JUSTICE DEPARTMENT LAUNCHES NATIONAL MISSING AND UNIDENTIFIED PERSONS INITIATIVE (NAMUS)
Initiative Will Include Database to Provide National Search and Match of Unidentified Human Remains with Records of Missing Persons
WASHINGTON -- The Department of Justice today announced the launch of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons Initiative (NamUs) to provide the nation's medical examiners, coroners, victim advocates, law enforcement agencies and the general public with the ability to simultaneously search the records of missing persons and unidentified human remains in an effort to solve cases.
"Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has emphasized the importance of providing families and law enforcement with the important information that is often critical to solving missing person and unidentified dead cases," said Assistant Attorney General Regina B. Schofield, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). "OJP is proud to lead in addressing this critical problem and fulfilling the request of the Attorney General to improve this nation's ability to identify the missing and put names to the unidentified dead."
Developed by the National Institute of Justice; OJP's research, development, and evaluation component, NamUs provides a national database for unidentified remains for the use of medical examiners and coroners. Ultimately, NamUs will link records from the unidentified remains database with missing persons records through a search and matching tool. NamUs will also serve as a national repository for information on unidentified remains, and missing persons and the resources from around the country. It will be designed to facilitate the work of the diverse community of individuals and organizations who investigate missing and unidentified persons. The NamUs Web site is located at www.namus.gov.
The vast majority of unidentified remains cases are currently inaccessible for law enforcement investigative purposes, and are not available to the general public. NamUs will provide an additional tool for law enforcement; and access for medical examiners, coroners, missing person clearinghouses, and the public to track and solve these cases.
The creation of NamUs was motivated by an overwhelming need for a central reporting system for unidentified remains cases. Once complete, NamUs will provide access nationally to clearinghouse capabilities for reporting, locating and matching missing persons records to unidentified remains records. NamUs will use matching formulas that continuously search for similarities between missing person and unidentified person records. Individuals will be able to search the NamUs database using characteristics such as demographics, anthropologic assessments, dental information and distinct body features.
The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Assistant Attorney General Regina B. Schofield, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has five component bureaus: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime. Additionally, OJP has two program offices: the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy, and the Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking Office (SMART). More information can be found at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov.