NamUs is a website that many do not even know about. In fact, there are law enforcement personnel that do not even know about it even though it is a government run website.
NBC Philadelphia ran a story on NamUs that explains not only about it, but also about the disconnect there is between NamUs, NCIC, the public and missing person statistics.
It used to be that NCIC was the only database out there. In fact, to this day it still remains basically the same as it has always been, simple stats on a screen that makes you think you have taken a time machine back to the 1980s. There is no touch screen, no photos, just a green text on a black background provided by the Matrix style at the time.
“NCIC or the National Crime Information Center, is an electronic index of crime data, overseen by the FBI since its launch in January 1967 and only available to federal, state and local law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies,” reports NBC Philadelphia.
The entry of this information relies on law enforcement, so if they have a heavy case load or a secretary or radio operator can’t be wrangled up to help input information, the information may sit for awhile. Even to this day, that information seldom is passed to NamUS.
“A big reason the FBI reports 84,924 active missing person records as of Dec. 31, 2014 while NamUs currently has 10,985 in its system,” reports NBC Philadelphia.
But these two entities were never suppose to meet. NCIC was exclusively for the use by law enforcement and was, and still is, so protected that if law enforcement personnel tried to look up information on their neighbor the database would flag them. NamUs is so wide open that the public can put the information in themselves.
Currently, there is no law that says this information needs to be shared or requires law enforcement to enter what they have into the NamUS database, and I have to agree that it really should remain that way, and the family themselves should be putting the information into NamUS. One reason is because they know the information is in there immediately and they are not waiting around for an LEO to do it AND nobody knows your family member like you do. So, you can put in birth marks, tattoos, and even scars as identifiers.
The criteria to put in a missing person on NamUs is so wide there is nothing holding the general public back from entering in their missing family member. In fact, if you are not even related to the person, but know they are missing you can enter their information into NamUs. It is also turned out to be a wonderful tool for armchair detectives everywhere that have taken on the task of matching a John or Jane Doe.
Just recently, a volunteer known as greymetal shared a flyer of Grateful Doe found on NamUs (Grateful Doe and Jason Callahan have been positive matched by DNA on Dec. 9, 2015). Grateful Doe’s DNA is being tested to see if he is a match with Jason Callahan.
|DNA is being done to find if Bossier Doe (left)
matches missing Carol Cole
Barbara Ann Hackman Taylor was identified as “Tent Girl,” after Todd found her sister.
Luckily, NamUs is now being used by medical examiners who are putting in information on a Jane or John Doe in hopes that they find a match or one shows up when a family enters their missing family member into the database.
With about 40,000 deceased people, whose identities are unknown there is a very good chance that a family can find their long-lost missing family member by using NamUs. And it is important for every one of them to get their DNA put into the system.
As much as I believe it needs to be entirely up to each person that reports a missing person to be responsible for entering their own family information in to the database, it is just as important that law enforcement let these families know about NamUs, and encourage them to follow through and use it. It is very apparent there is a lack of knowledge about NamUs when “only 1,063 missing persons and 1,103 unidentified remains cases have a fingerprint card in the original NamUs database,” reports NBC Philadelphia.
You can read more about NamUs by clicking on this very informative story by NBC Philadelphia – Missing in America: A Mass Disaster Over Time.