MSP using DNA to identify remains

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LANSING, MI (WILX) -- There are 314 cases of unidentified remains in the state of Michigan.

A Sparrow forensic team is working with the Michigan State Police to solve some of those mysteries.

After years of not knowing where their loved one might be, families may be running out of options.

Friday, Sparrow and the Michigan State Police provided them with a little bit of hope.

"As the years go by, it's not as painful but it's still there. Just wondering what happened to them," said Linda Wood.

Wood is one of the many people in the state of Michigan who are missing a loved one; her brother Robert has been missing for thirty years.

"It was really hard, especially for my parents. They passed away without knowing what happened to him."

Taking a day off of work, she drove from Holland, hoping to find some closure at sparrow's ID the Missing event.

"I just thought anything that I can do to try to get an answer is worthwhile," she said.

All loved ones have to do is come in, get registered, give a DNA sample, and they're on their way.

"It gets searched against the unidentified remains database, so those are the cases of unidentified remains across the nation that have been sampled and put into the same database," said Sarah Krebs, Detective Sergeant for the Michigan State Police Missing Persons Unit.

Many of the 314 unsolved missing cases in the state don't have the information that would solve them.

"It’s a daunting task, we don't want to have to bury anybody or do a final disposition for them without knowing who they are," said Michelle Fox, Chief Investigator for the Office of the Medical Examiner

ID the Missing takes a big step in solving those cases.

"This is the first time that case has actually had a chance to be solved by law enforcement, because we've got that crucial name to add to it.," said Krebs.

That crucial bit of information may just be enough to solve a case.

"The closure is really important because the families really need it," said Fox.

And even after thirty years, ID the Missing gives Wood and other families a sliver of hope.

"I can't imagine people that have missing children, said Wood. "It's hard enough when it's an adult sibling."