Category Archives: Missing Persons

Laboratory Artist Puts a Human Face on Unidentified Remains

unidentified remainsNationwide, about 4,400 unidentified remains are found each year—and more than 1,000 of those are still unidentified a year later, according to the National Institute of Justice, which maintains searchable databases of missing and unidentified persons (NamUs.gov). Medical examiners and local police departments most frequently become the stewards of unidentified remains. And each year, about 20 requests are made to the FBI Laboratory to develop facial approximations of unidentified individuals to help investigators ultimately put a name to a face.

Hopes for DNA extraction from treated bones

Committee-missing-personsThere is hope that remains of missing persons from the events of 1974 – that were treated with chemicals and were buried at the military cemetery in Lakatamia – will now be able to be identified.
The Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, Fotis Fotiou, informed members of the press that samples of the skeletal remains had been sent to the US Department of Defence’s laboratory, which requested the type of chemical used in order to try and isolate DNA samples.

Recovery Mission

Recovery Mission…The painstaking case of lost and found for the Van Bendegom family is only one of many that is playing out around the world. There may eventually be thousands more. Over fifteen hundred Americans who fought and died in the Vietnam War have yet to be identified; and that is only one war. Government officials estimate there are another 7800+ unidentified lost in the Korean War, and 125+ missing soldiers who fought and died in the Cold War. More than 73,000 service personnel from World War II still remain unidentified today…

Decades later, two area servicemen laid to rest thanks to DNA advances

USS OklahomaBack then, the Navy identified fewer than three dozen killed on the Oklahoma. Two years later, salvage workers righted the crippled hulk and gathered skeletal remains from its hold. Bones from 388 still-missing crewmen were compiled in 61 caskets and, in 1950, buried together in the Punchbowl, the national military cemetery in Honolulu.

Bringing up the bodies in Guatemala

Skeleton in GuatemalaIn February 2012, Edgar Hernandez walked with a team of archaeologists beneath the lush cypress forests of a military base in Coban, a city of 250,000 that sits in a high misty valley in the mountains of central Guatemala. They cleared grass from areas where the land seemed to dip, as though the soil had been disturbed decades before. Then, surrounded by soldiers, the archaeologists staked out thin exploratory trenches and began to dig.

Inside the New Mission to Identify Pearl Harbor’s Fallen, 74 Years Later

73 years after _Pearl_Harbor_Identification_hb_151207_12x5_1600Seventy-four years ago today, Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, taking the lives of more than 2,400 U.S. service members and plunging the United States into World War II.

A macabre task to identify the shipwrecked

The shy children from a dog-eared photograph found in the pocket of a migrant drowned off Italy may never know what happened to the man who might have been their father. Putting names to those who die while crossing the Mediterranean to Europe is a huge challenge for forensic scientists, with clues sometimes limited to no more than a scar or a solitary tatoo.

Military identifies remains of 7 Pearl Harbor ‘unknowns’

worldwartwo2pearlharborHONOLULU (AP) – The remains of seven crew members missing since the USS Oklahoma capsized in the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor have been identified, the military said Monday.

Italy’s painstaking bid to identify shipwrecked migrants

helix10Melilli (Italy) (AFP) – The shy children from a dog-eared photograph found in the pocket of a migrant drowned off Italy may never know what happened to the man who might have been their father.
Putting names to those who die while crossing the Mediterranean to Europe is a huge challenge for forensic scientists, with clues sometimes limited to no more than a scar or a solitary tatoo.

National database to open for bringing abducted children home

Blue Helix4BEIJING, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) — A database to help abducted children find their birth parents will go live on Saturday, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs Thursday. The database, qgdgxq.mca.gov.cn, will provide information on missing children, and those that have been rescued by the police, the ministry said in a statement.

Argentinian Grandmothers Are Using DNA to Track Down Stolen Children

de CarlottoIt’s been over 30 years since Argentina emerged from a military dictatorship that devolved into a “Dirty War.” But even now, reports UPI’s Andrew V. Pestano, Argentinian women whose babies were abducted under the military junta are looking for their children. And they have added a powerful tool to their quest to find the missing: DNA.

10 Years After Hurricane Katrina, 30 Victims Remain Unidentified

KatrinaTen years after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on Louisiana and Mississippi, 30 victims remain unidentified, WWL-TV reported on Wednesday. Autopsy reports obtained from the news station showed numerous locations across New Orleans where men and women were found with little to no personal belongings or distinguishing marks, making identification difficult, and funding allocated for DNA testing has dried up.

5 missing identified through DNA test

Earthquake KatmanduKATHMANDU, AUG 06 – Nepal Police has confirmed the death of five foreigners reported missing in the Great Earthquake based on DNA verification.
The Central Police Forensic Science Laboratory (CPFSL) had conducted DNA profiling of the severed body parts recovered from various parts of the country and cross-matched the details with the DNA reports of the missing foreigners sent by Interpol.

Remains of 8,000 war martyrs need DNA tests

Vietnam war martyrsHA NOI (VNS) — Over 8,000 cases of unidentified war martyrs have been referred to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs for DNA testing to establish a link to their alleged families.

The “Baby Doe” Investigation Showcases Forensic Science at Its Purest

Baby and DNAThe story of “Baby Doe”–the little girl whose body was found along a Boston shoreline in June–has captured the nation’s attention. So far, we know virtually nothing about what happened. We don’t know who she was, what happened to her, or who was responsible.