September 25, 2007
Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution sponsored by Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati) by a vote of 389 to1. The resolution, H.Res.340, expresses the commitment of the House to provide a voice to victims and families involved in missing persons and unidentified human remains cases.
“This resolution highlights the importance of law enforcement agencies acquiring the tools and working together at all levels to identify human remains so families and loved ones can have closure,” said Chabot, who co-chairs the Congressional Caucus for Missing and Exploited Children.
House Resolution 340 calls for continued federal funding for DNA testing and the Combined DNA Index System used to identify victims; greater cooperation between local, state and federal law enforcement; as well as more comprehensive training and education for the 17,000 law enforcement agencies involved in missing person and unidentified human remains cases. The resolution also calls for providing medical examiners and coroners with greater access to federal databases to compare evidence and upload information so that victims ultimately may be located, identified and returned to their loved ones. In addition, the resolution urges Congress to work to raise awareness among victims’ assistance organizations and the general public about the use of DNA and the Combined DNA Index System to identify victims.
Sadly, on any given day, there are more than 100,000 active missing persons cases in the United States. In addition to the six thousand sets of human remains in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), more than 40,000 sets of human remains are being held by medical examiners, coroners, and police departments across the country who have never been identified. Chabot hopes his resolution will raise awareness and spur local, state and federal agencies to work together to harmonize their protocols as they relate to identifying human remains including, uploading any results into the national missing persons databases.
Chabot has been a leader in Congress on issues involving missing persons and unidentified remains. He has worked closely with Debra Culberson of Blanchester, Ohio, whose daughter Carrie Culberson was murdered in 1996. Although her former boyfriend was convicted of the murder, Carrie’s remains have not been recovered. Chabot and Debra Culberson have worked to provide law enforcement with effective tools to help solve missing persons cases. In 2004, Chabot successfully passed the Crime Victims’ Rights Act and legislation that requires states and local communities that receive federal funding for DNA testing to report test results for unidentified remains to a nationwide database maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.