Using forensic science to connect unidentified human remains to the missing and murdered
Introducing What Remains, a new podcast where true crime meets forensic science.
Every year in the United States there are 600,000 missing person reports and 4,400 sets of unidentified human remains are found. But matching the remains to the missing people is not an easy task. With no ID, human skeletal remains often end up at medical examiners’ offices where they sit in storage closets for years, gathering dust as evidence slowly disappears. These are some of the most difficult cold cases to crack. Unsolved murders. Missing people never identified. Families left without answers.
What Remains follows forensic anthropolgists, genealogists, criminal investigators, facial reconstruction artists and volunteers dedicated to matching unidentified human remains to missing and murdered people.
WRAL Studios, the creators of Follow The Truth present What Remains, hosted by veteran crime reporter Amanda Lamb. Episode one coming soon!
“As he mowed around the edge of the field, around the sign, he noticed something white in the edge of the woods and he stopped and looked and it was a skull.”
AMANDA LAMB: Each year, 600,000 people go missing and 4,400 unidentified remains are recovered across the us.
“They didn't have name for 20 years. No one knew who they were.”
AMANDA: These cold cases are rarely a priority. Skeletal remains and up at medical examiners offices, where they sit in boxes in storage closets. Often for years, gathering dust as evidence slowly disappeared. In this podcast will meet the families of the missing.
“She vanished literally from her home.”
“Their families don't have any idea what happened to them. There is nothing worse than the unknown.”
“It's just not knowing where your kids at. It's almost like, I feel like I'm drowning and I can't breathe, but I've never get to die. That's what it feels like.”
“You're not giving up though?”
“No, no way. No way. Til my last breath.”
AMANDA: We'll take you into the lab with scientists who are dedicating their lives to matching, missing people to the bones in the boxes.
“You know, you're actually holding a human head in your hand. I think the first time I did it, I was probably a little freaked out.”
“Okay. So I have various types of hammers. Handsaws crowbars. Cause we've had people had a crowbar to the head. Axes, hatchets, machetes. Yeah.”
AMANDA: Using the most cutting edge forensic science and technology in the hopes of finding answers and sometimes justice for the thousands of families whose loved ones simply disappear.
“To connect these unidentified remains with missing persons for the family. It's everything. What they struggled and suffered through for years to get them to some point of closure. That's the goal.”
AMANDA: No matter how grim the process or the outcome.
“Just the satisfaction would be able to turn rebels that somebody tried so hard to hide at some point, you know, somebody didn't get away with murder, and you helped do that.”
AMANDA: And sometimes that work, it pays off.
“He said we found your sister. And I was like, whoa.”
AMANDA: From WRAL Studios. This is What Remains connecting unidentified human remains to the missing and the murdered I'm Amanda Lamb. Subscribe to What Remains wherever you listen to podcasts.