When law enforcement finds a deceased person, but are unable to identify him or her.
The California Department of Justice reports that they currently have over 2,000 reports of "unidentified persons" in their automated systems.
In just one state?
It is difficult to comprehend that over 2,000 body and partial body recoveries remain anonymous.
Now, I am sure that many of these cases are old--back before modern identification and preservation techniques were available--and will never be closed.
But, still many deceased "John Does" and "Jane Does" are cases waiting to be solved.
Here is a case that California authorities are publicizing--hoping someone will provide a lead:
Summary: Unidentified female homicide victim found 6/29/2001 in Sacramento, CA
Race: Possibly White
Approximate Age: Late teens or early 20's
Weight: Unknown (thin to average)
Outstanding Features: Has had a broken nose in the past
Dental: Teeth seen in facial re-construction are victim's actual teeth. Teeth are very well cared for; no dental cavities; teeth have plastic sealants; missing all first bicuspids (#5, #12, #21, and #28); possible prior orthodontics or preparation for orthodontics; all four wisdom teeth are present; lower wisdom teeth are not fully erupted.--------------------------------------
Contact: Detective Woods, firstname.lastname@example.org
It is obvious why investigators believe that this case has a much higher chance for closure than others they are handling: the victim's teeth.
The woman's teeth were well cared for and dental records likely exist somewhere.
Why is no one from her family looking for her then?
Or, perhaps they are looking, but do not realize that this unidentified woman found in California is their loved one.
The 2,000+ anonymous bodies is difficult to digest though; especially knowing that the total is added to every year.
Additional Note: Perhaps, convicted serial killer (worked with Loren Herzog and were known as the "speed freaks") Wesley Shermantine's recent disclosures will help provide a clue in this case as well.