Pictured from Left to Right; Kim Fallon, NH Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Chief Forensic Investigator, Cynthia Caron,President-Founder of LostNMissing, Inc. and NamUs NH Advocate, Mary Kay MacNichol, NH State Police , CJIS Systems Officer, and Dr. Richard R. Scherf, DMD, Forensic Odontologist (not pictured is Jill Rockey NH State Police, Family Services Division)
On November 10, 1985, the skeletal remains of an adult female and one female child were located in Allenstown, NH. On 05-09-2000, the skeletal remains of two additional female children were recovered. DNA testing confirmed that two of the children were biologically related to the adult female. All four victims were found in barrels and may be biologically linked, but DNA results are still pending.
All four decedents are believed to be Caucasian or Native American and they are believed to have died in the early 1980′s.
The adult female was estimated to be between 23 and 32 years of age, was 5’02″ to 5’07″ tall, and had curly light brown hair. The three children were estimated to be:
Child 1) 5-10 years of age; approximately 4′ 03″ tall, had double-pierced ears, and had dark blonde or light brown hair.
Child 2) 4-8 years of age; approximately 3’08″ tall and had a noticeable overbite.
Child 3) 1-3 years of age; approximately 2’05″ tall and had fine blonde hair, approximately 8-12 inches in length.
Their deaths are four of an estimated 40,000 unidentified decedents nationwide, of which many are homicide victims, whose remains since 1975 are held in morgues, buried in pauper’s graves, or cremated. Before they became “Jane Doe” and “John Doe,” they had proper names and real lives. Somewhere, thousands of people are looking for their loved one(s) while hundreds of perpetrators are literally “getting away with murder.” It is a national crisis that presents an immense challenge to our criminal justice system. Hence, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System was born.
The new database , online in 2009, and has over 10,000 users, promises to crack some of the nation’s 100,000 missing persons cases and provide answers to desperate families, but only a fraction of law enforcement agencies are using it. The clearinghouse, http://www.namus.gov, offers a quick way to check whether a missing loved one might be among the 40,000 sets of unidentified remains that languish at any given time with medical examiners across the country. NamUs is free, yet many law enforcement agencies still aren’t aware of it, and others aren’t convinced they should use their limited staff resources to participate. The public may register to search and report information in the missing person database and may search, but not add, information about unidentified persons. Law enforcement officers, coroners and medical examiners and other professionals may register to search and report information to the missing person database and the unidentified persons database. More than two-thirds of the 10,000 registered NamUs users are members of the general public; the balance are death investigation professionals such as coroners, medical examiners and law enforcement officers.
In New Hampshire, “Team NamUs” consists of a group of five, Kim Fallon, NH Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Chief Forensic Investigator, Cynthia Caron, President and Founder of LostNMissing, Inc. and NH NamUs Advocate, Mary Kay MacNichol, NH State Police , CJIS Systems Officer, and Dr. Richard R. Scherf, DMD, Forensic Odontologist and Jill Rockey of the NH State Police, Family Services Division. The NH Team took 1st Place in the Northeastern NamUs Academy, held in Baltimore, MD this past May, in which they held the winning PowerPoint presentation. Any member of the NH Team NamUs is available to meet with law enforcement, health or medical examiner facility in the state of NH to train staff on the benefits of utilizing NamUs. Please contact Cynthia Caron of LostNMissing at 603-548-6548, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org , or contact NamUs through http://www.namus.gov
To date, NamUs is credited with resolving 62 of the missing and unidentified person cases in its databases as of May 2011.
One example is the case of Ronald Norman – On December 8, 1991, Ronald Norman, 42, went missing from the foster care home where he lived in Detroit, Mich. He went for a walk and was never seen again. The following April, two fishermen came across a body floating in Lake Erie. The medical examiner determined the victim’s cause of death was drowning. The unidentified man was buried as “John Doe.” Then in 2008, Mr. Norman’s case was entered into NamUs, and he became Missing Person (MP) case #829. In 2011, the Michigan State Police began entering their unidentified cases into NamUs, and the unidentified man found in Lake Erie became Unidentified Person (UP) case #8484. As soon as the UP case was entered, the NamUs automated cross-matching feature flagged UP #8484 and MP #829 as a potential match. The two cases had similar features – specifically missing teeth, a skull injury and the type of clothing Mr. Norman wore when he was last seen. The medical examiner ultimately made a positive identification of Ronald Newman. This was the first resolved case as a result of the NamUs automated cross-matching feature.