What Medical Examiners, Coroners, and Investigators Say about Working with Unclaimed Persons

“I love you guys and love what you do for these folks!!!

I just got off the phone with B.F.C.’s half-sister, B.D. and she said she has been looking for and wondered where he has been all these years.  She lost contact with him in 1997 and has always wondered about him.

Without your vital service this could not have been resolved.  The family as well as myself are grateful for all of the time the researchers put in to resolve these cases.  The half-sister expressed to me how relieved she is to finally know what happened.  She also told me he was a genius.  He was an excellent cello player and at the age of 12 played with the Portland Symphony.  A sad but amazing story.”

Wayne Harris, D-ABMDI

Chelan County Coroner
Chelan County, Washington

“I have spoken to the local guardianship office that was appointed to care for M.J.’s estate and they confirmed the family members identified by the group were indeed the next-of-kin, and following the liquidation of her estate, were in the process of being disbursed those funds.

Although professionally I try to maintain an emotional distance from my cases, if for no other reason to maintain a little bit of sanity and knowing I can treat each case I encounter impartially… I cannot thank you and the organization enough. As you might remember, M.J.’s home was about to be sold at auction to cover a relatively small amount of unpaid home owners association dues. As I worked through this case, I really became emotionally bonded with this woman I’d never met and who, mental illness aside, spent a tremendous amount of the last years of her life pretty much all alone. On a personal note, I was very happy to see the list of family members identified by the Unclaimed Persons organization. I too had identified those family members and had in fact spoken to one of them, even before I had the report, so I felt doubly assured the information was accurate.

I cannot thank you and the Unclaimed Persons investigators enough for helping me out in this case. This was the 3rd case I’d submitted, (I’ve just last week submitted a 4th…) and each one has been overwhelmingly thorough and has, if nothing else, solidified my own research, and made the difficult job of letting families know about lost and unclaimed loved ones a little easier.”

Michael Ashton
Deputy Coroner
Thurston County Coroner’s Office
Thurston County, Washington

“I just wanted to let you know that your information you found on D.S.F.’s family was a success!! I was able to notify his sister of his death. The family feels better knowing where he is and is very thankful we were able to contact them and inform them of his death. I would like to thank you on behalf of the Garfield County Coroner’s Office for assisting us in finding the family for this person. You made a big difference in our case and we are now able to move forward in the next steps. If we run into issues with locating next of kin again in the future we will definitely contact you for your assistance. Thank you again for the help and the family greatly appreciates your work as well. They will be able to have some closure knowing he is taken care of and in the right hands on his way back to them. Thank you again.”

Dani Paszek
Deputy Coroner
Garfield County Coroner’s Office
Garfield County, Colorado

“As I always say, well done!! Contacted brothers, J. and D. H., and notified of the death. They were so very, very, very, very, very grateful. The brothers had been trying to locate him for many years. They stated they would be able to have closure after all these years. They were very impressed and expressed sincere gratitude to our office and especially unclaimed persons for their tenacity and diligence in their search. Please let them know. This was a “good” death notification 🙂 ”

Kelly Keyes
Supervising Deputy Coroner
Orange County Sheriff Coroner
Orange County, California

“First and foremost, thank you for providing this service to Medical Examiners and Coroners! The report your genealogists provided was very helpful in understanding the relationships. I am very impressed. I notified the decedent’s brother this morning. He said that he’s been looking for his brother for nearly 20 years. Thanks again.”

Daniel Morgan, MS, F-ABMDI
Chief Investigator
Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office
Cuyahoga County, Ohio

“This is an unbelievable piece of research work! I notified R.C.’s children tonight. I don’t know if R. and K. were divorced or not, but the two children were notified of his death. It is a somewhat bittersweet case, of alcohol driving a family apart for years and years.

The magic of your work must be the group. I am so envious of your research skills. I would give anything to have the groups collective knowledge, but then again, it is the work that you all do together in the group, that makes the miracle happen

I shared the research with his children and a copy of your work will be a permanent part of R.’s case at our office- because it is just that important.

I am one of your biggest fans in the world.”

Genevieve Penn
Forensic Investigator
Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office
Milwaukee County, Wisconsin

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I was able to contact R.G.’s brother and notify him of the death; they had not spoken in 25 years and was very grateful to know what happened. He stated they had done a Social Security number check on R. about 6 months ago and thought he was in another location (when my local Police Department checked SS years ago there was no activity).

I am so extremely grateful for the hard work you and your team put into the search for R.’s family! While it was difficult to call the family, there is peace they have answers about their brother they haven’t seen in years. I will be sharing the positive experience I received from you with others in my field.

Please extend my gratitude to your team, you are all angels!!”

Karen Forman, MFS, F-ABMDI, CCSA
Chief Medical Examiner Investigator/Coordinator
Pottawattamie County Medical Examiner’s Office
Pottawattamie County, Iowa

“Thanks to your report, the names and numbers supplied to me for H.T., we were able to contact next of kin who had no idea that his relative had passed away. I met with this young gentleman who resides in Florida and he took over the responsibility of the remains. I can’t thank you enough for the hard work you put into this for me. I spent multiple hours trying to locate next of kin and was unable to do so. Again thank you so much.”

Pat Groff, D-ABMDI
Medical Investigator
Montgomery County Coroner’s Office
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

“Thank you so much! Decedent’s aunt was so sweet. She is elderly with macular degeneration and stated dec’d had always called her on her birthday and holidays. When she stopped getting calls she knew something was wrong but did not know what to do or where to start. She wanted to extend her deepest appreciation to your staff. Case solved, NICE JOB!”

Sherry Filippone
Forensic Investigator
Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office
Hillsborough County, Florida

“Contact was made to N.L.F.’s ex-wife C. in Maryland. She was very emotional and expressed how happy she was that we found her. She was trying to find N.for quite some time but lost track of him when he became homeless. She resides with N.’s eldest son and she will be sitting him down to explain what happened to him. I provided her the information of how to obtain a death certificate and how to find out the geographical coordinates where N.’s remains were spread at sea. It is truly incredible the extent of your team’s investigations and I can certainly speak for everyone at the Hillsborough Medical Examiner that we appreciate you and your team’s hard work. Thanks again!”

Monica Canales

Forensic Investigator
Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office
Hillsborough County, Florida

“Thank you for the information. I was able to reach the dec’d sister at the number you provided. She stated that she had not heard from her brother in 40 years, and assumed that he had passed. After a discussion I was able to confirm that the dec’d was indeed her brother. She was very appreciative and I let her know how much help your agency provides for us in cases like this. She wanted me to thank you on her behalf. Thank you for the great work it is appreciated.”

Jeff Morrill
Forensic Investigator
Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office
Hillsborough County, Florida

“Great Work Team,
I was able to contact dec’d brother, P.H., in Tennessee. He will contact rest of family with your news. P. states that dec’d estranged himself from the family appx. 30 years ago due to his alcoholism. It seems that what dec’d told his friends in our area were mostly embellishments of his life history. His brother laughed at some and thought it sounded like things the dec’d would have made up and said.

Again, another case closed and another family now knows “the Real Story” about someone they loved and missed. Thanks for all your hard work.”

Henry Poage
Forensic Investigator
Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office
Hillsborough County, Florida

“Thank you and your researchers for the information you provided. I spoke with several family members, all cousins of the decedent. J.M. put together the family genealogy. She explained the family lost touch with R.B. some years ago and did not know how to contact him. B. was a resident of a nursing home in Carmichael, California (near Sacramento) since 2003. He did not list names of family members. He had no siblings, children, and his parents were deceased. The family members with whom I spoke were pleased to be contacted.

I hope I can request your assistance in the future. I have many resources for searching for relatives, but the information I receive is often limited. Your outstanding help was the only reason I located this family.”

Fred Turner
County of Sacramento Public Administrator
Sacramento County, California

“We made contact with D.W. and YES that IS his brother! Thank you so very much for helping us. We thought we had reached the end of the road and J. would be placed on a shelf unclaimed. Thanks to you, we were able to find his family and stop the procedures here. He’s on his way to his home town where they have a family burial plot waiting. Thank you again for your service!”

Sgt. Anna Sewell
Omaha Homicide Unit
Omaha, Nebraska

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.