State officials hope that an event Saturday in Tahlequah using a national database can help families find information about missing persons.
The database, The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, or “NamUs,” is a Department of Justice program. It contains information about missing persons and an unidentified persons database. NamUs automatically searches missing persons records against the unidentified persons records, allowing investigators to quickly make side-by-side case comparisons.
“People missing a family member can look through that list of unidentified people, matching information there with information,” Vicky Lyons with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said. “If they find something, they can take that info to their local law enforcement.”
Angela Berg, an anthropologist working for the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said the event will let people know someone still cares. And, if they’re lucky, it might help a family or two make some progress.
“We want to help them find their loved ones,” Berg said.
Berg said the event’s workers will be taking information — “any information we can get our hands on,” — in order to fill out a national database for the missing and unidentified.
Berg said there are six area families from Tahlequah, Stilwell and Muskogee who have family members listed in the database. But, Lyons said, there are more than that in the area with friends or family who have disappeared.
“I’ve contacted a few people I know where we don’t have a case on them, but I know they have someone missing,” Lyons said. “Some of them say, I didn’t know anybody still cared.
“It’s a way to keep the information alive.”
Berg asked for those coming to the event to bring any information they’d like added to the database, like dental or medical records, or photographs and documents. And a NamUs representative will be there to take DNA information from family members.
“A lot of the information we get, things like eye color or height and weight, may not help us if we find skeletal remains,” Berg said. “But if we get DNA, we can verify who we’ve found.”
Lyons said the event is being held in Tahlequah because the organizers realized not all missing people in the state are from the Tulsa or Oklahoma City areas.
Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
WHAT: Missing persons event
WHERE: Carnegie Room at the Tahlequah Public Library, 120 S. College Ave., Tahlequah.
WHEN: 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
ETC.: If you are a friend or family member of a missing person, bring photographs, documents and medical and/or dental records to be entered into the NamUs database.
INFORMATION: Angela Berg, anthropologist with the Oklahoma City Medical Examiner’s Office, 918-740-7256.
• • •
Missing people listed in the NamUs database:
• Jamie Michelle
Last known age: 16 years old.
Age now: 31 years old.
Went missing: March 18, 1997.
• Donna Kay
Last known age: 24-25 years old.
Age now: 47 years old.
Went missing: May 1, 1984 .
• Stephan Mitchell
Last known age: 26 years old.
Age now: 34 years old.
Went missing: Dec. 13, 2004.
Last known age: 26 years old.
Age now: 40 years old.
Went missing: Jan. 5, 1999.
• Jesse Wayne
Last known age: 28 years old.
Age now: 45 years old.
Went missing: May 28, 1994.
• Sherryl Lynn
Last known age: 43-44 years old.
Age now: 55 years old.
Went missing: July 23, 1999.
• Dennis Morrison,
Last known age: 53 years old.
Age now: 66 years old.
Went missing: Sept. 5, 1999.