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Mon Dec 21, 2020, 11:47 PM

 

(1) How Unsolved Missing Person Cases Are Solved (Pt. 1) [View all]

Last edited Wed Feb 3, 2021, 01:06 PM - Edit history (23)

Pt. 2: https://www.democraticunderground.com/1016286404
An Interview I Did: https://www.democraticunderground.com/12022158


I'm not an expert, by any means, but I've been involved with this for a while.


The FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) recently released its 2019 Missing Person and Unidentified Person statistics. As of December 31, 2019, the NCIC had nearly 87,500 active missing person records. Youth under the age of 18 account for 35 percent of the records, and 44 percent of the missing person records are people under 21.

Missing person records are retained indefinitely—unless a missing individual is located or the reporting agency cancels the entry. During 2019, law enforcement agencies across the country entered more than 609,000 missing person records. During the same time period, reporting agencies canceled more than 607,000 records.


https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/cjis-link/fbi-releases-2019-missing-person-statistics

STATISTICAL PDF:
https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/2019-ncic-missing-person-and-unidentified-person-statistics.pdf/view
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The Doe Network is where I learned the most about finding missing persons.

The Doe Network is a 100% volunteer organization devoted to assisting investigating agencies in bringing closure to national and international cold cases concerning Missing & Unidentified Persons. It is our mission to give the nameless back their names and return the missing to their families.


http://www.doenetwork.org/index.php

To be honest, finding missing persons is NOT easy, especially when you're dealing with cases that date all the way back to when the NCIC started keeping records in 1975. I make it seem easy in my books, but this group is not only serious about what they do, they've also solved some missing person cases themselves, and not only that, but they also have a close connection with many LE agencies in this country and also up in Canada, including the FBI, NAMUS, and the RCMP.

The Nation's Silent Mass Disaster

The sheer volume of missing and unidentified person cases poses one of the greatest challenges to agencies tasked with resolving these important cases.

Over 600,000 individuals go missing in the United States every year. Fortunately, many missing children and adults are quickly found, alive and well. However, tens of thousands of individuals remain missing for more than one year – what many agencies consider “cold cases”.

It is estimated that 4,400 unidentified bodies are recovered each year, with approximately 1,000 of those bodies remaining unidentified after one year.

NamUs is a national information clearinghouse and resource center for missing, unidentified, and unclaimed person cases across the United States. Funded and administered by the National Institute of Justice and managed through a cooperative agreement with the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas, all NamUs resources are provided at no cost to law enforcement, medical examiners, coroners, allied forensic professionals, and family members of missing persons.


https://www.namus.gov/
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Ok, how does the Doe Network help solve these cases?

In the group that I was in, each of us would sort of gravitate towards one specific unidentified body, and then try to deduce clues from the evidence that LE had given us.

After that, it was a free-for-all, with everyone going in different directions, looking for national and international missing person websites, including personal ones, or anything else they could think of that matched their deductions.

One of the founders of the group, Todd Matthews, actually solved a case by using these very same techniques:

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11593868/amateur-detectives-dleuths-solve-crimes-cold-cases-home/


Once someone found a possible, they'd present their evidence, we'd discuss it, and then vote on it. If it was approved, the evidence was sent off to the appropriate LE agency for confirmation.

One time, we got a letter from one of the families we'd helped, and it made me cry. They'd lost all hope of ever finding their daughter, but at least now, they had some kind of closure. It's never really enough, but most of the time, it's still better than not knowing at all.

Even though most of the evidence was from the web, it was fascinating the different ways folks figured out how to find it. There's my porn lady friend (that I mention below), the website hunters, and then there were the folks searching for tattoo matches, researching clothing and hair styles, different kinds of footwear, knives, guns, old news articles, obituaries, neighborhood newsletters, message boards, and even police records.


My porn lady friend concentrated mostly on sex trafficking victims and spent most of her time scouring porn sites for possibles. You can joke if you want, but she's the one who originally got me interested in missing persons. We both met in a group about ghost, and she was trying to find a missing friend. She recommended that I join the Doe Network, and the rest is history.

(As an aside, my friend found her missing friend, but she was dead from a bizarre car accident, and unfortunately, I haven't kept in touch with her, so I have no idea what the status of the case is today.)

My original job was to post articles about bodies found and missing persons, but after a while, I was getting too emotionally traumatized with the latter and had to switch to just posting UID (UnIdentified Decedents) reports. For some reason, those didn't traumatize me as much.

It was bedlam in many ways, but because of the guidelines and procedures that we had to follow, it was an organized kind of crazy, but I still learned a lot, and maybe you can too, or if have your own personal missing person story, feel free to post it here, but please, always remember that:

One Missing Person is One Person too Many
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ETA: If you have a minute, could you please take a poll about missing persons here:
https://www.democraticunderground.com/100214801094
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