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NamUs Investigative Support

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Cold Case Advisors

NamUs Cold Case Advisors hold Department of Justice security clearances and are experienced professionals from the criminal justice and/or forensic science communities.

Cold Case Advisors provide investigative support to missing, unidentified, and unclaimed persons by providing case consultations, assisting with the collection of biometric information, facilitating NamUs forensic services, and providing training and guidance on the effective use of the NamUs 2.0 database application.

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Analytical Division

The NamUs Analytical Division provides case support to the Cold Case Advisors team and criminal justice agencies across the country. The NamUs Analytical Division utilizes nongovernmental criminal justice databases and advanced search techniques to provide:

  • Indication of life for persons reported missing to NamUs
  • Contact information for family members to facilitate DNA sample collections
  • Information regarding next of kin for death notifications
  • Leads related to unidentified person cases
  • Information to assist criminal justice agencies vet tips and leads

NamUs Forensic Services

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DNA Analysis

As part of the new overlapping services strategy, NamUs partners perform nuclear and mitochondrial DNA analyses to assist with the identification of missing and unidentified person cases. In addition to nuclear DNA, our partners are capable of developing and uploading mitochondrial DNA profiles to CODIS

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Forensic Anthropology

NamUs has partnered with several forensic anthropology laboratories to provide the following analyses of skeletal remains to investigating agencies:

  • Determination of forensic significance and postmortem interval estimations
  • Development of demographic profiles – such as sex, ancestry, stature, and age – to aide searches for possible matches
  • Identifications of skeletal remains based on comparisons of medical and radiographic information
  • Trauma analysis to contribute to cause and manner of death determinations
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Fingerprints are a widely recognized and cost-effective biometric marker. They are a reliable means of personal identification that enable rapid comparisons – when submitted to NamUs, fingerprints are immediately available for comparisons that can result in positive identifications or exclusions.

The NamUs Fingerprint/AFIS Unit assists with scanning, classifying, uploading, analyzing, and comparing fingerprint information submitted to NamUs. All fingerprint images provided to NamUs are also digitized and uploaded to an internal AFIS database for searching and comparison, and all unidentified decedent prints are also submitted to the FBI’s Latent Print Unit for searching in the national Next Generation Identification (NGI) database.

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Forensic Odontology

Law enforcement, medical examiners, and coroners rely on dental records to establish legal and verifiable identifications of missing and unidentified persons. Dental records provide an opportunity to make rapid, cost-effective, detailed comparison between individuals for inclusions or exclusions of potential matches. Agencies can directly upload dental information for missing and unidentified person cases to NamUs, which is a secure, central repository.

NamUs forensic odontologists can also be contacted to digitally scan, code, and upload information to NamUs cases on behalf of investigating agencies. All dental information uploaded to NamUs is available for 24/7 professional comparisons. NamUs odontologists also complete NCIC dental worksheets that allow agencies to upload accurate and complete dental information to NCIC.

Date Created: December 21, 2020