UNTCHI funding for NAMUS ending on January 1

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member
Since 2011, UNTCHI has managed the NamUs program. Now, the NIJ will no longer be funding them. Hopefully another organization will be able to pick up the database.
NamUs is not "going away", but I suspect some hiccups in the near future, with significant impacts on DNA/forensic testing.


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“Due to funding limitations and significant program modifications directed by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), beginning January 1, 2021, the UNT Center for Human Identification (UNTCHI) management and operation of the National Missing and Unidentified Person System (NamUs) will cease. UNTCHI will no longer be able to support NamUs stakeholders with any analytical or case support; victim services; system development; or new forensic services. The forensic services include: DNA typing (currently suspended), fingerprint examination, forensic odontology, and forensic anthropology (currently suspended). Effective immediately, NamUs will also be unable to support states that have passed legislation mandating the use of NamUs, including bulk data import needs.

UNTCHI at the University of North Texas Health Science Center has been proud to manage NamUs through a cooperative agreement with NIJ since October 1, 2011. However, despite our best efforts over the past several months to reach a sustainable solution, the sweeping program changes being mandated by NIJ at this time make it untenable for UNTCHI to continue management of NamUs.

We deeply regret the negative impact this situation will have on the thousands of NamUs criminal justice and public customers and stakeholders across the country. NamUs is the only program of its kind in existence, and we hope the program can continue its important work for agencies and families nationwide.”

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Thank you for reaching out about the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). NamUS is a wholly-owned asset of the U.S. Department of Justice and a critical tool for law enforcement and our citizens nationwide. Database and search services offered through NamUs are operationally located within the Office of Justice Programs and will continue to be available to law enforcement agencies and members of the public. The University of North Texas Center for Human Identification (UNTHCI) that has administered the DNA testing and other parts of the NamUs system has not accepted their FY 2020 award of $4.2 million.
The National Institute of Justice is committed to NamUs as a vital tool for investigators and the loved ones of the missing across this country, and is expediting funding vehicle options that will ensure NamUs services are provided by the best means possible.



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Q: Is it true that NamUs is going away (National Missing and Unidentified Persons System)???

A: NamUs is not going anywhere. it will just be administered by someone else. NamUs is owned by the DOJ, not UNTCHI. We have also been reassured that DNA extracts housed at UNT will continue to be available to agencies for our future cases.

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Kimster

Let's Find Michael Bryson!
Staff member
That explains why we found a couple of quieter cases on here where it appears the people are alive and well. This is a difficult time to go through a transition, but I hope they find a way to get it done. This is a very important database.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member

NamUs is Back: UNT Accepts Award to Manage Program Days After Announcing its Withdrawal​

After initially announcing on Friday they would cease to manage NamUs, the UNT Health Science Center's UNT Center for Human Identification (UNTCHI) has backtracked. On the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 8, UNTCHI accepted the $4.3 million award to continue to manage the missing persons program.

“NIJ can continue the online system service without UNT, but would prefer to maintain the relationship in order to address the existing backlog of casework and much needed attention to tribal communities. UNT recently accepted the award (evening of Tuesday, Dec. 8) and NIJ is looking forward to the continued partnership,” an NIJ spokesperson told Forensic Wednesday afternoon EDT.

NamUs is a wholly owned asset of the U.S. Department of Justice, but UNTCHI has managed the program since 2011. Currently, NamUs database and search services are operationally located within the Office of Justice Programs, but UNTCHI supports most of the forensic work, including DNA typing, fingerprint examination, forensic odontology and forensic anthropology.
 

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