Cook County Medical Examiner's Office to hold event in hopes of ID'ing missing persons

FOX 32 NEWS - Families whose relatives have disappeared in recent years will get some help this weekend from the Cook County Medical Examiner.

They're invited to the county's first "Missing Persons Day.” It's aimed at helping families determine if their loved ones are among the unidentified bodies that have passed through the morgue.

The event could provide some closure for missing persons' relatives, and for the medical examiner's office.

“Very painful, because there's still no closure. Yasmine was a good kid,” said Reverend Ira Acree.

It'll be ten year years this January since Reverend Ira Acree's cousin, Yasmine Acree, disappeared from her south Austin home in the middle of the night. She's never been found. This Saturday, families who's loved ones have been missing for more than 30 days can show up at the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, with anything from police reports to DNA samples, to see if their loved ones have been among the unidentified bodies and remains there.

“This is our first time, and we hope to help at least one person, which would be very fulfilling,” said Dr. Ponni Arunkumar, chief medical examiner.

Families on Saturday can check out composite pictures drawn up to represent unidentified individuals from the morgue. There will also be information regarding where bodies were found and identifying marks like tattoos.

The “Missing Persons Day” is patterned after several in New York City, which have helped eight families locate the bodies of missing relatives.

“It's an event that probably may bring closure or at least give them hope as to what they can do more to help identify their loved one,” Dr. Arunkumar said.

Reverend Acree says Yasmine's DNA profile and other records were given to police long ago. He's encouraging others with missing relatives to take advantage of Saturday's event.

“If one family, two families, just a small percentage of families are helped, man, I will be on the sidelines cheering for them,” said Reverend Acree.

Saturday’s event runs from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the medical examiner’s office on West Harrison.

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