Archive | unidentified

New Tool to Locate US Missing Persons Online

Attention Miami Dade Police, City of Miami Police, US Law enforcement, medical examiners, coroners, victim advocates, volunteers and families of missing persons:

There is an incredible online tool, the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). This online tool allows you to search records of missing persons and unidentified human remains (recovered throughout the country) in an effort to SOLVE CASES. Anyone can search the national database using characteristics such as sex, race, body features and dental information. If you have a missing loved one, MAKE SURE to have their information listed on this FREE database! NamUs has already begun solving cases!

Washington Post article, The NamUs System

“There are perhaps 40,000 sets of unidentified human remains held by medical examiners and coroners across the country, according to government estimates. A patchwork of record-keeping policies govern the related data.

With that in mind, the Justice Department has created the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), a searchable database of “unidentified decedents,” in hopes of matching remains to missing persons, an estimated 100,000 of which exist in the U.S. at any given time.

The more information in a NamUs profile, the more likely a match can be made. NamUs has created a five-star rating system indicating how much information is in a file, a hint at how likely it might be that the remains can be identified.”

Early in 2009, I submitted my friend, Lily Aramburo (missing from Miami, FL since June 2007) into NamUs. All the information we had on Lily (including pictures of Lily and her tattoo) was entered; except for Lily’s dental records and NCIC number, which we did not have. Lily Aramburo NamUs profile

In February, while searching the database, I got a match for skeletal remains found in Broward County, FL. I got in touch with the Medical Examiner’s Office and they made contact with law enforcement in Miami Dade. Soon they had the two DNAs compared and were able to get a quick turn around time regarding the results. The University of North Texas and the F. B. I. both had mitochondrial DNA profiles already established. Therefore, based on their unidentified decedent’s profile and Lily’s mom’s profile, the labs came to the conclusion that it could not possibly be Lily.

A short time later, I was contacted by Tony, the Regional System Administrator at NamUs. He said his goal was to make Lily’s file as complete as possible to enhance a resolution. He offered to help get Lily’s NCIC number, as well as working on contacting Lily’s dentist. Thanks to Tony we were finally able to acquire Lily’s NCIC number! The National Crime Information Center number for Lucely “Lily” Aramburo is M497579638. (For some reason, law enforcement didn’t want to share it with us.) We are grateful to Tony and the caring staff at NamUs. Everyone has been so willing to go out of their way to help.

Everyone NEEDS TO KNOW about NAMUS. Law Enforcement and Medical Examiner’s need to know about NamUs. Please make sure to help spread the word! 

Recommended reading:

New Path To Restore Identities Of Missing

Names, the missing matched on NamUs

14 years later, missing Va. boy ID’d via national tool

Families of the missing can search from home

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Florida Police: Get With The Times!

I’ve spent ridiculous amounts of time researching missing persons, especially in Florida. I’ve probably visited most police department websites in the state. I leave feeling terribly disappointed most of the time. It’s frustrating to visit a police website for info on their missing person cases only to realize they are nowhere to be found. In the digital age, there’s no excuse for police departments NOT to keep their current Amber Alerts, missing person cases and unsolved homicides posted on their websites. You would think something so important would not get overlooked! On that note, I’d like to share a few examples of what I consider good and bad.

The Bad:

  • City of Miami Police Department: their website has a link to their missing person cases. However, they don’t keep in updated. They’ve been displaying the same 2 missing person cases since 2007! 
  • Miami Dade Police: they update their site from time to time but…(and this is a big one) on their missing persons page, they have NO information about their open/unsolved cases! Instead, they have a handful of links to sites that are not part of MDPD and a search engine below that. 

If police departments want to close more cases they’re going to have to be more effective than the examples above.

The Good:

  • This agency is doing an excellent job integrating news, videos, open missing person cases and their unidentified victims. I’m referring to the one and only Broward Sherriff’s Office. The BSO website is user-friendly and includes news, videos, sexual offender search, missing persons, victim services, safety tips, and more. I appreciate that it’s updated frequently with their current missing person cases and “Operation Found and Forgotten“. This effort by Broward Sherriff’s Office to identify their Jane and John Does can be very effective. They have a much better chance of identifing their victims. Follow this link and look at the photos. (You can report your tips to Crime Stoppers of Broward County anonymously at by calling (954)493-TIPS, toll free at (866)493-TIPS or online at

Police should embrace social media wholeheartedly. Using online social networks have many advantages. It’s the most effective way to disseminate information expediently at no cost. You can use the sites to distribute Amber Alerts, missing person alerts, press releases, breaking news, events, crime prevention etc. These social sites allow for people to share information, videos, and photos easily, disseminating information faster than traditional ways. Police departments should be using YouTube as well. 

Take a look at BSO’s site. Follow their lead. Get with times and learn to use social networking sites to communicate and engage!


Last Day to Vote for National Protocol for Missing And Unidentified Person Cases

Reminder: Today is the last day to submit your vote to Establish National Protocol in Missing and Unidentified Person Cases through’s Ideas for Change in America. If you haven’t added your vote, please do so now, time is running out! The first round of voting for the Ideas for Change in America competition will end tonight, December 31 at midnight Pacific Time. All you have to do is click on the widget below and sign in or register (it’s easy) and vote!

Establish National Protocol in Missing and Unidentified Person Cases

Every 30 seconds someone in the U.S. disappears, an average of 850,000 persons per year. Of that number, approximately 105,000 remain as open cases, unresolved. There are also unknown numbers of unidentified deceased persons, with estimates as high as 50,000. With modern technologies, available resources and tools, more cases could be resolved. With law enforcement budgets slashed, available training and knowledge of these tools and resources remain out of the grasp of many agencies. Cases go unresolved, family members remain in pain needlessly, criminals go free, and the unidentified deceased are buried and even cremated, taking the answers with them, sometimes forever. The Department of Justice crafted model legislation which would give law enforcement, coroners, and medical examiners the necessary protocol and tools to correct this injustice. Efforts have been made to pass this legislation on a state by state basis, but this process has proven to be slow. Each day that passes without these procedures in place increases the number of missing persons who may never be recovered, and unidentified deceased persons who might never be named. The legislation provides law enforcement with a check list of information to acquire from the family of the missing person, databases and other resources to utilize, such as DNA analysis, and the new NamUs. Coroners and medical examiners are given procedures to report the unidentified deceased, and enter all available identifiers into national databases, such as fingerprints, dental records, and DNA analysis. The text of the legislation can be found here: