Please support a state level legislation to Help Find The Missing, to reunite Missouri missing persons to their families. NamUs, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System was launched in 2007. It can be used by everyone from law enforcement to family members at no cost. NamUs provides a unified database for records and offers forensic services, investigative support and case management. Although open to the public there are different levels of security so that law enforcement can leave in private that is not accessible to the public.
Missouri missing person cases if entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) by law enforcement of jurisdiction then reside on Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Missing Persons Clearinghouse. Access to NCIC is only for criminal justice agencies whereas the clearinghouse is view-able by the public. The public, however, cannot input missing cases into the clearinghouse. Coroners and medical examiners are responsible for unidentified remains but there is no state clearinghouse. In a perfect world DNA, dental, and fingerprints are gathered and entered in appropriate databases but this is not happening. Families of the missing are forced to ambulance chase news reports of bodies found trying to leave no stone unturned. But, the current system has made for far too many stones, scattered everywhere. If someone goes missing and is found yet unidentified in another county, the chances of them falling through the cracks are far too great. NamUs can help bridge this gap.
As of August 2018 there are 575* active missing adults from Missouri. Due to the disconnect, there is no listed number of unidentified remains but 108 are currently reported to NamUs. It only makes sense to have all unidentified and all missing persons in one government repository, NamUs.
The perfect world exists for the families with NamUs but until all are utilizing this successful repository, the disconnects will continue. Families are being forced to suffer the trauma of unknown answers for months, years, and decades when in fact many of their loved ones have been found but the current system cannot make these matches and their reunification does not take place.
Help Find the Missing Act has been passed in the following states: Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and Michigan. Let’s make Missouri the next to pass this necessary legislation to help end our silent disaster.
*at the time this was written. As of August 16, 2018 the number of Missouri missing persons has increased to 600.