I received information from a police department on a submitted possible match. When I asked when it would be updated on the Internet sites (I named them all!) the officer said he was "not familiar with them". I asked him if he checked out the link sourses on my submission and he said that when he does a message pops us showing sites like The Doe Network and other such sites as being "social sites" and unaccessable on LE computers at work. I found this to be disurbing. I immediately began calling contacts at other LE agencies and found the same to be true. Not only do they NOT know about most of these sites, they cannot access them!
This first contact told me that when a match involves one of THEIR cases, the are responsible for making notifications to family but that is all, other than letting me (others submitting) know if it was a match or not.
Who is in charge of updating these "Missing" websites and how long does it take? I have been searching for persons whose cases have been resolved. The best way I know o continue is to use only the NameUs site when submitting because the have their own case managers. I was told o pass it on that NamUs is NOT a LE site and the DOJ does not have input. They merely have a grant from DOJ to operate. So, basically they are like The Doe Network in that is another volunteer organization - but a great one none the less.
Please comment on how you are getting your submissions updated on the missing sites either for ruled out or matched. I think we can be more efficient once we understand who is doing what and when. Suggestions?
Pretty sad isn't it? LE asks for 'tips' all the time, yet when they get a large group of volunteers willing to assist, and spend countless hours some will be ecstatic and greatful, others simply couldn't be bothered. We just had an example of that with a positive match, when the first detective contacted refused to take the information.
I've honestly had more than half of LE respond positively when I've needed to make contact. I was to make my first contact to a ME or coroner, but I can assure you, they are greatful someone is looking at those old John's and Jane's.
My suggestion, if you find yourself getting resistance from LE, regarding a possible match to a missing person within their jurisdiction make sure you email and follow up with both LE and the medical examiner. Give them both a little time, and follow up if you don't hear back. What happened with that case LE refused to take the info, the WS'r contacted NCMEC and LE listened to the same info from NCMEC. When I contacted the coroner he was quicker to move on the possible match than LE. The two did finally talked and ruled out that possible match.
Also, all due respect to LE. They are over burdened, many have more cases than they can handle and they have to make current cases a priority over cold cases. It's likely you may have been put through to an 'investigative aid' or assistant who has specific guidelines with what they are able to access and the info may never get to the person who is in charge of investigating the case.
I'm also sure they get their share of people who are bored out of their mind and call to chat or talk about cases solely out of boredom or loneliness. I'm not suggesting you, or anyone here at WS is doing that.... I am only using the example remembering my real estate days sitting open houses. 10 couples might walk through a home, but maybe one was a serious buyer. They have to make quick decisions with where to spend their time, as did I and not waste my time showing homes to non buyers.
Hopefully as they see more matches being made, and more usable info being submitted rather than 'chat' regarding cases, they'll be more open to hearing from us, rather than not.
hth and keep looking! Everyone deserves a name!
Last edited by Cubby; 11-17-2009 at 11:58 PM.
Thanks Cubby, I aree with all that you say and have found the majority of the ME and many of the LE field appreciative of the potential matches submitted.
Do you or anyone here know how these websites are updated after getting confirmation of a match or if one is ruled out?
Sadly, unless LE or ME updates their sites with rule outs, it's left to us. I'd ask the ME for a list of rule outs if they are available. Sometimes people here add their rule outs, or try to post if they have seen the info availabel elsewhere.
Namus has some info on rule outs, and I think there are some other forums which list rule outs and remember to update more than we do here at WS. You just have to search, and ask.
It would be nice if any of the sites had info regarding rule outs. Just try to add yours as you run across them and we'll all have to rely on searching.
Couldn't we have a separate forum just for rule-outs?
It is fascinating to me that some of the LE don't access many of the useful sites out there. But maybe that also helps reinforce the mission of WS...and the reason we are all here.
I'd like to think that, anyway.
Generally, I have had really nice notes back from LE. Only in one case was the LE terse and un-engaging. As stated previously, most were thrilled someone cared enough to help...
As a rule, I always include links to the post of the case of interest, and give a brief intro of WS as a form of outreach. Maybe if there is enough education about this massive pool of volunteers, the powers that be might be more receptive to opening up lines of communication (ie allowing LE to access these sites at work).
Really, there should be more collaboration across the "cymmunity" to combine efforts and resources. I can see, for instance, how if I was missing a loved one and had no prior exposure I might be intimidated by sites like Doe or Charley...or not realize that neither they nor NaMus are comprehensive. Just the jargon alone can be confusing, not to mention the differing search capabilities/methods.
'Nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person.'
Just some advice, I would stick with Namus for most current info. I was pretty active calling LE and getting updates, turning in matches, but I went back to school and I had to taper off.
I found that it is a 50/50 as far as cooperation from LE. As far as rule outs go, you have to be a member of Doe to access their forum with that info. Porchlight for the missing and unidentified has a forum which anyone can access and there are some ruleouts on there. I know Blue Earth Doe has a site all it's own, how current it is now, I am not sure. When I spoke to the investigator a couple years ago, he was very passionate about solving the case.
If the UID you are needing to turn in a possible match for is on the namus site, use the contact there.
To catch a criminal, you must think like one. (Professor Hamre)
I know the disclaimers seems strongly worded. Pretty common disclaimer. But I can tell you for sure, DOJ & NIJ are very much involved with the workings of NamUs.gov
Though it is not a volunteer org -- NamUs does point out volunteer opportunities.
This is why I always push people to go to the top. If they get the chief of police and even he doesn't care, keep moving up the ladder.
I have a detective that I am in contact with, a lot, and he does a good deal of advocating on his end to get cases open and keep them open. Does really hit him in the gut, and he wants them solved, and can't understand the departments that don't.
Sometimes you will find a law enforcement agency that simply doesn't want the time or expense to test. That's when you may have to climb the ladder, usually culminating with the governor.
I have, on occasion, gotten as high as the governor, been told to leave it alone. I threatened to go to the media by noon the next day, and had a detective call me to get info at 7 am. Persistence is a good thing, and you can't be intimidated.
Some really good agencies to work with:
Texas DPS - dedicated researchers, willing to share any info they can.
Most Medical Examiners, since a lot of the older cases are not assigned, they are picked and have become personal.
Agencies that are hard to work with:
Doe - sorry, just my experience.
California LE - overwhelmed.
IL State - No cold case unit, overwhelmed.
Just keep plugging. You are a voice for someone that has none...sometimes you have to pretty much force people to hear that voice. Always request a callback from them, and if you get one, urge them to put it on Namus as a rule out, make sure they know this will cut down the number of calls they get. If they don't call you back, call them back every few months, and when they finally give you a solid yes or no, urge them to list it.
And never give up.
EDIT: I have spoken to a lot of agencies that also can't access Doe. If there is any other type of information, use that instead of referencing DOE, NCIC listings being the best and most universal. Then if they ask you where you found it, then reference Doe.
Last edited by not_my_kids; 12-08-2009 at 10:50 PM.
JMO. Unless there's a link, I can't prove it.
24 pages worth of rule outs here
7 pages of pending possible matches here
Anyone is welcome to read. No membership necessary.
Some people do crossword puzzles or Soduko in their spare time...I look at skeletal reconstructions and work on UID puzzles. I swear I'm not this morbid in person!
Help Fred Murray find his daughter and bring her home. He should not be walking those woods alone!
What Happened to Maura Murray? http://www.mauramurraymissing.com