No National List For Missing Means Tough Work For Investigators | KERA News

No National List For Missing Means Tough Work For Investigators

May 15, 2013

Five stories that have North Texas talking: FBI calls for unified missing persons database, more military conduct accused-- this time out of Texas, an author on a mission makes no-kill shelter tour stop in Richardson and more.

FBI officials say we need a national database for missing persons, not just children. The closest thing the U.S. has is the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, or NamUs, which runs out of the University of North Texas. The Justice Department pays for it right now, but it isn’t required by Congress and doesn't have a long-term funding source. With no unified missing persons list for adults, investigators have to pool databases and search state, county and even non-profit systems separately.

It is estimated that the number of unidentified human remains in the U.S. is close to 40,000. Among those silent victims are most likely several of Israel Keyes’, a convicted serial killer in Alaska who confessed to 11 murders but only gave up a few names before committing suicide. Now investigators are trying to piece his crimes together without a unified list of missing persons. Unfortunately, Keyes traveled to many places, including Houston, so officials say the process has been extremely slow. [NPR]

  • More Military Misconduct?: For the second time in a month, a member of the armed forces charged with preventing sexual misconduct has been accused of committing it.  This time, it’s a sergeant first class at Fort Hood who has been accused of pandering, abusive sexual contact, assault and maltreatment of subordinates. A name has not yet been released but the soldier had been assigned as an equal opportunity adviser and coordinator of a sexual harassment-assault prevention program at the Army's 3rd Corps headquarters. Earlier this month an Air Force officer who headed a sexual assault prevention office was arrested on charges of groping a woman in a Northern Virginia parking lot. [AP via NPR]
  • NTSB Says Lower The Limit To Save Lives: The National Transportation Safety Board, also known as NTSB, wants tougher drunk driving standards. The NTSB recommends states lower the blood alcohol content limit from 0.08 to 0.05, or less. According to the NTSB, other countries with lowered limits have seen a decrease in traffic deaths tied to alcohol. The Texas chapter of MADD supports the lower limit, but thinks other measures would be more effective. “High visibility law enforcement, state ignition interlock laws for all offenders and research toward the development of technology to prevent a drunk driver from operating a vehicle,” says MADD’s Angela Tidwell. NTSB has also publicly pushed for high visibility law enforcement and ignition interlock laws. [KUT]
  • An Eye-Saving App: Instead of trekking to the doctor’s office for frequent appointments or keeping a file of eye test results, an iPhone app could be the next big thing for patients with macular degeneration. A Richardson biotech firm has developed MyVisionTrack, the first FDA approved eye disease test you can use on an iPhone. KERA’s Lauren Silverman talked to developers as well as research scientists at the Retina Foundation about what this means for patients. And while MyVisionTrack is currently prescription only, who knows? It might soon replace Fruit Ninja at the app store.
  • The Rescue Cat Circuit: Best-selling author Gwen Cooper is in the middle of an unusual book tour. Since two of her published works tell the story of lessons learned from rescue cats, instead of doing readings at swanky coffee shops and slick book stores, Cooper is on the no-kill shelter circuit. She’ll make an appearance at Take Me Home Pet Rescue, 561 W. Campbell Road, Suite 303 in Richardson tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. and will bring donations of food and kitty litter, along with her books for purchase. [Dallas News]