Cook County hosts event to help solve missing persons cases

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CHICAGO — The medical examiner in Illinois’ biggest county has launched an initiative to help family members solve cases involving missing relatives.

Cook County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar will host a May 20 event in Chicago where family members with relatives who have been missing for more than a month can provide medical records to figure out if there’s a match on any unidentified bodies at the morgue, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Families will also be able to submit their own DNA samples through saliva swabs.

“We’re hoping that we can provide closure to some families,” Arunkumar said. “We want to try to identify all the unknowns, especially since the last few years we’ve been doing … all the studies we can and yet we’re not able to identify all of them.”

Arunkumar said an average of five to 10 bodies remain unidentified each year at the morgue.

The Chicago event is modeled after ones hosted by the New York City’s medical examiner’s office. Two events have helped solve about eight cases, according to New York officials. About 75 families attend the event.

Arunkumar didn’t know how many people were expected at the Chicago event. Authorities, including Illinois State Police, will also be available at the Chicago event in case families want to file missing person reports.


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