Missing Persons Day Events Planned across Tennessee to Help Reconnect Families

Monday, September 11, 2017 | 09:41am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Health Office of the State Chief Medical Examiner is partnering with the National Missing & Unidentified Persons System, NamUs to host a series of Missing Persons Day events across the state. The goal of these events is to help families reconnect with missing loved ones. 

“There are currently more than 1,000 missing person cases in Tennessee. With these events, we are bringing resources into the community in the hopes of answering questions and ideally bringing closure to people who have loved ones considered missing,” said Tennessee Chief Medical Examiner Julia Goodin, MD.

Missing Persons Day events are designed for family members and friends of people who have been missing for more than one month. Participants have an opportunity to enter information about their missing loved ones in the NamUs system, provide DNA samples and connect with both law enforcement and other families. These events are provided at no cost to those who attend.

Participants in Missing Persons Day events are encouraged to bring photos of the missing person, X-rays, dental records, medical records or other identifying documents and police reports. If possible, it is requested that two biologically-related family members of the missing person attend to provide DNA samples, which are taken as cheek swabs.

“We will have team members present at each of our Missing Persons Day events to assist families with entering information into NamUs about their loved ones,” said Medicolegal Death Investigator Fran Wheatley, BS, MA, F-ABMDI. “Law enforcement representatives will be on hand to answer questions about missing person cases, to check if a report is on file or to file a missing person’s report if necessary.”

Dates and locations of the Missing Persons Day events are as follows:

September 16            American Red Cross

                                        660 Eastern Star Road, Kingsport

                                        11 a.m. – 3 p.m.


October 12                  Jackson-Madison County Health Department

                                        804 North Parkway, Jackson

                                        11 a.m. – 3 p.m.


October 13                  Lentz Public Health Center

                                        2500 Charlotte Ave., Nashville

                                        11 a.m. – 3 p.m.


November 4               Hamilton County Courts Building

                                        600 Market St., Chattanooga

                                        11 a.m. – 3 p.m.


November 18             First Congregational Church

                                        1000 Cooper St., Memphis

                                        11 a.m. – 3 p.m.


The OSCME developed Missing Persons Day as a response to the passage of Tennessee’s “Help Find the Missing Act.” This law, which took effect July 1, 2017, added new requirements for Tennessee medical examiners and law enforcement agencies to help bridge the gap between missing persons and unidentified persons cases in the hope of eventual identification.

To sponsor an event in your jurisdiction, contact the Office of the State Chief Medical Examiner at 1-844-860-4511 for assistance with coordination or staffing.

The National Institute of Justice's National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, NamUs, is a national resource center for missing persons and unidentified decedent records. NamUs is a free online system that can be searched by medical examiners, coroners, law enforcement officials and the general public from all over the country in hopes of resolving these cases. Learn more at https://namus.gov/.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.