Forensic Science Students Assist at Missing Persons Event

May 25, 2016

LIVONIA, Mich. – Madonna University Forensic Science students recently spent the day serving as ambassadors at the annual Missing in Michigan event, which enables families of missing loved ones to file and update missing persons reports.

At the event, Madonna students wore one wild sock in support of the #RockOneSock campaign by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Associate Professor Jodi Lynn Barta, Ph.D., also the director of Madonna’s Forensic Science Program, explained that Madonna students assisted families of missing loved ones during the event, guiding them through different stations. Families were able to update an existing report, file a report for the first time, or provide a DNA sample. The DNA samples are used in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) to help identify found persons or remains. NamUs is comprised of a missing persons database, an unidentified persons database, and an unclaimed persons database.

Barta said assisting at the event is one way students can actively participate in the mission of Madonna University. “It really brings to the forefront the scale of this problem, especially since it’s so close to home,” she said. “It also helps our students to understand that this isn’t something that happens for one week, one month or one year. There are people who have been looking for their loved ones for decades. They are still actively participating and updating the case files and trying to bring as much information as possible to find their missing person.”

This is the third year that Madonna students helped at the event, a joint venture between the Michigan State Police and the National Institute of Justice's NamUs ( to resolve the more than 4,000 active missing persons cases in Michigan.

The Madonna University Forensic Science Society donated $100 to the event, and Madonna students made yellow lapel ribbons for participants of the day to wear in honor of missing loved ones.

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