Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Introducing NamUs

From KnoxNews.Com
Names, the missing matched on NamUs
By Jim Balloch
Posted July 19, 2009 at midnight

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, or NamUs, is the first national system designed to compare information about unidentified remains with missing persons cases.

Funded by the U.S. Justice Department, it is available, free of charge, to law enforcement and the public, at

"This has the potential to truly revolutionize the handling of cases of missing persons and unidentified remains," said Todd Matthews, the Southeast regional director for NamUs. "It is a huge step forward for investigators, and it gives the families and friends of missing persons a chance to become part of the process of finding their loved one."

Victims' families, police agencies, medical examiners, coroners and the general public can search for possible matches between missing persons and unidentified decedents.

To keep ongoing investigations secure, part of NamUs is set aside for law enforcement access only, so investigators can post and share information or details they do not wish made public, Matthews said.

NamUs has two databases: One has information about unidentified bodies, entered from medical examiners and coroners. It can be searched using characteristics such as sex, race, tattoos or other distinct body features, and dental information. The other contains information on missing persons cases.

Law enforcement users will have the ability to automatically cross-reference the two databases, reducing the time it takes an investigator to search them. If a close match is found, the investigator can turn to forensic services to conduct further testing, such as a dental records check or a DNA test.

NamUs only began taking records in January and is still in the growing stages. While the FBI's National Crime Information Center, or NCIC, will have around 100,000 missing persons cases listed as "active" at any given time, NamUs currently has 1,828 such cases, plus cases of 5,329 unidentified human bodies, according to Justice Department spokeswoman Sheila Jerusalem. But 43 states and 225 law enforcement agencies have started participating, and more are expected to enroll as they become aware of the program, she said.

The News Sentinel asked the Justice Department when and if current cases in the NCIC database would be added to the NamUs system, but that information was not provided in time for inclusion in this series.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Something to think about

"Life doesn't cease to be funny when people die, any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh."
George Bernard Shaw
1856 - 1950

"It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this."
Bertrand Russel
1872 - 1970

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
Martin Luther King Jr
1929 - 1968

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Kristin Lodge-Miller Memorial

Kristin Lodge-Miller Memorial

Even with the help of the people at the Rape Crisis Center, I still had trouble finding this. Originally, I was told the memorial marker was at the spot where the shrine (or pile of flowers) used to be, which was on the other side of the street, near Phillips Middle School, on Estes Drive in Chapel Hill.

Actually, it is near the driveway of the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, which is next door to Amity Methodist Church. It's tucked back a ways from the sidewalk, in the shade of some trees, and it's easy to walk by without seeing it.

When I first wrote about Kristin Lodge-Miller 2 years ago in this blog, I reported that I was unable to find very much about her on a Google search. Now there's quite a bit in there. I think the Eve Carson case had a lot to do with bringing this story back into the news of Chapel Hill. For me, this will be a part of our local history I will always remember.

Be safe out there, and remember the date of July 15, 1993.