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2011 Justice and Law Enforcement Recipient: Finding Closure for Loved Ones

NamUs, the acronym for the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, is a powerful, fully searchable online Justice Department database used for investigating and solving missing and unidentified person cases nationwide. It is the one place where everyone across the country interested in solving such cases—law enforcement, medical examiners and coroners, victims' advocates and families—can share information. The NamUs project, led by Charles Heurich and his team at the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), was formally launched in 2009, and has been slowly but surely growing and gaining traction. In the past two years, NamUs has helped resolve cases involving 44 unidentified persons and 65 missing persons. The site has received more than 750,000 visitors, logged in data on approximately 7,000 missing persons and 8,000 unidentified individuals, and has been adding new cases every week.