The Missing Persons Identification Resource Center
- forensic profiles of missing persons -
When someone goes missing during an armed conflict, the Geneva Conventions affirm "the right of families to know the fate of their relatives." (Article 32, Protocol I)
When someone goes missing for any reason in the United States, the Missing Persons Identification Resource Center affirms "the right of families to know the fate of their relatives," and will help.
BACKGROUND TO THE PROBLEM
There are few things more painful than not knowing the whereabouts of a loved one. Yet within the United States, there are more than 100,000 missing persons. Their families and friends constitute a large, yet unrecognized, distressed community.
In 1983, the federal government established a system to match missing persons with unidentified bodies. Despite this effort, an estimated 40,000 bodies still remain unidentified in coroners' offices.
More can be done.
MPID'S SOLUTION: CORONET™
The non-profit Missing Persons Identification Resource Center (MPID) worked to improve the chances of identifying the unidentified by putting families at the center of the process.
Working with relatives of missing persons, MPID's anthropologists developed unique, forensic profiles that described how a person's life would have been recorded on their bones. MPID worked to make its profiles available to coroners and death investigators via Coronet™, a secure, Web-based matching program powered by the innovative search-and-match software of WCC.
MPID believed that human identity must be based on description. A limited number of categories or criteria on a standard form cannot record the full story of a person's life--their bones do. Coronet™ was intended to bring a new source of information to help coroners and law enforcement restore identity in the form of efficient and accessible software fueled by high-quality data gathered by anthropologists skilled in antemortem-postmortem identification.
HISTORY OF MPID
MPID was founded in 2005 by Clea Koff, forensic anthropologist and author of The Bone Woman, a memoir, and the mystery novel Freezing. Her work as a forensic expert for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia sensitized her to the distress suffered by families of missing persons and to the relief that came even when the missing were found dead. Koff believes that a "disappearance is a disappearance, whether it occurs in peace- or wartime."
MPID was an attempt to address the anguish of families of those who have gone missing in the United States and the police investigating their cases by linking them with coroners' offices that hold unidentified bodies. Koff recognized that unidentified persons, both living and dead, are missing persons who have been found but have remained unidentified.
ABC World News Tonight Weekend featured Koff and MPID in July 2005.
The Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services invited Koff to deliver a presentation on MPID's methodology at the COPS national conference in July 2006.
MPID forged its partnership with the Netherlands-based WCC, Inc. in 2008.
Koff was the Keynote Speaker for the Department of Justice National Institute of Justice (NIJ) national conference in June 2009.
MPID closed in 2012.
MPID: A 501(C)(3) NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
The Missing Persons Identification Resource Center was a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization and its services were free to relatives and friends of missing persons.
MPID's work was made possible through the generosity of individual donors. MPID warmly thanks everyone who supported the organization's work as well as those who took an interest in the needs of families and friends of missing persons and in the ongoing struggle to identify the unidentified.