Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $496,045)
The DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office, on behalf of the DeKalb County Cold Case Task Force, is seeking funding to catalog, investigate, and report on 27 unidentified human bodies or sets of remains catalogued at the DeKalb Medical Examiner’s Office, and either stored there or already buried. Cases date back to 1987. The project’s additional goals will be to bring answers, albeit not the hoped-for answers, to families with long-lost missing loved ones, and to gain key information, when applicable, in bringing justice to victims by prosecuting perpetrators of homicide. DeKalb is applying under Prior Area 1A of this award program, in that the highest majority of the catalogued remains are from historically underserved populations, and all are assumed to be from indigent populations.
DeKalb feels it is very well postured to launch program of this magnitude, as, via its already highly functioning Task Force, it recently was able to solve a 23-year-old murder of a 6-year-old boy, with now the boy’s mother under a murder indictment.
Funds for this project will be used to exhume already buried bodies, hire a forensic anthropologist to assist with further cataloguing of remains by conducting skeletal surveys. Funds will be used to expand the M.E.’s capacity by providing necessary supplies and equipment to undertake a cold case project of this far-reaching volume. Funds will then be used to hire any necessary advisors to determine next steps in identification, including conducting the advanced DNA testing which is now available, including, but not limited, to FGG, mitochondrial, and SNP, and to outreach to families and communities to, hopefully, begin to build out genealogical trees to determine matches. Funds will be used to return remains to families. It is expected that, by project’s completion, numerous identities will be given to those who have been seemingly forgotten.
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