical resources
  • Paula Davis’ sister went missing in 1987.  Minutes after entering her into NamUs she found her
  • NamUs is one way to give people their name back.
  • NamUs includes non-publically viewable circumstance details.
  • Every week 3-4 missing person cases come into the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
  • Phoenix Police Department is a very active User of NamUs
  • NamUs stands for the National Missing and Unidentified Person System
  • NamUs provides a national clearinghouse of missing and Unidentified Person
  • NamUs is managed by the University of Northern Texas Health Science Center
  • NamUs DNA, Odontology, fingerprint, analytical and training support
  • NamUs can capture identity, physical descriptors, medical information, clothing, vehicle descriptions, images, photographs and medical/dental records
  • UNTCHI will provide Nuclear and Mitochondrial and YSTR DNA services
  • Family Members are able to search NamUs for potential matches
  • 1000s of amateur ‘cyber-sleuths’ use NamUs to solve missing and unidentified cases
  • NamUs Offers free anthropology services including recovery assistance, determination of forensic significant.
  • NamUs anthropology services include Skeletal trauma examination, identification based on antemortem pathology and expert testimony.
  • Go to to find contact information for your Regional System Administrator in the Resources menu
  • Upcoming NamUs 2.0 features will include support for use following a critical incident to help reunite families
  • NamUs critical incident will offer situational awareness through an intuitive interface for emergency officials across jurisdictions


Additional Resources
5 years ago
Using NamUs to Resolve Missing and Unidentified Indigenous Person Cases
NamUs is a powerful tool designed to assist with missing and unidentified persons cases. Traditional […]
5 years ago
NCMEC Resources, Long-term Missing & Unidentified Children: An Interview with Carol Schweitzer
Not all law enforcement agencies have all the resources needed to effectively and efficiently inves […]
6 years ago
Federal Legislation Impacting Children Missing from Care and NCMEC Resources
More often than not, children who end up under the care of social service agencies have some form of […]
9 years ago
NamUs-Investigative and Forensic Resources to Resolve Missing and Unidentified Person Cases
On any given day, there are between 80,000 and 90,000 active missing person cases in the United Stat […]