Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's Not Everyday You Find A Skull In The Street

Recently here in central Texas, Temple Police recovered a human skull from the side of the road. Now it's not everyday that you get a call to recover human remains like this. It turns out the skull belonged to a man who went missing in 2009. From the story over at the Killeen Daily Herald:

Temple police have no evidence at this time suggesting that Sullivan's death was due to foul play, according to a press release.

A passer-by reported to police Aug. 14 that he saw what he believed to be a human skull in the 3100 block of Lowes Drive. Police soon located the skull, which appeared to have been outside for an extended period of time.

Finding the remains triggered a large-scale search of a swatch of undeveloped land adjacent to where police found the skull. Over three days, officials from Temple and several other agencies located unspecified evidence that may be linked to the case, the release states.

Missing persons cases can be quite a challenge for law enforcement agencies. Fortunately, things have gotten better over the years with both state and national law enforcement entities working to assist local law enforcement agencies with missing persons and unidentified decedent cases through missing persons clearinghouses.

Here in Texas we have the Texas Department of Public Safety's Missing Persons Clearinghouse. I've worked with analysts from the Clearinghouse on a few cases and have always been impressed at just how much assistance they can provide on these types of cases. I can't say enough good things about them.

Similarly, at the national level, DOJ's National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) clearinghouse can also help you should your missing persons or unidentified decedent case cross state lines.

Does your agency have a policy on when a missing person's clearinghouse will be contacted regarding these types of cases? Have you contacted your state's clearinghouse to find out how to submit cases to them should you need to?

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