The Missing and Unidentified

Discussion in 'Missing Archives' started by laini, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. laini

    laini cemetery walker

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    I hope this is the right place to post this. It is more of a general thought on all cold cases than a specific case. When I look at all the missing adults' photos and names on the National Center for Missing Adults website, and then look at all the unidentified bodies on the doenetwork, I wonder how many match right now. They must match. There are SO MANY. So many look familiar. Where do you begin and how can we match them up. I know there are many people doing just that and the doenetwork works hard solving these cases.

    I am afraid of sounding obsessed, but I feel I would need to print up all the missing adults pictures and then go through the unidentified persons to try to match them, but how else can this be done? The family isnt always able to do an internet search, nor are the local police doing it sometimes. Does anybody else feel this way? Am I the only one who thinks the answers are there right now for many cases?

    thanks for any thoughts you have,

    laini
     
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  3. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    I'm having a bad day, after my experience with the NJ State Police (see the Blairstown Jane Doe thread). An aggravation of mine is the fact that law enforcement refuses to recoginize the resource available to them. How many of us are there that go through site after site after site...Doe Network, Charley Project, newspaper archives... searching for the missing pieces of their investigations? We don't carry badges, but is that really necessary for what I am talking about, "sleuthing" in the 21st century? Those of us on this site alone network very well throughout the world, and have developed truly plausible theories and matches that, unfortunately, we don't have the resources to follow up on.
    A concentrated effort on the part of the media and an updated attitude on the part of law enforcement would go a long way to resolving many of the cases we ourselves discuss. A massive expansion of the NCMEC, giving it more resources to follow up on the tips and suggestions made by people like us--a centralized information center, if you will, with the scope of the Office of Homeland Security--would be a serious help.
    Shadowangel's opinion.
     
  4. KatherineQ

    KatherineQ Former Member

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    Liani - I know just how you feel.

    I've gone through all the information in the "unidentified" section, and read it several times each case.

    It's unbelievable. Some of those cases sound like transients, and the family never knew what happened to them, and probably won't ever take the time to look.

    Some of the others, though, sound like they were living completely normal lives, well-dressed, well-groomed, and then they were killed and no one ever attempted to find them.

    But I also think when I read through some of them, they've gotten a detail so completely wrong (age, date of death, etc. ) that it keeps them from being identified - they are ruled out by searchers as not a possibility.

    Best wishes with trying to cross-match them. I did send in a couple thoughts on several of them, but they were pretty long-shots.
     
  5. pugsley

    pugsley New Member

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    I hear ya Shadowangel. I've had those days. I've had lack of communication when there was positive news to get back to me with. And found out through other means.

    I'm sure we are not alone either.
     
  6. Marilynilpa

    Marilynilpa New Member

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    I certainly understand your frustration. If I were independently wealthy, I would spend my time trying to match up missing adults with descriptions of unidentified adults. But as it is, I just spend some of my spare time doing that.

    The various missing persons websites do a great job, but often they are not given much to go on by law enforcement.

    I agree with you that the solution to a lot of missing persons cases is out there, just waiting to be found.
     
  7. reportertype

    reportertype Dogs are awesome!

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    I add my agreement. I saw an older thread on this forum about Hillsborough Co. Sheriff's Office starting a cold-case squad with a part-time retired detective a volunteers from the community. I would love to work on something like that. I hope it's an idea that catches on with agencies, though I'm sure some LE won't want ordinary folks messing with files and such. But I think it's a great idea.
     
  8. Richard

    Richard New Member

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    You make a very important point here. There are some bits of information that are unknown, mistyped, or just bad estimates to begin with. You have to take everything with a grain of salt, and NOT rule out anything when trying to make matches.

    Only a short time ago, there was a Doenetwork match in which the estimated age of the unknown person was about 20 years off.

    The "art" and "science" of matching unknowns to missing persons will improve as more older cases are entered into the system, and a better way of "sorting" on that information is developed. What is in the various data bases that you see on line is only the tip of the iceberg in a way. There are many many more missing persons NOT listed, and the same is true for many unknown bodies. But the good news is that more older cases are being added all the time.
     
  9. marylandmissing

    marylandmissing New Member

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    Shadow, this is all true. However, there are a lot of laws coming about right now that likely affect "why." Due to the President's DNA initiative, a lot of money is being pumped into dna testing for UIDs and missing. For the last year, law enforcement specialists all over the country have been meeting to discuss the Model Legislation of the missing, which is being enacted in all states soon. NCMEC works closely with police departments, they have been a part of the National Strategy meetings, and are pushing the Child Safety Act of 2005...Not saying this to make it sound like they shouldn't, but just saying that a lot of law enforcement sees drastic changes coming to solve these cold-cases.
     
  10. LButler

    LButler New Member

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    I too look at the unidentified people sections and think, dear god, these people had mothers and fathers, family of some sort, somewhere, people they worked with or encountered in their day-to-day lives....does someone not notice them being GONE? However, I think many of these cases, the only ones that can ID them may be responsible for them being DEAD and therefore, they're not gonna talk.

    I think one fact that slips from everyone's mind is that most police dept's are understaffed. Current crime and paperwork doesn't take a break so that they can devote all their manpower to solving an old crime. It probably takes a truly dedicated police person with a mind like ours here (we just have to figure it out) to keep digging on these old (or older) cases. Hence, they should be thrilled that people like us are working so hard on some of these things.

    I e-mailed in a tip on a missing person from my area and I got a personalized response from the police chief who was passing it on to the detective handling the case. I have not heard an update yet. What is everyone's thought on following up? What is a reasonable amount of time to follow up?

    And, here's a big one for me. Let's just say that you do phone in tip that leads to a postive id (I'm not that confident on this one, I've just been thinking) and what if there was a reward in connection to that kind of info? What would be protocol on accepting that? I would feel so guilty taking the money because I don't think any of us do this for the money. Any thoughts from others? Ever been in that situation and what did you do?
     
  11. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    I sent in one tip- sent it to the Ontario Police and to the local sheriff handling the missing person case. Never heard back from either one.

    There is one thing we can do right now though. I posted some info in the missing forum re: the push being on to establish a national DNA database, and the need to require DNA testing on all unidentified remains which are found. We can support this by contacting our senator's, and representatives. Because it is going to costs big bucks- they are going to need to know that we are behind the expenditure. Take a look at the articles:
    http://websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31583
     
  12. laini

    laini cemetery walker

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    So many good points! Thanks for replying, everybody.

    :) laini
     
  13. annemc2

    annemc2 her name is Suzanne Marie Sevakis

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    You know, I thought about that once, like what would I do if I was offered reward money for solving a case (cold or otherwise). I would totally find a worthwhile cause related to the missing (DoeNetwork or Project Jason or something similar) and donate all of it. Knowing that the money would be used to help solve other cases would be the greatest reward. (cheesy, yes, but true! :blushing: )
     
  14. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    Not cheesy at all. I think that is where the money should go.
    There are certainly things we can all do. As suggested, write your local legislators. Visit your local PD to see what can be done in the commmunity-our town has the same yearly festival that all towns do, and through enough nagging and pushing (and politically connected in-laws!) I was able to convince our town's PD to set up a kids' ID booth. They now fingerprint and photograph the kids, giving the parents an "ID card" of sorts that can help in the case of an abduction. They can also collect DNA swabs at the parent's request. This year, they even posted pictures of local missing people and had someone on hand to answer questions. It was a great success, in my opinion. Will it make a big difference in the long run? Time will tell, but if it helps raise awareness of the issue, it will have been worth it.
    Money should not, and can not, be an issue here, and its up to us to make that clear.
    Identifying remains is not just important in giving the families "closure", but also in identifying the person(s) responsible and making sure they don't have the opportunity to hurt anyone else.

    We are at war for the safety of our children, folks, and at this point I feel like the pedophiles and child murderers (and their enablers) are winning. Can there really be anything more important in our society today?
     
  15. LButler

    LButler New Member

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    shadowangel ... good work on the kids' booth at your festival. I think our local LE does a pretty good job on that. They used to go out to the grade schools fairly early in the school year and fingerprint... the first graders (I think). Anyway, parents (even adults need to do this) need to be drilled on the importance of keeping GOOD, EASY TO SEE, CLOSE-UP photos of their kids and updating them about every 6 months or so. It's sad to see on the "missing" files that the only photos available for some people are very poor. Also, if I were a parent and my kid had a distinguishing birth mark or a scar, I would take a very detailed picture of that as well.
     
  16. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    I would get my kids Lo-Jacked, if I could. To me, I see child abduction as a form of terrorism in a way...My 14 year-old wants to walk from to school to a friend's home, just a few short blocks away, and I can't do it because I am so afraid of what might happen (and my kid's a monster---5'10 and over 180 pounds...)
     
  17. Ken

    Ken Former Member

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    This is an interesting topic...

    It's amazing that Vegas has face recognition software and yet as a society, this technology hasn't been put to use to identify the missing and bring them home.

    We are dealing with an epidemic here. I don't believe that law enforcement alone can stop this epidemic. They can't even stop domestic violence. In Michigan, domestic violence takes place in one out of every three homes. Of course, domestic violence is another epidemic in and of itself. This country is experiencing an epidemic of indifference and lethargy.

    The catch 22 is that the vast majority of people don't care. They really don't. They want to be entertained. For example, the Natalee Holloway story is pure entertainment. What will Van Der Sloot do next? Tune in next week...

    Laini, I do admire your obsession about missing people and unidentified bodies. However, you lack imagination and creativity. You don't think outside the box and you play it way too safe. It's a losing combination.

    What I find truly annoying about you is that you are capable of so much more and yet you manage to underachieve.

    Ken
     
  18. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    It is funny you should bring this up. I have been thinking the last couple of days. They use the facial recognition technology in many different ways. One of the major ones is in watching for terrorists to come into the country through the airlines.
    If they had the technology installed at the missing and exploited, doe network, and North American missing organizations- I wonder how successful it would be with matching to the sketches and reconstructions they do? Or could software be developed that takes the measurements they use in the reconstructions, and somehow use it in making comparisons of pictures of the missing? I don't know enough about the technology aspect to know if this is already being used, or if anyone is working on it. But if they had something like this, and loaded the various databases and ran checks on all of them, it could make the process so much faster.
     
  19. Richard

    Richard New Member

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    You put forward some very interesting points and are years ahead in your thinking! I think that everyone has been frustrated in one way or another when trying to search the databases that you mention - often because the authors of the sites have not fully considered basic sorting techniques. There is a lot of information available, but to access it often requires the old eyeball scan.

    Each website could make an immediate improvement if it would include a section on how to scan/sort it. For instance: if you wanted to try to find a match in the Missing Persons with a John Doe, age 20 to 30, height between 5ft 10in and 6ft, with brown hair who died before January 1986 - there should be a way to use the computer to ask that information of the Missing Person data base. Each website has its own databases and some have sortable categories, while others only have text.

    There are some folks who are very good at getting into the data bases and searching them, and perhaps a topic here in Websleuths could be added with links to various websites and instructions and tips on how to best use them.

    Face recognition software could be used in some cases very easily. For instance, there are some cases where actual photos (taken while living) exist of unknowns. And then there are morgue photos of some unknowns which would be more difficult to match to photos of living persons. I think that it would be very difficult to try to match most artist renditions to photos of missing persons. But anything is worth a try, and it seems that this may be a valuable tool in the future.
     
  20. Marilynilpa

    Marilynilpa New Member

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    I posted this on another thread, but it seems appropriate to post it here as well, since we're discussing our frustrations about matching missing people to missing unidentified victims.

    "It's as if America fought a secret war and suffered tens of thousands of casualties, each an unknown soldier buried in an unmarked grave.

    Missing-person experts estimate that the bodies of 40,000 to 50,000 unidentified men, women and children have been found by police during the past 50 years. These John, Jane and Baby Does were sent to local coroners and medical examiners for examination and then anonymously buried or cremated.

    Most are murder victims. But in what one expert calls "a silent crisis," the vast majority of unidentified bodies go unreported to state or federal authorities, according to a Scripps Howard News Service study of confidential FBI records."

    The link for the complete article is:
    http://news.cincypost.com/apps/pbcs...EWS01/510290372

    I don't know what we can do to change this, but it should be mandatory that ALL unidentified bodies are reported to state or federal authorities.

    The information on sites such as the Doe Network is helpful when we try to match a missing person with an unidentified body, but obviously there are a great many unidentified bodies who never make it onto the Doe Network and similar sites.
     
  21. Richard

    Richard New Member

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    Very true of both Unidentified bodies AND Missing persons. If you look at the Doenetwork Chronological listings of Unidentified bodies, you will see that there are many more in recent years, and fewer and fewer as you go back in time. This is because references to those Unidentified bodies are buried in paper files, news clippings, and family memories.

    Compounding the problem of making matches is Doenetwork's own policy of NOT including Missing Persons until Seven years have passed. By anyone's definition, it makes them all Cold Cases from the day they are listed.

    That said, one needs to realize that ten years ago, nothing like this even existed, so it is a developing resource. If you check daily update sections of those websites, you will see that they are constantly being updated. If anyone has information from concerning a Missing Person or an Unidentified Body that is NOT in the data base, write it up and send it in to them.
     

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