From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Deborah Halber
I recently finished reading The Skeleton Crew: how amateur sleuths are solving America’s coldest cases by Deborah Halber. This book offered a fascinating insight into the world of the unidentified and missing and how a slew of amateurs are seeking to identify and reunite them with their families. The amateur sleuth is drawn to the search for a variety of reasons, ranging from a search for their own missing loved one to pure altruism. I cannot fathom how the number of UID (Unidentified Dead) can be so high but it is estimated to be around 40,000 people. One of the reasons that the number is so high is that the little slip of paper known as a Driver’s License is easily lost, misplaced, or forgotten if perhaps one is intending only to run a quick errand. If this paper is not with the individual and some misadventure befalls the individual, it falls to the police to attempt identification. A tool to aid the police in clearing the backlog of UID is to have a website for law enforcement and the public to peruse if they are looking for a match to a missing person. In addition to national databases, many states have their own state websites for the Unidentified Dead. Pets are equipped with microchips and human beings are not. Now, just imagine how much this simple procedure would influence the number of UIDs. The Doenetwork.org, NamUS.gov, and many more exist out there. One only needs to use the search term “unidentified dead” and you will be inundated with sites on which you can expend and hone your sleuthing energies.