One Surprising Stat on Missing Persons

Note: With this weekend's travels, I was unable to finish my next installment of the Brianna Maitland missing person case. I'll have that ready soon.

Detective Sergeant Volitta Fritsche, a 20-year veteran of the Morgan County Sheriff's Department in Indiana, recently wrote an informative article on missing persons over at

In the post, she discusses misconceptions about those types of cases, missing person stats in the US, how police respond, and other resources available for those interested in learning more.

Her article also contained this surprising bit:

...Unidentified Person File

To help in identifying and/or locating some of these people, the National Crime Information Center’s (NCIC) Unidentified Person File came online in 1983. Records are retained indefinitely, unless removed by the entering agency. The Unidentified Person File contains records of:

--Unidentified deceased persons (Deceased-EUD),

--Persons of any age who are living and unable to determine their identity (Living-EUL), and,

--Unidentified catastrophe victims (Catastrophe Victim-EUV).

As of December 31, 2008, there were 7,134 unidentified person records in NCIC. Of the 7,134 active entries, 1,133 (15.9%) were entered in 2008. This is down 36.6% from the 1,788 entries made into the file in 2007.

The records entered in 2008 consisted of 918 (81.0%) deceased unidentified bodies, 16 (1.4 percent) unidentified catastrophe victims, and 199 (17.6 percent) living persons who could not ascertain their identity.
Wow, 199 persons last year who have no idea who they are?

I would have guessed that number to be only like ten or something considering I rarely hear about those cases publicized.

The last two amnesia-like stories that I vaguely remember seeing was a detective who helped identify an older woman living in an assisted living home who spoke very little English (I think it was in Baltimore, but I did not find the story) and a man living under the assumed name of Benjamin Kyle in Savannah, GA.

Kyle was found with a head injury behind a fast food restaurant and his case remains open with the FBI.


Christopher said...

What's sad is someone can be completely missing, and there is not a soul in their life that is out there doing everything possible to find them.

Almost 200 living people who don't know who they are? Almost a thousand bodies not identified? It makes you wonder where the people who loved them are, or if they had them.

Oz Girl said...

Wow, I'm pretty surprised by that figure too. Like Christopher mentions, it's rather stunning that we have this many missing people that have no one who loves them or cares that they are missing?!

mappchik said...

I can see those numbers in the past, when sharing information was limited by distance and communication technology. But with the massive amount of information available today?

I agree with the others. It's sad. You'd think if they didn't look out of love and concern, they'd at least be looking out of curiosity.

J. J. in Phila said...

I would suspect a lot of those were Alzheimer-type cases.

Debbie said...

So what happens to these people? Do missing persons' families know about this resource or is that your purpose for writing this? It's sad that there are 2 sides to this and maybe no real means of connecting them to one another.

Slamdunk said...

Debbie: I should have made it clear, but the database referred to in my post is for law enforcement use only. The sergeant's original article contains a list of links to assist families looking for someone missing.

Unfortunately, each agency does have to do its own marketing and connecting when they have someone in this situation.

As far as what happens to these no-name folks, I really don't know, but the linked article to the man in Georgia gave a perspective on his difficult life. He can't be legally compensated for work (since he has no SSN) and he relies on friends, donations, and employees willing to pay him in cash only.

fayezie said...

hmm... i'm in the middle of reading the BK article, and it says Memorial wanted $800 for his medical records? and yet, i've been in that record office and the sign on the wall says $25 if ordering for personal use, free if for 3rd party....

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