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Application for Funding to Support the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)

Award Information

Award #
2016-MU-BX-K007
Funding Category
Competitive
Location
Awardee County
Tarrant
Congressional District
Status
Open
Funding First Awarded
2016
Total funding (to date)
$26,944,293

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $4,700,000)

As submitted by the applicant:

The sheer volume of cases poses one of the greatest challenges to agencies tasked with locating missing persons and identifying remains. Resolving the almost 100,000 combined missing and unidentified person cases in the U.S. is difficult – if not impossible – without a central clearinghouse for case information. NamUs fulfills this need and allows the public – including family members – to participate in the search for missing loved ones.

Since 2011, the UNT Health Science Center (UNTHSC) has managed NamUs in collaboration with NIJ. Evidenced by a nearly five-year track record of success, UNTHSC brings an enormous wealth of experience, expertise, and commitment to supporting NamUs stakeholders. UNTHSC’s leadership has had a significant impact on case reports and resolutions, and has created a mature organizational structure and strategic plans focused on:

• Building and solidifying the NamUs brand
• Performing critical upgrades to the existing NamUs software (NamUs 2.0)
• Building new technologies to support critical incident response
• Expanding the suite of NamUs services
• Developing and implementing communication and outreach strategies
• Resource forecasting to support NamUs/ growing user base

Under UNTHSC’s leadership, NamUs has grown to a full-fledged organization that serves as a force multiplier for law enforcement, medical examiners, coroners, and affiliated professionals, providing forensic and investigative support to drive case resolutions. Through NamUs and allied UNTHSC forensic services, all funded by NIJ, stakeholders are provided with forensic odontology, fingerprint examination, mitochondrial and nuclear DNA analyses, and forensic anthropology. UNTHSC will also add a forensic artist to meet the growing demand for facial reconstructions of unidentified decedents under this proposal.

The UNTHSC/NamUs Analytical Unit performs analyses to resolve cases and compiles in-depth program performance reports to NIJ. The UNTHSC/NamUs Communications Division focused on further positioning NamUs with key stakeholders, and developing communications strategies surrounding the NamUs 2.0 upgrade and critical incident solution development. Training, outreach, and awareness remain critical to UNTHSC’s NamUs management plan and include staff participation in cost-effective training, outreach, and awareness events.

UNTHSC brings an expert team of forensic, analytical, and Regional System Administrator staff members who have become investigative partners with the stakeholders they serve. The UNTHSC team believes that every victim deserves a voice; every missing person case deserves attention; and collaboration, communication, and connection are critical to resolving missing and unidentified person cases. By bringing people, information, forensic science, and technology together, NamUs and UNTHSC will continue to facilitate resolution of cases across the country.

ca/ncf

Date Created: September 18, 2016