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2023 Missing and Unidentified Human Remains Proposal - NCBCI0000

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Past Project Period End Date
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $714,232)

Headquartered in Raleigh, the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) is the lead criminal agency in North Carolina.  The agency’s mission, as defined by General Statute 143B-915, is to “secure a more effective administration of the criminals of our state, and to procure the speedy apprehension of criminals…” Founded in 1937, the SBI works routinely with prosecutors, clerks of court, and other traditional partners dedicated to the prevention of violent crime, the prosecution of guilty parties, and the exoneration of individuals who are shown to be innocent of wrongdoing.  As the Bureau lacks internal capacity to test human remains, this proposal seeks to establish a partnership with the Human Identification and Forensic Analysis Laboratory (HIFA) at NC State University.  Dr. Ann Ross and her team will help SBI investigators establish evidentiary results that can help address an existing backlog of untested skeletal remains.

            More specifically, this proposal seeks $714,232 in federal funds under BJA’s 2023 Missing and Unidentified Human Remains Program.  Over the course of a three-year period, this grant will provide the HIFA Lab at NC State University with $351,332 in direct costs, plus another $106,920 to support the university’s published rate for indirect cost payments.  Another $255,980 will be provided from the SBI to other crime labs such as “Isotopes LLC,” in Pullman Washington; “Othram Labs” in Woodlands Texas; and “First Genes Laboratories” in Butner NC; to perform Forensic Genetic Genealogy analysis, DNA testing, and other research as needed.  A budget for testing as many as 84 cases during the project is requested in this year’s proposal.  Support for project staff, one graduate assistant, and lab supplies for the HIFA Lab at NC State University is also requested in this year’s proposal.

            This project will attempt to fill a gap in the Bureau’s ability to research unsolved homicides.  Testing on unidentified remains is not supported by the Bureau’s “2021 Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA” award, (15PBJA-21-GG-04368-DNAX).  That 2021 project supports FGG and DNA testing, but not on unidentified human remains.  The project team seeks to address this gap and reduce the backlog of untested unidentified skeletal remains, so that more cases can be investigated. 

            Unsolved unidentified cases bring significant anguish to family members, investigators, prosecutors, and other stakeholders.  It is the goal of this project to bring closure to these groups by establishing victim identities and, pursuant to the SBI’s mission, follow new leads resulting from these test results.

Date Created: September 8, 2023