AK Serial Killing Case Shows Problem With Lack of Missing Person Database


A serial killer who committed suicide in an Alaska jail last year confessed to murdering at least 11 people across the U.S., but Israel Keyes didn’t name names, and investigators trying to figure out who he killed are running into a major stumbling block: There is no unified, mandatory national database for missing persons, reports NPR. In a dimly lit back office at the Anchorage Police Department, investigators are piecing together Keyes’ travels on a map. They say he may have killed people in places he traveled to over the past decade. He traveled a lot: to Seattle, Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago, among other cities.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is federally mandated and has long-term government funding. The closest thing to it for adults is the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, or NamUs, which is funded by the Justice Department. But it’s not required by Congress and doesn’t have a long-term funding source.

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