DNA Data Base For Missing Persons

Wednesday, May 31st 2006, 10:59 am
By: News On 6

The FBI is creating a new DNA database. This one will help identify missing people and unidentified dead bodies. It's in the middle of development, but Tulsa area law enforcement agencies hope some day soon it will help them close some unsolved cases.

News on 6 reporter Jennifer Loren says Dr. Robert Allen heads up the Forensic Science Department at OSU Tulsa.

He holds up a leg bone taken from skeletal remains found in Nevada. Police sent it to him for DNA testing. "They have no clue the identity of the individual, but there are families who have missing family members who obviously want closure."

In his lab, they'll extract DNA from the bone. Then they'll compare it to DNA taken from someone who thinks the bone belongs to their missing family member. "This is an alleged sister of someone who's been missing."

The FBI's new database would follow the same basic procedures. "I mean they'll essentially do exactly what I'm doing. It's just, they'll broaden the scope of families who have missing individuals."

Families like Lorene Bible's. She hopes the new database will finally locate her missing daughter Lauria. “It could be. I mean you explore all possibilities." Lauria and her friend Ashley went missing more than six years ago. They're assumed dead, but their bodies were never recovered. "You know at this point, we don't know where Laura and Ashley are. They could be in four states. They could be in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri or Kansas."

The new on-line database would put DNA from all 50 states at investigator’s fingertips.

It could also help medical examiners identify Jane and John Does brought in to their morgues. Right now the State Medical Examiner in Tulsa has one unidentified body in the morgue. She was found in Muskogee County more than a month ago and still, no one's identified her. Randy Saffell with the Medical Examiner’s Office: “we don't have any information to compare our information to and we don't have any families coming forward to say she's missing."

But with a little DNA and a large database, that could soon change.