There are 40,000 unidentified bodies and remains in the United States. This week, this Justice Department plans to unveil it’s new database, NamUS, in an effort to link those remains to their families and loved ones. It has been in service since the first week in January.
Debra Culberson, the mother of murdered daughter Carrie Culberson, is largely responsible for it’s creation.
I just need to know where she is..” Debra says.
Carrie Culberson, 22, vanished after going out with friends in Blanchester, OH, the evening of August 28, 1996. She had been in an abusive relationship with Vince Doan, and had sought a restraining order against him. Although he was arrested and subsequently convicted of her murder, he has never revealed where her remains could be located.
In an interview with CBS Correspondent Erin Moriarty, when asked why this was so important to her, Debra responded:
“I think any mother, or any parent in the world, would understand this: It’s that physical body that I held in my arms all those years, and just the need to know where her remains are. It’s not any different than someone losing a soldier — you know — they still need to find their son’s remains.”
Kentucky State Forensic Anthropologist, Dr. Emily Craig, would receive a call from Debra every time remains were found. Over the last 12 years, there have been many. Until this database, that was really the only proactive way for a family member to keep connected to any possible findings.
“For years,” says Kentucky State Forensic Anthropologist Dr. Emily Craig, “we’ve had this world going on with the unidentified dead, we’ve had this world going on with the missing, and trying to put them together … (it was as if) they were in two different worlds.”
The database has already been successful in two cases, to be profiled on their site soon.
(Author’s note: I would add my hope that with uncovering and identifying more remains and allowing families to grieve and some semblence of closure, I am hopeful this will also yield quite a few arrests for the person’s responsible to insure justice is done for any victims and their families. There is no input module that ties that together from the NamUS database directly. It would still need to be run through the assigned investigators and perhaps CODIS and AFIS. Perhaps that might be a thought for future updates.