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How Prevalent is Violence in Missing and Unidentified Persons Cases?

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2022

This article details new research that presents the importance of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) database when dealing with cases where violence is a contributing factor.


People go missing for many reasons, and some of those reasons are violence-related. The extent to which violence is involved in missing and unidentified persons cases has not been examined directly, to date, due to a lack of empirical data on the subject. Recent National Institute of Justice- and Office of Violence Against Women-funded research revealed that, in general, the level of violence estimated within the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) database was lower than expected. Researchers verified that most missing persons cases were resolved with the missing person found alive. The empirical data used in this study also afforded an opportunity to study the role of violence in American Indian and Alaska Natives missing and unidentified persons cases. Due to data limitations with American Indian and Alaskan Natives cases, researchers were unable to discern any reliable frequency of missing and unidentified person cases among these population groups.

Date Published: February 1, 2022