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Missing Persons Registry launches South Coast familial DNA collection program

Sunday, 25 April 2021 04:40:22 AM

The NSW Police Force will establish familial DNA collection centres on the state’s South Coast next month, following the launch of the pilot program earlier this year.

Following a comprehensive review of operations, the NSW Police Force announced the establishment of the Missing Persons Registry (MPR) and the implementation of new systems and procedures, which came into effect in July 2019.

Since that time, the MPR has undertaken a review of all 769 long-term missing persons cases in NSW and identified a lack of Direct or Familial DNA profiles for a significant number of historical investigations.

In February this year, MPR investigators launched a pilot program on the state’s Mid North Coast to gather DNA samples from biological relatives of missing people across Australia.

Two pop-up centres were established at Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie to capture samples and other data required for upload to the National Missing Persons Victim System database.

Missing Persons Registry Commander, Detective Inspector Glen Browne, said more than 50 family members of missing persons came forward to provide DNA samples to police on the Mid North Coast.

“We know this process can be challenging for family members and our officers are grateful that so many came forward to our collection centres earlier this year,” Det Insp Browne said.

“Our efforts to further missing persons investigations are continuing, and we are once again calling on relatives of any missing person across the country, who reside on or near the South Coast, to consider coming forward and providing a DNA sample.

“Familial DNA samples that are gathered during this program will be uploaded into the Volunteer Limited Purpose Index (VOLMPU), where they will be searched against the Unidentified Bodies Index.

“At the same time, interviews will be conducted with family members to capture further information that may assist investigators with ongoing inquiries.

“The team at the Missing Persons Registry are determined to identify these remains and ensure they are safely returned to loved ones so they may finally be farewelled and put to rest,” Det Insp Browne said.

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

Details of the trial MPR DNA collection centres on the NSW South Coast –

LOCATION (1) Bega Valley Regional Learning Centre

14 Cabarita Place, Merimbula

DATE & TIME Monday 3 May 2021

10.00am – 7.00pm

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LOCATION (2) Batemans Bay Community Centre

2 Museum Place, Batemans Bay

DATE & TIME Wednesday 5 May 2021

10.00am – 7.00pm

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LOCATION (3) Nowra Rural Fire Service

92 Albatross Road, South Nowra

DATES & TIMES Thursday 6 May 2021

2.00pm – 7.00pm

Friday 7 May 2021

10.00am – 7.00pm