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Familial DNA collection program returns to regional areas across NSW

Monday, 20 June 2022 04:48:31 AM

Family members of missing persons across NSW are again being encouraged to provide a DNA sample to police as part of a familial DNA collection program which will resume from next week.

The program aims to assist detectives with ongoing investigations into historic missing persons by collecting familial DNA samples from the families of long-term missing persons.

Last year (2021), more than 100 biological relatives of missing people visited pop-up collection centres at Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Nowra and Merimbula to provide DNA samples which are then compared against profiles of all unidentified bodies and human remains on hand in NSW.

Missing Persons Registry (MPR) Commander, Detective Inspector Glen Browne, said the more DNA samples available for comparison, the greater the chance of matching a family and providing answers.

“The success of the program relies on collecting as many familial DNA samples as possible so they can be matched against DNA profiles obtained from unidentified bodies and human remains,” Det Insp Browne said.

“Unfortunately like most things in 2021, our familial DNA collection program was impacted by the pandemic, and we were unable to visit a number of regional locations across the state as originally planned.

“We will also use the opportunity to interview family members and capture other data and information required for upload to the National Missing Persons Victim System (VOLMPU) database.

“My team at the MPR is determined to see this technology be used to provide answers to loved ones of long-term missing persons, so if that is you, come forward and provide a DNA sample,” Det Insp Browne said.

Familial DNA samples are provided via buccal swab and are only compared against missing persons databases in Australia.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole said the program was an example of the ongoing commitment of police to reach an outcome in unsolved cases.

“This is a simple, quick action that can result in a lifetime of closure for someone who has lost a loved one and spent years asking why,” Mr Toole said.

“Police are using every avenue available to them so they can give these families the answers they deserve.”

LOCATION (1) Back O’Bourke Information and Exhibition Centre, Kidman Way,

Bourke, NSW 2840

DATE & TIME Monday 27 June 2022

10.00am – 3.00pm

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LOCATION (2) State Office Block (Aboriginal Land Councils)

Level 2, 32 Sulphide Street, Broken Hill, NSW 2880

DATE & TIME Wednesday 29 June 2022

10.00am – 3.00pm

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LOCATION (3) Dubbo Regional Theatre & Convention Centre,

155 Darling St, Dubbo, NSW 2830

DATES & TIMES Friday 1 July 2022

10.00am – 3.00pm

Dates and locations for Southern and Northern NSW are yet to be confirmed.

Anyone with information that may assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.