National Missing Persons Week
4th - 10th August 2019
Improving the investigation of long-term missing persons and unidentified human remains
“One of the tragedies of missing persons is that it does not discriminate; it is universal. It crosses race, age, gender and class” (Warrington, 2012).
Reference: Warrington, T. (2012). Looking for Alexander. The Big Issue, 9 , 18.
More than 38,000 people are reported missing to police in Australia every year. While the majority are found safe within a short period of time, those who are missing for greater than three months become ‘long-term missing persons’ of which there are currently more than 2000 in Australia.
In the last 12 months the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine has been working closely with Victoria Police and the Coroners Court of Victoria to improve the coordination, collation and analysis of relevant information. This may include details obtained by police who take reports of missing persons from families as well as data obtained by the forensic medical experts who conduct the scientific and medical examination of unidentified human remains.
The core of human identification is the comparison of ante-mortem data, gathered from friends, family and health care providers of the missing person, with post-mortem information gleaned from a thorough forensic medical examination of the remains of the deceased. The usual comparisons involve visual identification, fingerprints, dental information and DNA testing.
The VIFM uses a multidisciplinary approach to the identification of human remains. The way we do this is embedded in our day to day work, and made possible due to the range and experience of the forensic experts who work together under one roof.
The VIFM is also undertaking and collaborating in a number of identification-related research projects approved by the VIFM Ethics Committee. It is anticipated that these projects will create innovative approaches to identification using facial recognition technology, forensic genealogy and bomb pulse dating.
Bomb Pulse DATING
LOCATION OF MISSING PERSONS
Dr Dadna Hartman talks about the Daniel Morcombe case
Associate Professor Soren Blau talks about 'Purple Scarf Man' and forensic anthropology
Please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 if you have additional information about a long term missing person.
Contact VIFM should you require further information about the identification process.