Friday, July 13, 2012

NAMUS

      One of the problems that families encounter when working with law enforcement is that there tends to be compartmentalization of information about missing persons. There are numerous on-line missing persons databases- some run by private groups or individuals, some by state or local law enforcement agencies throughout the country. Cross-communication among these many sites is not good. As families try to get the word out about their missing family member, it is tempting to try to "register" or enroll in all of these data bases. It is difficult to maintain accuracy and to update information on these sites once the initial submission has been made.  In recent years there has been an attempt to coordinate some of these activities. Probably the best centralized repository for data on missing persons is NAMUS- the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. The structure and functions of the organization are summarized in this publication.  

      Launched in 2009, NAMUS provides a systematic way for local law enforcement and families to upload their information, while filtering to some extent. As a clearing house it allows better avenues for matching unidentified bodies or remains with actual missing persons, with options for uploading dental records or DNA information. Members of the public can submit cases, but they are not made available on the site until verified by the local investigatng agency. Check 'em out. 

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