YPD, NAMUS, seek DNA in missing person cases


By Joe Gorman

jgorman@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The police department is seeking relatives of several long-time missing people to get DNA samples from them.

Detective Sgt. Dave Sweeney said the department has people listed as missing as far back as 1985.

The department is teaming up with the National Missing And Unidentified Persons System, or NAMUS.

The department will provide any DNA samples to NAMUS that can be used in the future in case a set of remains is found or if someone with no identification shows up at a hospital or law-enforcement agency so they can be identified.

Sweeney said people go missing for a variety of reasons, and sometimes when they return neither they nor the person who reported them missing contact police to say they are safe.

“It’s all over the board when you look at these,” Sweeney said as to why people go missing.

One of the department’s oldest cases is that of Marcel Byers, who has been missing since 1988. Police believe he was kidnapped and murdered, but they have never found his body.

Albert Byrd was reported missing by his wife Jan. 3, 2008. She last saw him Christmas morning.

Sweeney said there was one recent case he believed was cleared when a person who had been missing for a long time turned up dead in New York City. He did not want to release the person’s name.

Another man was at a group home and walked away in 1991. He has yet to be found, Sweeney said.

Retired detectives and some federal agencies have also been helping Sweeney find leads in some of the cases.

“A lot of people have really helped out on this,” Sweeney said.

Chief of Detectives Capt. Brad Blackburn said 99 percent of people who have a missing persons report filed for them end up being found and safe.

Blackburn said a lot of people who go missing are juveniles who run away from home and return. Some people also have a history of disappearing on their own for long periods of time before returning, he said.

More like this from vindy.com

Don't Miss a Story

Sign up for our newsletter to receive daily news directly in your inbox.