For many years, there have been several cases of dead people throughout the world that are pending due to lack of identification of the diseased. For instance, Milwaukee County has a record of numerous deaths in years and are currently being handled by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office. Some of these cases can be traced back to the 1970s and involve anonymous adults, infants, and fetuses that the Medical Examiner’s Office was not able to recognize over the years or even trace their relatives.
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In an endeavor to identify the deceased individuals as well as their family members, the medical officers have taken some steps which might help them obtain recognition of the deceased individuals as well as the families in question to inform them of their family member’s demise and thus clear the associated cold cases. Such identification can be made by visually recognizing the deceased person or through a photograph of the deceased taken after the demise.
Moreover, taking photographs of the deceased person’s distinctive tattoos, dental aspects, and other outstanding features can also be used in making an identification (McLaughlin par.1). The officers may also use scientific means of identification such as DNA analysis, determining the race and sex, or even evaluating the fingerprints or dental records of the deceased taken before their demise.
This has been achieved by using modern internet facilities where the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has launched a website dubbed ‘The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System’ (NAMUS). Through this website, the law enforcement agencies and the Medical Examiner Offices, can feed information regarding the unidentified individuals into the NAMUS database and probably compare them with the information of missing individuals, which has also been fed into the NAMUS database (McLaughlin par. 2).
All the cases on this website are entered into NAMUS and are made available for public viewing. In case anyone has any information about the unidentified individuals listed on this website, he/she is asked to contact the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office using a given number where they can talk to an Investigator who is always available.
Even though this may sound ghastly, this seems to be a tremendous way that the unidentified human remains can get the justice that they too much deserve. However, some anthropologists argue that viewing the photographs of deceased individuals may be traumatizing to some relatives. To take care of such people, the Milwaukee venture arranged this site with great care. The website has two pages containing graphic content caution before anyone can observe the deceased’s photographs. This was meant to ensure that these photos are only available to those who have thoroughly exhausted comparing all other leads (McLaughlin par. 3). After all, any grieving family that has reported a missing person would rather find out their loved one even if dead rather than living with the trauma of never knowing whatever happened to them.
In conclusion, it is predicted that there are at least 40,000 cases of unidentified deceased remains in the United States of America. However, the grassroots approach has significantly contributed to the identification of several people as well as inspiring other agencies within other places, which include Atlanta and Canada, to come up with their own websites. Indisputably, with the formulation of these agencies throughout the nation, it is likely that more cases will end up being solved and thus bring as much resolution to as many families as possible. For this reason, the NAMUS website, as well as other similar upcoming websites, is absolutely worthwhile. In fact, I would recommend the creation of such agencies not only in all counties in the United States of America but also in all nations of the world.
McLaughlin, Eliott. “Milwaukee Hopes Images of Dead Can Heat Up Cold Cases.” 13.m CNN.com. 2012. Web.