DNA typing offers hope to kin of those who died
Families searching for missing loved ones who die in the desert while trying to reach the United States are being offered hope.
The Mexican consulates in Arizona and the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office are working on DNA typing of unidentified illegal immigrants who have been classified as John or Jane Doe.
The hope is to create a searchable database with DNA from unidentified bodies.
Since December 2005 the Mexican government has used DNA samples from those with missing relatives to try to match with deceased illegal immigrants.
But the matching was done only in cases where there was an associated name, a family looking for someone or some type of evidence found with the body.
“Now we are talking about those cases where the only thing we have is human remains … cases where we couldn’t find any evidence or something that could help us to identify these people,” said Juan Manuel Calderón Jaimes, the Mexican consul in Tucson.
The Mexican Consulate in Tucson has collected 212 samples of John and Jane Doe DNA since 2007, said Calderón Jaimes. Another 35 cases will be sent this month. He said doing DNA typing of unidentified bodies is progress considering that, for example, the majority of deaths in July were of unidentified migrants.
“Out of the 56 we found, 13 were bodies, 28 were badly decomposed bodies and 15 were only skeletal remains,” said Calderón Jaimes.