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Publication Unidentified Human Remains in the United States, 1980-2004

Kristen A. Hughes, M.P.A., Bureau of Justice Statistics

November 1, 2007    NCJ 219533

Examines the number of unidentified persons reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) National Death Index (NDI), by State, from 1980 to 2004. This report also looks at the number of unidentified human remains reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Unidentified Person File. It describes the characteristics by race and gender and the manner of death.


  • Between 1980 and 2004, about 10,300 unidentified human remains were reported to the National Death Index (NDI).
  • Almost three-quarters of unidentified persons were reported by 5 states; Arizona, California, Florida, New York, and Texas.
  • Of the 2,900 National Crime Information Center records that contained data on the manner of death, 27% were ruled homicides; 12%, accidental deaths; 7%, natural causes; and 5%, suicides.
  • The majority of unidentified persons were white (70%); blacks made up 15% of unidentified persons; and race could not be determined in 13% of the cases.

Full report (PDF 201K)
ASCII file (7K)
Spreadsheet (Zip format 4K)

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