Monday, March 1, 2010

NamUs.Gov is the only National Database for Missing and Unidentified Persons

NamUs.Gov is our nations one and only database in which all missing persons and unidentified persons case files must be submitted into ... it is essential that everyone utilizes NamUs in order to establish a much needed central database.

Utilization of and efforts into any other database other than NamUs.Gov disperse and weaken the very cause NamUs was created for, which is to centralize and strengthen each Missing and Unidentified Case.

A few points perhaps necessary to make clear:

1. The distinction between a database tool and awareness/support efforts ... NamUs is the tool we all need to use and direct LE, etc. towards ... we, each one of us, each organization are still on "Awareness duty" - we must remain committed towards increasing the exposure of each missing persons case, that's our job, NamUs is THE tool to utilize, the information it contains still (even more so) needs to be carried out far and wide by us, each vital missing persons organization, etc.

2. We must stop trying to "reinvent the wheel" so to say by creating another tool (ie. missing and unidentified database) to do the job that NamUs was already created to accomplish ... there is not a need for another missing and unidentified DATABASE/TOOL ... drawing attention and volunteer efforts away from our established central database of NamUs weakens our shared cause. Directing LE, etc. towards any other database other than NamUs creates confusion and lack of support from the very ones from whom we most need to be involved.

We all need to join our voices together in order to be more clearly and loudly heard ... we can do that ... so let's get going and get it done. ;)

If you are willing to give of yourself in order to help the Missing and are able to submit case info. into a database - make sure that you enter the data into NamUs first and foremost ... and thank you for your authentic compassion and giving heart.

Please join us at Peace4 the Missing
Missing Persons Awareness and Support Network


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
awagner said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sara Huizenga said...

Your voice is toxic to the greater cause and I have no hesitation whatsoever regarding knowing exactly what is the right thing to do ... and that is to no longer entertain this garbage with an outlet. I'm deleting your comments now.

I'm sorry that you have so much pain in your life, but that is no excuse for preying on the Loved Ones of the Missing.

Your IP address has also been recorded on my stat/traffic program ... this is not a secret, but thought you might like a reminder.

awagner said...

Sara I have been working this cause for over 15 years. I am not the toxic one. Those who are determined to undermine groups other than their own are hurting the cause. You are doing that by downgrading others work. You are not making friends in the field by coming in as though you have all the answers and the long term groups are "reinventing the wheel". You dont "promote" by demote.

Lauran said...

Sara, why would you call someone like AWagner toxic? She has been around in this cause longer than you have even been aware it was a national problem. Why so nasty? She made a valid point and you start name calling? Some of us have earned our place here in the trenches.

awagner said...

"We must stop trying to "reinvent the wheel" so to say by creating another tool (ie. missing and unidentified database) to do the job that NamUs was already created to accomplish ... there is not a need for another missing and unidentified DATABASE/TOOL ..."

Porchlight has had that database going for 4 years Sara. Long before Namus. A long time member came up with a brilliant way to display it recently. That is all. But The database has been going a long time. This is not a competititon with Namus. The Highlight of Namus is not the database itself but the DNA matching part of it. I have been promoting NAMUS before it was officially lauched. I have also been around long enough to know that things dont always last so multiple persons listing the information if its being kept up to date is an assett. The Doenetwork also has its own database.

Sara Huizenga said...

I agree, I have not "earned my place" - I'd also like to assure you that I never will earn my place, because I can guarantee you that there is no place to earn. I am not Peace4, yes, I did push a button and create a network on Ning, however ... of course that doesn't make me an "owner" of it ... I also own no missing persons cases (because they're people - thus - and you can't own a person)- let's see ... Peace4 has no agenda and is also not a non-profit, it receives no income ... so can't own anything there either ... Basically, I'm just a sharer .. share because I care, pretty much all I've got ... sorry ... =/

Lauran said...

Sara, I have no idea what you mean about owning a case or anything else. Of course we do not own orgs, we merely lead them. None of us owns a case, not even those of us with a missing loved one. What we do is try to spread the word. Nicely.

Sara Huizenga said...

However, in all seriousness - well, wow ... thanks for thinking I'm somebody - I appreciate it and promise to not let it go to my head. ;)

Secondly, I appreciate your willingness to ever so candidly share your personal thoughts regarding NamUs as well as your "share" ? =/ of the missing persons field. I will carefully address each concern publicly on Peace4 and promise to help spread awareness of these issues as best I'm able via the most effective social media tools available.

Anything else, please ... continue to share.

As long as the comments are directed at me and not Loved Ones of the Missing, I have no problem with them at all.

Carry on ...

Lauran said...

Porchlight does have an agenda by the way. It is to be a repository of information on as many missing and unidentified cases as possible. We have board to cover the world as well as we can. We have data bases, message forums, photo websites and several other specialty sites. Our agenda is to provide a place where information is kept accessible to the public and not have it go away in etherspace. We collect no funds, solicit no funds, require no funds. Any expenses that Porchlight incurs, I pay. We also promote any other org that is doing anything legal to promote our cause and get more people to see the case files.
Maybe you should consider establishing an agenda for Peace. It might help you be more effective with it.

Sara Huizenga said...

Okay, cool ... thanks for clearing that up ... I also recognize your current nice approach, it is appreciated.

Sara Huizenga said...

Thanks for your opinion, but the members seem to like the whole "non-agenda" thing ... and again, doesn't belong to me so ... well, there it is. ... Oh, glad to hear the whole agenda thing works well for Porchlight though ... happy to hear it. :)

awagner said...

Well perhaps instead of trying to tear down other groups databases (which by the way if you used it you will see how amazing it is and user friendly and interactive) you could promote Namus better by telling the flat out basic fact. Namus is the only Database that DNA can be entered and cross matched for positive matches. Namus is NOT the only National Database. Other databases however can be easier to search. Namus was not originally intended for people other than Law enforcement to enter data. And as everyone knows sometimes you cant even count on them having the time to enter into NCIC. Others keeping up databases will not hurt NAMUS.
I have looked around your pages and agree with your bio that you do brilliant marketing. That can be an assett if you are careful to not get pulled into politics of intergroup issues and look at the greater cause. Posting this blog with the intent of degrading a group of people who have many many years of voluntarism in this movement isnt right.

Sara Huizenga said...

Lauran, I have no problem with Porchlight, in fact ... if and when you are ready to clear up the whole "Todd owns NamUs and it's just for the deceased" rumor thing ... I'd love to actively support it.

Let me know.

In the meantime, blessings ...

Lauran said...

"As long as the comments are directed at me and not Loved Ones of the Missing, I have no problem with them at all." Who did that, Sara? No one here I know. I have seen all the posts, including those you removed. That never happened.

Sara Huizenga said...

Lauran, I have nothing personally against you and the last thing I want to do is bring in a bunch of posts that might prove this point or that one ... I don't think we really need to have a problem with one another whatsoever. I feel a lot better about things now, hope you do too ...

Lauran said...

What are you talking about Sara? Todd does not own namus. He is employed BY the org from what I understand. And more power to him for that recognition. I do believe that Todd himself has said that namus will be more for matching missing with unidentified than it will be with finding alive missing persons. That only makes sense, since unlike somewhere like cue center or project jason, it does not have search dogs, volunteer sar groups etc. NAMUS is, after all, just a database. it can't look up social security numbers or track someone's union activity to find them across the country somewhere. It only deals with stats, dna and other forensics to make MATCHES between missing and unidentified persons.


Lauran said...

No Sara. It is not okay to make innuendos the way you have, repeatedly, and then pretend you didn't make them or mean them. We know better. and so do you. So what is your game?

deskside said...

I'd like to see every website in the world bring awareness and support for the missing and unidentifieds ... the more that can help the better for all.

But, I want law enforcement, the coroners, the medical examiners and the families to turn to only one database. Why complicate this and make all these entities have to continue to go to 1,000's of different sites? You cause chaos and frustration and nothing gets done....that is staus quo at the moment. NamUs can change that.

So if we keep things the way they are then I could have an unidentified listed on my site in the Midwest and someone in Alaska can have the missing person who belongs to this unidentified on their site. How many months, years, decades before the two get matched up if ever? How cruel is that to do to the families?

With NamUs all data will be in one spot. Answers will come quicker for many of the families. Only evil people and murderers would be against that.

I want the government responsible for this database. We've already seen the data of the missing almost get auctioned off when it sat in private hands. And, it still sits in private hands where we've seen no plans for its security, yet.

I, as a tax payer, would gladly pay $1.00 a year for this much needed database and for training all entities to use it.

awagner said...

Sara this is what I suggest. Since this blog page specifically noted Porchlights databases in a negative tone, I would like for you to sign into porchlight and spend some time going back and scan the posts through the years and get an idea of the people you are talking about. I would like you to see the amount of work that has been done to make accessible to the public as much information as possible. See the number of members over the years who have had missing persons in their lives who the group has tried to help. Then tell me what you think. Tell me if all that work on those databases should be deleted and left to sit because NAMUS is here now.

Lauran said...

I do not understand, Deskside, why you or Sara feel somehow that Namus is threatened by other databases. Are you aware of the Doe Network? Todd has spent a good number of years promoting that database and website. Indeed, without that database's success in assisting the public in making matches, NAMUS would still be a pipe dream. It was the VERY SUCCESS OF DOENETWORK, MPCCN BEFORE DOENET AND OTHERS who even got the government interested in the first place. Once again, every pair of eyes searching is another beacon of hope for the lost. So I applaud anyone and everyone who shines their light.

Lauran said...

And Deskside, perhaps you are not aware that NCMA (the org you referred to) was government funded...thanks to GW Bush. They had a million dollar a year budget as I recall. And then Katrina hit and the government asked them to help with all the displaced people. They did a yeoman's job but it shot their budget. From then on, the government has refused to fund them. So you have aptly illustrated the dangers and the pitfalls if we had only one database. At any time, the government can change its mind. especially in today's economy. Meanwhile, as long as LE is under no mandates to report any given case, any database will always be so much swiss cheese. We need state by state mandatory reporting, as in CA currently. but we need it everywhere. Then NAMUS and any other database can really come into its own.

awagner said...

Deskside history has shown that the majority of the COLD cases were not matched because the person was never reported missing, or the data was entered wrong. People reported missing dated AFTER the Body was found has cropped up several times over the years. If you look at amount of cases where DNA is NOT available you would be astonished. This is where volunteers who actually LOOK at each case can be of value. There really is no one sure way to do this. The NAMUS database is excellent for kicking out DNA matches. But it isnt really all that user friendy yet. Others have been able to present the information in easier to look at formats. The problem of what one mans red is to one mans auburn exists as well. So Namus is a a great tool but it isnt the only one. And there really arent that many databases. The Main groups keeping national databases over the 15-20 years has been Doenetwork, Charley project, Porchlight, NCMA, and NCMEC.

deskside said...

You all need to do some research into the NCMA as it stood before it was absorbed because you clearly don't know what you are talking about.

They were a .org not a .gov. They were subcontracted. And, it was subcontracted out to someone who didn't have a clue as to what to do. This person was great at weaving stories and tales to convince all that everything was under control, but that wasn't sadly ever the case. Unfortunately it was always about the almight dollar and not about the missing and their families.

Lauran said...

Even if what you say is true, and I have my reasons to differ with it, it does not matter. The whole issue illustrates the dangers of having all of your eggs in one basket. I still see no answers as to why you or Sara feel that NAMUS is somehow threatened by any other database. Are you not aware that if it were not for other databases, NAMUS would not exist?

awagner said...

I have known quite a few people that couldnt say enough good things about NCMA over the years. I also recall just about every single missing persons group campaigning for funding fo NCMA. I'm sure there have been negative things over the years as wel but the fact does remain it was the main database for missing aduts for a very long time..

awagner said...

"NamUs.Gov is foremost an area where all data can be centrally located to Find the Missing ... bring them home, alive and well. To keep Hope alive"

Sara can you explain to me NAMUS is going to find a missing person alive? Only in the case of anmesia victims will that happen NCIC will help in finding people alive by cross checking for instance if somone gets pulled over for speeding and is listed missing. But really NAMUS doesnt beat around the bush that it is for matching unidentified bodies and closing cases. They have always been clear on that.

Sara Huizenga said...

To begin with, please note that NamUs.Gov is compromised of 2 searchable (by both LE as well as the general public, *this is another key distinction btwn NCIC and NamUs as NCIC is for LE use only) databases ... one for Missing Persons and one for Unidentified.

National Missing and Unidentified Persons (NamUs) Training Academies
Although electronic data systems exist for information about missing and unidentified
deceased persons, there are many such databases and federally operated ones such as the
National Crime Information Center that are not readily accessible to, or searchable by
persons such as medical examiners, coroners, and other members of the public who need
the information. The establishment of the web-based, public accessible National Missing
and Unidentified Persons System ( for both unidentified deceased persons (UID)
and assumed alive missing persons (MP) has established, for the first time, a “One-Stop”
data-system for all “participants” in the investigation of missing and unidentified deceased
persons. Wide-spread use of this system could facilitate the location of missing persons
who have died and the identification of deceased persons whose names and identities are unknown.

Sara Huizenga said...

The establishment of the web-based, public accessible National Missing
and Unidentified Persons System ( for *********both unidentified deceased persons (UID) *****and***** assumed alive missing persons (MP)********** has established, for the first time, a “One-Stop” data-system for all “participants” in the investigation of missing and unidentified deceased

Lauran said...

Sara, you have never explained why you think having any other database is bad? Should Todd dismantle his Doe Network? Seriously, should he? You seem to feel it is a competition (which it is not) and since you feel that way, perhaps you want NAMUS largest "competition", the Doe Network, to go away?

Lauran said...

I found Todd's comment on Peace4 quite interesting. It makes the most sense.
He says "Though some people will be recovered alive -- the primary function [of NAMUS] will be to compare the missing with the unidentified.
Since he is the guy actually involved, I figure he has a pretty good handle on what the database is likely to accomplish.

Anne said...

I dont see Namus being used by people to just search for missing people to see if they may have seen that person. It isnt designed that way. The missing database portion was intended to gather the data to compare with the unidentified. There really is limited use for NAMUS for finding missing persons.

Anne said...

at least alive and well I meant to say...

Todd Matthews said...

Doe Network isn't competition for NamUs at all. DN is an org -- NamUs isn't. And DN is featured quite promptly here - -

NamUs is very much a biometric database tool.
And yes though the primary function of the automatch system itself is a direct compare between missing & dead within the system. There is a there is the secondary aspect of having missing entered to be in one central source. Live people can easily also be found simply by viewing / searching site.

Just last week there were at least 2 cases that had viable possibilities become apparent as data was being gathered into the system. These were just two cases I saw. The process drew from multiple sources and the data was there -- the dots just were connected when the data was merged into a single spot. Fractured files in various systems finally plugged into a single spot. Not just a page -- but a system tied into multiple other systems that allows exchange in data.

While working in the southwest I input prints found on a UID. NamUs routed then straight into US Visit's fingerprint system. and homeland security agent called me within just over an hour with a cross reference. The data went to LE in the area where a live sighting occurred and the detail connected for the investigator to review. Details were shot straight to his desk.

The more info one has on the MP the better. Fingerprints loaded are compared through various print databases. Same with dental & DNA. The moment NamUs has dental info put into the system, staff odontologist set to work on proper dental evaluation and access to even later dental records. Of then this is the very first time they have ever had a professional review the data.

It's very much a modern and more advanced version of NCIC -- with a public facet. NCIC is a power connection into the NamUs system. And it's actually good -- if a file is maintained properly. The files in the NamUs system are in a constant state of review. NCMEC revises, LE revises, family members submit revision as well as general public can directly touch base with errors that can finally be found because of the reviews and public access.

I have seen so many errors revealed by just pulling out the file and reviewing. Pins listed as being in right foot -- are actually in the left foot after and x-ray is reviewed. A dental description given by a brother for his missing sister -- a human error with a new chance for review after the actual documents are brought into play.

It's not an org where data is submitted. It's a tool used by various users to help develop a lead. The user might be LE with a new dental x-ray - found years laters at a location no one knew about until recently. LE themselves running the query might find a very viable lead by adding the newest data and generating the report.

The non-profits will always have a great value. Their findings add to the whole as well. They are uising data entered into NamUs -- some cases never before revealed to public -- and taking to a whole new height of awareness in blogs, myspace, facebook etc etc etc.

There's no competition -- NamUs, like NCIC and other systems - is going to do what it does regardless of volunteer efforts. It has a function to be carried out and it is a part of multiple systems being connected. A taxpayers you are paying for things like fingerprints, DNA etc. I'd certainly want to make sure I was getting every benefit of any system if I had a missing loved one. I'd want my DNA taken to the highest possible level and cross matched across the states by a standard procedure.

Todd Matthews said...

The non-profits also have a very great value in primary searches for missing. They can hold the hand and comfort those in pain because of loss. They can directly speak to those and aid people unable to take advantage of government resources. No one is being charged for any aspect of service. To not take full advantage is the only way to lose.

Part of my day to day is to help identify gaps in data and apply the best science possible. I can spend hours with my forensic services team after hours, well beyond the scope of employment. I work daily with mutiple non-profits, websites to ask a question -- or inform of a recent update to help streamline their own efforts.

Todd Matthews said...

Fingerprints, dental records, and DNA! These are the critical minimum records that must be submitted into law enforcement's searchable databases.

Currently, on average missing persons records across the United States, include the following records at the following rates:

Fingerprints – Less than 1%

Dental Records – About 4%

DNA – Much less than 1%

No wonder there are 40,000 unidentified persons!

The above is a David Van Norman quote (coroner). To raise the above percentages is one of the purposes for NamUs. To gather an exchange the bio data between various databases.

Anyone can send possible matches to David all day long, but if he has no access to the above data, there's mot much he can do. NamUs has to reach out and gather / connect data that is protected by privacy laws and route them through secure systems so they can be readily avilable for David and other coroners / LE.

If the data is located, he can not only look it up in NamUs, he can directly pull the file to see denatl codes, x-rays, DNA data, fingerprint cards. Instantly available. IF we are able to get the data entered into the available systems.

If you have a missing loved one and you have an x-ray of an arm or leg, it has value. Details you might not want to be available in general, can be securely stored in NamUs so that a coroner can access them.

Public view serves the purpose of a general database sothat anyone can help provide new data and correct errors you might never have known about.

LE bio view provides details for immediate comparison leading to an ID or an exclusion.

Porchlight said...

Todd you are certainly correct that there is no competition going on. Too bad some people don't seem to look at it that way. But then it always has been so, has it not? All too often one group or another starts getting proprietary either with the information, their members activities or simply a database. Kinds sad.

Porchlight said...

""Monday, March 1, 2010
Facebook Status Update - Missing Persons Awareness Campaign
"Update Your Facebook Status" - Missing Persons Awareness Campaign
Please do your part to help spread this vital Missing Persons Awareness Message by copy/pasting the following and adding it to your Facebook profile as well!

To truly be of service - we all need to be solely utilizing just *1* Database
for all Missing and Unidentified Persons - *NamUs.Gov*""

Comments like the above postings are not only counter productive to our cause, but overlook many other productive, useful and ethical agencies. Seriously, it is a shame that people think this way. No one is saying that NAMUS should not be used, but to imply that all others should be ignored is foolhardy and petty.

Todd Matthews said...

I think the main point is that they are hoping that NamUs is used as intended. Along side of primary report at local LE an NCIC etc. NamUs just simply is not a non profit database. I don't see anything stating NOT to use volunteer databases? To try and push NamUs usage is not asking folks not to seek volunteer help as well in addition. It's a different realm. If they folks push NCIC -- that has nothing to do with volunteer sector.

Porchlight said...

"To truly be of service - we all need to be solely utilizing just *1* Database
for all Missing and Unidentified Persons "
I don't know about you, Todd, but the meaning of the word SOLELY is clear to me. Not to mention the other remarks made it very clear what the intention is. And it is petty, childish and does our cause no good at all. But hey, I know those are not your words so you do not need to try to explain them. I wish NAMUS well, support it wholeheartedly and would never dream of telling anyone not to utilize it or any other database, website or org they thought could help them. But then, I have been in this cause for a long time and know the good work of many orgs out there.

Todd Matthews said...

Easy to see childish and petty coming from more than one direction. Jan's "no brainer" slogan has been disgraced quite often in fact.

And these comments?

Nancy Angelbound


Directly linked to this page --

Todd Matthews said...

Clearly myself, Jan and NamUs are being slammed in the comment above? Not an indirect comment etc -- a direct hit. Why? I'm sure Jan has no clue either. I don't want to be involved in the battles between PL & DN or PL & P4. I just try to seek ou the families that we can offer direct DNA, anthro & odonotlogy assistance to through NamUs.

Whether folks want to call it number one or not isn't the goal -- whether folks use volunteer databases is not the goal. What people do beyond NamUs is soley up to them and who they can find to help.

Porchlight said...

Todd, just as you are not to blame for the idiotic attitude of the blog entry here, I am certainly not responsible for the things you just quoted. You will not find anything of the kind posted by me anywhere.
I support Jan's bill wholeheartedly. As I support NAMUS. As I support NCMEC and any other group that works our cause in a legal and ethical way.
But it really is odd to try to answer my comments about the inappropriateness of Sara's remarks by quoting a third or fourth parties comments. The fact remains that the entry post on this blog and others like it, directly tell people that NAMUS is the SOLE DATABASE people should use. We all know that is wrong and counterproductive.
Just as Sara made some snide comment about rumors about you owning Namus were somehow my fault, (and her comment was the first time I had heard that one) you now bring on more commentary as if it had something to do with this issue. The issue at hand should be the unprofessional character of these NAMUS support posts.

Todd Matthews said...

You pointed out things Sara said --I pointed out something said on that end. Surely that wasn't the first time you've seen that comment?

I'm third party all around in this one. I have no use to be involved in any further debate.

I can't control what either say -- yuo all have to see this is pointless.

The dabate is mindless and I have to move onward.

If you guys want to pause to slug it out, be my guest.

Whatever outcome you find will bear no effect on my efforts. You only damage each other.

angelbound said...

Greetings Leader of the Pack: Todd Matthews. Southeastern Regional Manager of Namus.Gov
ROLMAO! Todd, why you have chosen to only post 1/2 of the TOPIC in regards to my comment and post about the David Van Norman Primer, What Every Family Needs to know when a Loved One goes Missing, is beyond me? Jealously perhaps that you didn't write the primer? But then you misleading the Public that I made a direct hit against you or Namus by my comment does not surprise me either. It's just your way, always has been. And, FYI, The NO BRAINER originated by Angelbound via Peace 4 The Missing Post, was about Billy's Law, getting state to state co sponsors, again, nothing to do with you, Namus, or any personal attack on Jan. I stand firm on my comment you have taken great pride in posting on my behalf here today, although I believe your intentions were more to deface me than clear up any misunderstandings that are obviously going on within your own little clique here. Jealously of the NEW INVENTED WHEEL that Porchlight has been able to perfect in a Database, will get you no where boy. If you had good common sense, and were true to the cause, you would be asking that Master Mind Genius who designed it, to help you fix NAMUS.GOV become as friendly user. You need to rein in your Cheerleader by the way. But, someone who feels this way about their chosen people to promote the cause, may not be able to be controled huh?
NamUs isn't s social club of course. And you can't drive nails with a hack saw. LOL.

Understanding will come in time -- resistance is futile. LOL.

I was in Wisconsin this week at an LE event. I had biz cards tossed like $5 bills in a strip club. Just a matter of giving them a test drive.

So Professional Todd.

Todd Matthews said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Porchlight said...

No Todd! No! That is not something that was said on this end! I am not responsible for what someone else said about you, NAMUS or anything else. Those are not my words or even the words of a member of my group. They appear to be a post made on FACEBOOK by Nancy Angelbound. That is not me, just ask Sara, Nancy Angelbound was/is a member of PEACE4 so I do not know what you are talking about. I did not start this discussion but I am more than happy to finish it.

Todd Matthews said...

Ok -- go ahead.

Anne said...

Frankly I would be concerned with the allowing of a NAMUS LOGO being used on blogs in that manner adding their own "words" to the logo. It has the appearance of being an authorized statment by NAMUS. I know Namus is not claiming to be the ONLY national database as it stated in this blogs header. Others were there long before. Namus CAN claim to be the only one with the technology to automatically match DNA and cross check data of missing and Unidentified persons. But that is not what the header is claiming. It might be a fair promotion to ask that Namus be the First place to get the information entered but SOLEY? Thats a slap in the face to ever organization thats been working the data all these years.

Todd Matthews said...

I've already requested that this entire posting be taken down. That was agreed upon.

It was a poor choice of words and was already pointed out as such for removal.

I think the rebuttal was a bit strong though in response to an opinion.

Anonymous said...

what's new?