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Finding the Lost at UNT Health Science Center


Photo courtesy of NamUs

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons database – also known as NamUs – brings a whole new meaning to the word volunteer work. Managed and administered by professionals at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, the database not only allows law enforcement, coroners and families to dig through thousands of reports on missing and unidentified persons, but it also allows volunteers to assist in sifting through cases to connect the dots.

“You don’t have to be law enforcement or a family member to go into the database and help solve cases,” said B.J. Spamer, director of training and analysis for NamUs.

As of October 2014, more than 20,000 cases have been submitted to NamUs for analysis. Of those, over 7,000 have been resolved, many with direct assistance from NamUS. Once a case is put into the system, NamUs gets to work collecting forensic materials to assist in resolving the case. These could include dental records, DNA or fingerprints. While certain information may be limited to law enforcement agencies, volunteers can log into the NamUs website and begin comparing cases, often seeing minute details that may have been previously overlooked.

To learn more about NamUs, the UNT Health Science Center and their incredible work, read our feature article on the program in the latest issue of NTX Magazine Volume 5 – North Texas: A Knowledge Destination here.

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