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Unidentified Human Remains in the United States, 1980-2004

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2007
2 pages
Kristen Hughes MPA
This Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) fact sheet examines the number of unidentified persons reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Death Index (NDI) from 1980 to 2004.
The report also looks at the number of unidentified human remains reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Unidentified Person File. It describes the characteristics by race and gender and the manner of death. Highlights include the following: 1) between 1980 and 2004, about 10,300 unidentified human remains were reported to the National Death Index (NDI); 2) almost three-quarters of unidentified persons were reported by 5 states; Arizona, California, Florida, New York, and Texas; 3) of the 2,900 National Crime Information Center records that contained data on the manner of death, 27 percent were ruled homicides; 12 percent, accidental deaths; 7 percent, natural causes; and 5 percent, suicides; and 4) the majority of unidentified persons were white (70 percent); blacks made up 15 percent of unidentified persons; and race could not be determined in 13 percent of the cases.

Date Created: December 16, 2009