The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) is a national information clearinghouse and resource center for missing, unidentified, and unclaimed person cases across the United States.
600,000Individuals go missing every year
4,400Unidentified bodies are recovered each year
The Nation's Silent Mass Disaster
The sheer volume of missing and unidentified person cases poses one of the greatest challenges to agencies tasked with resolving these important cases.
Over 600,000 individuals go missing in the United States every year. Fortunately, many missing children and adults are quickly found, alive and well. However, tens of thousands of individuals remain missing for more than one year – what many agencies consider “cold cases”.
It is estimated that 4,400 unidentified bodies are recovered each year, with approximately 1,000 of those bodies remaining unidentified after one year.
NamUs is a national information clearinghouse and resource center for missing, unidentified, and unclaimed person cases across the United States. Funded and administered by the National Institute of Justice and managed through a contract with RTI International, all NamUs resources are provided at no cost to law enforcement, medical examiners, coroners, allied forensic professionals, and family members of missing persons.
Who Uses NamUs
NamUs connects law enforcement with tools and resources to resolve missing person cases, including state-of-the-art technology to securely store, share, and compare case information with other criminal justice professionals.
Medical Examiners & Coroners
NamUs provides technology and resources to resolve unidentified decedent cases across the country. The NamUs Analytical Division also assists with the location of family members for next of kin death notifications and DNA sample collections for comparison.
Families of Missing Persons
NamUs provides tools that empower family members of missing persons to enter and search case information, and connects families with criminal justice professionals to assist in the search for their missing loved ones.
NamUs 2.0 Technology
The NamUs database application fills the nation’s need for a unified, online, free, secure database for unidentified remains and missing persons records.
NamUs provides free forensic services, to include forensic odontology, fingerprint examination, forensic anthropology, and DNA analyses. Family DNA collection kits are also provided at no cost.
NamUs' seasoned staff consult on cases and support criminal justice efforts to drive resolution – all free of charge.
Training & Outreach
NamUs subject matter experts provide free training and perform direct outreach to families of the missing by coordinating Missing Person Day events with agencies across the country.
NamUs is working to close data gaps related to missing indigenous persons, and to ensure that every tribal law enforcement agency knows about and can use the NamUs program to help resolve cases. NamUs provides a tool for sharing and comparing case information across jurisdictional boundaries.
The Success of NamUs
[note 2] Medical Examiners And Coroners' Offices, 2004. Matthew J. Hickman, Ph.D., Kristen A. Hughes, M.P.A., Bureau of Justice Statistics, Kevin J. Strom, Ph.D., Jeri D. Ropero-Miller, Ph.D., DABFT, RTI International