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Free National Search Engine Provides Resources For Missing Persons Cases

Date of News Release: 10/17/2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. (October 17, 2016) - Citizens of Kentucky can contribute to the solution of missing persons cases throughout the state and country by using a powerful search engine available free of charge by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) is a national, centralized repository and resource center for missing persons and unidentified decedent records. It is a free, online system that can be searched by medical examiners, coroners, law enforcement officials and the general public from all over the country in hopes of resolving these cases.

"Anyone may search the database," says Kentucky State Police Lt. Michael Webb, commander of the agency's Public Affairs Branch, "but by registering in the system at www.namus.gov, the general public will be able to add new missing persons cases as well as physical and circumstantial details, photographs, dental contacts and other critical pieces of information."

Nationwide, there are as many as 85,000 active missing person cases at any given time. As of June 1, 2016, 26,767 total missing person cases have been reported to NamUs of which 10,949 cases have been resolved (1,335 with direct assistance from NamUs).

In Kentucky, as of October 2016, there are 615 open missing persons cases. Recently, the identity of an unknown deceased female originally discovered in 1969 in Harlan County was determined when the daughter of the victim searched NamUs and contacted KSP. A subsequent exhumation and DNA testing confirmed the identity.

"NamUs was very instrumental in helping to establish the victim's identity in this 47-year-old case," says KSP Post 10 Detective Josh Howard, who was assigned the case in 2013 and hopes to someday determine the killer. "It's a good example of how NamUs can make a real difference in resolving cases which are sometimes decades old."

NamUs is comprised of three databases:

A Missing Persons Database contains information about missing persons that can be entered by anyone.

An Unidentified Persons Database contains information entered by medical examiners and coroners.

An Unclaimed Persons Database contains information about deceased persons who have been identified by name, but for whom no next of kin or family member has been identified or located to claim the body for burial or other disposition.

When a new missing persons or unidentified decedent case is entered into NamUs, the system automatically performs cross-matching comparisons between the databases, searching for matches or similarities between cases.

"With tools like NamUs and the public's assistance, we can increase the number of missing persons cases solved each year," says Webb. "Most important, is the opportunity to provide some closure to these families who desperately want to find their missing loved one."

To view the KSP Kentucky NamUs website visit: http://www.kentuckystatepolice.org/kymissing.html

For more information on the NamUs program visit http://namus.gov/