DNA-Matching Techniques Improve Prospects In Missing People Cases


Prospects are improving for families of missing people as authorities fine-tune their use of DNA to help resolve cases that once seemed unsolvable, reports the Charlotte Observer. A about 20 or 30 people in Charlotte still aren't found after a year. Five years ago, Charlotte police began collecting DNA from the family members of long-missing people.

Family members run a cotton swab along the inside of their cheeks. The DNA from those samples is sent to FBI lab, and the information is entered into a national database. Coroners and medical examiners around the U.S. collect DNA from thousands of unidentified bodies and sending that information to the national database. The FBI has enhanced the kinship analysis process in recent years, which has improved the ability to identify bodies. Last month, authorities found a match in North Carolina that answered a 37-year-old question. The DNA retrieved from a body found in 1985 matched that of Priscilla Blevins, who had been missing since July 1975.

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