Voice Platform and Support Network for Families of Missing and Victims of Crime
By JESSA LEWIS 6 News Reporter
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The Knox County Sheriff's Office is using a system designed to help solve missing persons and unidentified remains cases. It's a national database called NamUs.
The sheriff's office is also doing its part to convince other Tennessee law enforcement agencies to use NamUs.
"The cold case unit has solved three cases in just the last three or four months. It works, but like I said before, the cases have to be built. The information has to be in the system for it to work, and if it's not, those cases just sit and pile up," says Knox County cold case investigator Amy Dobbs.
Of those three cases, one had a happy ending. "We actually found a person that was an amnesia victim and we were able to identify him back to himself, which he did not know," said Knox County Chief Deputy Eddie Biggs.
According to Dobbs, it takes about 30 minutes to create a report on the system, then some time to follow up.
"Building the cases are easy. Making the agencies aware of NamUs and the benefits and the usefulness of the system has been kind of difficult," Dobbs said.
NamUs is open to the public. "They can sit. They can work the case. They can add information into the case. It has to be approved by a case manager before it's submitted. That's just to make sure that it is credible," Dobbs explained.
Officers hope the database can provide closure for grieving loved ones or a happy reunion.
"They're not wondering where their loved one is any more. They're not having to go home to an empty chair at the table every night. They can have some closure, not wondering if their family member is amongst the crowd, not looking for that face any more," Dobbs said.
The database is free to use for citizens and law enforcement agencies.
The proposed Billy's Law would mandate NamUs entries and link the database with NCIC, which is the FBI's National Crime Information Center.