State wants family DNA to identify unknown bodies

The BCA is hoping to identify unknown people.
BCA scientists obtained DNA profiles from each of the five bodies exhumed last year. None matched DNA in state and federal missing person databases.
Minnesota BCA

State investigators hope to gather DNA from missing persons' family members in an attempt to identify five people exhumed from cemeteries in the Twin Cities.

The bodies' identities remained unknown at burial due to the lack of DNA testing, but a recent grant offered funding for the BCA to exhume them.

"The disappearance of a family member is extremely difficult because the loss is accompanied by so many unanswered questions," said BCA superintendent Drew Evans. "While a match like this is not the result families hope for, information may help them move forward."

Last summer, the BCA exhumed the remains of five people.
Last summer, the BCA exhumed the remains of three men and two women from Twin Cities cemeteries.
Minnesota BCA

The BCA said it chose these bodies because they had the best chance of being identified.

The BCA is offering DNA collection for the family members — including parents, children and siblings — at four different cities in Minnesota in July. The families' DNA will then be crosschecked against state and federal databases to see if there is a match to the unidentified remains.

Since 2013 when the BCA increased its efforts to identify remains of unknown persons, it made five identifications by matching DNA of the remains with that of a family member.

At any given time, more than 550 Minnesotans are missing. The BCA estimates that at least 100 sets of unidentified remains have been found in Minnesota to date.

MPR News is Reader Funded

Before you keep reading, take a moment to donate to MPR News. Your financial support ensures that factual and trusted news and context remain accessible to all.