Number Of Missing From Joplin Tornado Down To 156

Friday, May 27th 2011, 12:22 pm
By: News On 6

JOPLIN, Missouri -- Missouri state officials said the number of missing or unaccounted for in the wake of the Joplin tornado has gone down from 232 to 156.

The official death toll still remains at 126, although Joplin city officials say that number is now at 132.

Deputy Director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety Andrea Spillars made the announcement at a press conference Friday.

Spillars says they have received 90 credible reports of people on the list that have now been located and are alive. They also added an additional 22 names to the list and removed duplicate names.

Spillars also said there were an additional 19 individuals confirmed dead, but have not been removed from the missing list until the next of kin have been notified.

Authorities had said they believed many of the missing were alive and safe but simply hadn't been in touch with friends and family, in part because cell phone service has been spotty.

Officials say they are working around the clock to expedite the process of identifying the deceased. The process had been slow because officials had taken extra precautions since a woman misidentified one victim as her son in the chaotic hours after the tornado hit.

"A very detailed process they are using to identify the deceased," Spillars said.

Medical records, finger prints and DNA are just some of the methods being used to identify the victims of the Joplin tornado.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.