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Identify Unidentified Deceased Individuals | Print |

When a person is found dead and his/her name and identity are not known, a major lead in identifying the person is finding out   if somebody is missing that fits the description. If fingerprints are not available and on file, the only place to look is Missing Person Reports filed by the police. If nobody has filed a Missing Person Report, there will be little or no information to find out who the unidentified dead person might be.   When a Missing Person Report is filed, it is possible for relatives of the missing person to provide a sample that can be used for DNA analysis which can be compared to samples from the unidentified person to see if they match, which can lead to identification of the deceased.

If you know of someone who is missing, and especially if you believe they may be dead, you should do the following:

  • File a Missing Person Report with your local police department
  • Try to find the missing person's mother or grandmother; or, ¬† a brother or sister of the missing person; or, ¬† a brother or sister of the missing person's mother
  • Have one of those relatives contact the police department to provide a sample that can be submitted to the FBI National Missing Persons DNA Database Laboratory. That sample will either be a swab sample taken by swabbing the lining of the mouth or a blood sample obtained by pricking a finger to get a few drops of blood.

Reporting a person as missing and providing a DNA sample is the only way that an unidentified dead person might be identified when there are no other leads, and it allows DNA samples to be compared on a national level. In some cases, a DNA sample useful for comparison might be available on a personal item that belonged to the missing person, such as a toothbrush or hair brush.

Remember, if a person is missing and possibly dead:

  • File a Missing Person Report
  • Arrange to get a DNA sample from the missing person's mother, ¬† or a brother or sister of the missing person, or a brother or sister of the missing person's mother, or the missing person's maternal grandmother. It works best if DNA samples are provided to the police when the Missing Person Report is filed.

In some instances, the Medical Examiner's office will be involved in obtaining DNA samples from persons who are thought to be related to an unidentified dead person. The Medical Examiner's Office will contact such persons, as needed.

Since 1970, the Fulton County Medical Examiner has investigated the deaths of 101 persons whose identity has remained unknown for long periods of time. If you know of a missing person who may be presumed to have died in the Atlanta area, you may review these cases by clicking the link below.


You can find additional information at the site below.

Doe Network Cases


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Fulton County Medical Examiner

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Atlanta, Georgia 30312
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