National Missing Persons DNA Program
The National Missing Persons DNA Program (NMPDP) is a nationally coordinated program to advance missing persons and unidentified remains investigations. It leverages the support already provided by the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR) and the scientific support the National DNA Data Bank (NDDB) already provides to criminal investigations.
The Program is significant, because for the first time, the NDDB is able to retain or compare profiles from non-criminal missing persons or unidentified remains investigations. In addition, it will be able to retain or compare victim or volunteer DNA to help support criminal investigations. It can offer closure to the families and friends of missing persons by identifying human remains or exhausting all investigative avenues.
As a national Program, the NMPDP provides equal access to the same consistent service by every police force and coroner's and medical examiner's office across Canada.
Since its creation in 2000, the National DNA Data Bank has maintained two criminal DNA indices:
- Convicted Offenders Index (COI): comprised of DNA profiles of offenders convicted of specific designated offences,
- Crime Scene Index (CSI): comprised of DNA profiles collected from crime scenes.
However, in December 2014, updates were made to the DNA Identification Act allowing for the creation of three new humanitarian DNA indices:
- The Missing Persons Index (MPI): DNA profiles of missing persons developed from personal effects, such as a tooth brush or an article of clothing;
- The Human Remains Index (HRI): DNA profiles from found human remains; and
- The Relatives of Missing Persons Index (RMI): DNA profiles voluntarily submitted by close relatives of the missing, and used to either confirm the DNA profile of the missing person, or to compare to DNA profiles in the Human Remains Index.
As well as two new criminal DNA indices:
- The Victims Index (VI): Voluntary DNA profiles from victims of crime, which could help police identify serial offenders and link crime scenes.
- The Voluntary Donors Index (VDI): DNA profiles voluntarily submitted by any person, other than a victim, to advance a criminal, missing persons or unidentified human remains investigation.
For the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR) Best Practices Guide and/or National Missing Persons DNA Program Investigators Guide please contact NCMPUR.
The updates to the DNA Identification Act that allowed for the creation of these new indices came into force in March 2018. The National DNA Data Bank is now receiving DNA samples for these new indices.
For further information about the National Missing Persons DNA Program, please contact NCMPUR.
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