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New Law Aims To Improve Pursuit Of Missing Persons Cases

National Missing and Unidentified Persons System

A new state law taking effect in January will make it easier for police to connect unidentified bodies to missing persons cases.

House Bill 2708 will require law enforcement to collect certain types of evidence such as DNA samples from remains they find. These will then be entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System federal database. Captain Abigail Keller, Zone 6 Commander, Illinois State Police, said this in turn will help missing persons investigations.

“It’s also going to allow us to enter that same kind of data, the DNA, the fingerprints, the X-rays, into the NamUs repository so that it can be cross-referenced with those unidentified human remains cases for potential matches," she said. 

Keller said the current database they use, NCIC, is poorly suited to coordinating with other law enforcement groups and even local officials, especially since it can’t be accessed by the public. NamUs,  does, and the extra DNA information from the unidentified remains could help connect evidence with active or unsolved cases already on file. 

ISP can also work with their local crime lab or a NamUS partner lab in Texas, to process DNA solicited from family members of a missing person. That DNA can then be compared with what is found on an unidentified corpse.