New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo, signed a bill into law requiring all medical examiners and coroners in the state to input unidentified human remains exemplars into the National Missing and Unidentified System, or NamUs for short. Most of the public that even knows about this are scratching their heads on why it wasn’t required before?
According to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), there are about 80,000 active missing persons case in the U.S. every day. Not included in that number is about 40,000 unidentified human remains. That is a lot of families that are searching for their loved ones and seeking closure. NamUs can help on several fronts.
The new law will mandate that all medical examiners / coroners in New York State enter information into NamUs within sixty (60) days. NamUs is the only database of its kind that allows not only law enforcement and medical examiners / coroners to input information but the public as well. That’s the beauty of it – a full functioning searchable database that tries to connect cases from all over the U.S. It is the only time that the victim’s family can play a real role in the investigation. Most families want to help out, but don’t know how. One would have thought that NamUs was a checkoff box on every investigator’s case, but it’s not.
In the near future, NamUs 2.0 will be launched with better searching capabilities as well as a new function: connecting families in critical incidents. A critical incident can range from a terror attack to a tornado. It will have a “check in” feature, which i assume will be similar to that of social media giant, Facebook.
In my opinion, every state should adopt a similar law that not only requires ME’s and coroners, but also for police agencies as well. Not every missing persons case is entered into NamUs.