Unidentified Person

Today, I want to discuss another aspect of missing person investigations.

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

Wow, 2,000?

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 
Sex: Female

Race: Possibly White

Approximate Age: Late teens or early 20's

Height: 5'-5'5"

Weight: Unknown (thin to average)

Hair: Unknown

Eyes: Unknown

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, dwoods@pd.cityofsacramento.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.


Em-Musing said...

2,000 in CA? Yes, that's a lot. Where do they keep the bodies? Or have they been buried? And where?

Miranda Hardy said...

That's very large number of unknown persons. Glad they have better technology today to provide what the victim may look like.

Pat Hatt said...

Wow that is a lot. I guess it's not as easy as shows like Bones make it out to be huh? Not written in little hint to help them out.

Jax said...

Omg! That is a VERY high number. It's sad to think that there are 2,000 families in CA wondering what happened to their loved ones.

I hope that missing person gets solved.

Sarah Ahiers said...

It makes me sad. Because i'm sure there are people who are looking for her and many of the others, and i'm sure they'd like to go home as well

Bob G. said...

If memory serves, dental ID came on the heels of fingerprint ID when it pertained to post-mortems.
It is well to note that as peoples' dental HYGIENE improved (over the last 150 or so years), someone caught onto that and ran with it as a possible way to indentify victims of crime, when decomp was present.

And facial reconstruction has moved from clay over skeletal remains into the DIGITAL realm...a GOOD application of our new-found technology.

Great post.

Stay safe out there.

KittyCat said...

I agree that is so sad.
Sure is alot of non identified people.

Kristin said...

Ugh...That statistic is just so sad.

BobKat said...

Sad to reflect how many people are missing and never found, and those found yet still missed.

Someone here mentioned the origin of dental and fingerprint forensics... 150 years I think might be pushing it... 75 - 100 years would be my estimate.

Also, I don't know if anyone has noticed, but we're a lot of people in this Country today, compared to say 75 years ago. I won't bore you with statistics, but I do think it's time to rethink where we spend our stretched resources to serve and protect our society.

So much harm and death to me is unnecessary and preventable - in that much of it never needed to have a beginning. The War in Iraq is a perfect example, as is the Viet Nam "War". I can think of another war that costs all of us a lot in resources, and person-power, and directly contributes to violent harm and deaths across the country.

We need to be vigilant when it comes to politics... ultimately it passes the laws that we focus on. But there's another problem, and that is it is still considered by many to be an act of weakness to seek psychological help if depressed, anxious, delusional. If we are addicted to the hard stuff. If we have an anger problem.

When you add the number of persons found yet unidentified, with the number of person's missing, that number would truly astound you. And with the fragmenting of society into many more parts than say 75 years ago, people don't often know their own neighbors any longer.

Yes, we have the technology today to unravel many a crime and identify many more John or Jane Does. But what about prevention? What can we do as citizens to make society safer? How do we reduce harm to society?

To me, even one murder victim is too many. When I consider the sheer numbers, the magnitude of the problem, I myself feel confident that present policies contribute enormously to these statistics.

I only wish there was a way to remedy that!

Holly Lefevre said...

That is a lot of people unaccounted for but my state is bursting at the seams with people, so I am not that surprised (sadly). The technology and science we have now will hopefully make those numbers be lower in the future.

Maxi said...

It looks as if the photo is a clay bust of the woman. This reminds me of John Lisk…

He murdered his wife, children, and mother then walked away … moved to another state and remarried.

Years later a craftsman made a bust of John; he was found, stood trial and went to prison.

Carol Kilgore said...

I hope this woman's family finds her. Surely someone is searching for her. Sadly, I'm sure that isn't the case for many John and Jane Doe.

Hope your computer is returned in top shape soon.

Candice said...

Bummer about the blog break! Hope you're back soon!

WomanHonorThyself said...


The Blonde Duck said...

I hope everything gets solved soon! Feel better!

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Shauna Nosler said...

What is unreal to me is that I cannot even think of how many must go missing in other states ... it just goes to show it's impossible to understand how big this world of ours really is. Hope the bug gets fixed soon!

Rachel Cotterill said...

Wow, that is a huge amount. Makes me wonder what the stats are like here.

Mommy Lisa said...

So sad.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

That's amazing how many unknown person parts have been found. Okay, more like scary!!!!

Momma Fargo said...

2,000 is a lot of unidentified people for sure. Wyoming has a few, but far less...mostly due to population. As big as California is and as many years that may be involved...2,000 may not be as bad as we think...especially if some cases are decades old. Technology and advancements in law enforcement have helped lower those numbers. But...as we law enforcement peeps think...ONE is too many.