INGHAM COUNTY - Families of missing persons were invited to the Ingham County Health Department for a free event that could potentially aid in finding missing loved ones.
This event, titled "Help ID the Missing", gives families the chance to submit samples of their DNA to police and examiners. Sarah Krebs, a detective sergeant with the Michigan State Missing Persons Coordination Unit, explained how DNA could help families with missing loved ones.
"Today we're holding a DNA drive to collect DNA family reference samples from families of missing persons in hopes that if their loved one has been found as an unidentified remains case, that we could potentially match those cases back together," Krebs said.
The Michigan State Police Department says there are currently close to 300 unsolved, unidentified remains cases in the state of Michigan. Providing the DNA donation does not take long, and is non-invasive.
"It's just a buccal swab its a swab from the inside of their mouth, it's very quick process," Kreb said. "It takes about a five minute process to put them through the DNA station."
Donating DNA is only part of the entire the process.
"We make sure that their record is still in our database and if it's not we make sure that it gets put in, we create online profiles for their missing person if we don't have one already,â€ Krebs said. "If the case is unreported to law enforcement, we make sure it gets reported."
Detective Krebs says that DNA is a relatively new technology for missing persons cases.
"If you do have somebody missing in your life we would like you to touch base with us, make sure that your case is still reported and if you don't have DNA on file make sure that you get that on file," Krebs said.
Potential donors must be biological relatives to those missing.
If you have any information concerning a missing person contact your nearest law enforcement agency. If you are looking for more information on a missing person go to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System Website also known as NamUs, or call the Michigan State Police at 855-642-4847.