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FY23 Missing & Unidentified Human Remains Grant Program

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $305,216)


While New Jersey is the fifth smallest state geographically, it has the eleventh largest population size with close to 9.3 million residents (according to the 2020 Census), making it the most densely populated state in the U.S. Bordered by New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, New Jersey is situated directly between New York City and Philadelphia, two of the most populated cities in the United States, with nearly 10.2 million people. New Jersey is one of the few states in the United States surrounded by water (rivers, bays, and the Atlantic Ocean) on all three sides. These geographic features collectively make New Jersey unique in that missing individuals and unidentified remains are shared with large metropolitan areas from its neighbors in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York. Extensive bridges and tunnels connect New Jersey with Manhattan, and Philadelphia, some with walking lanes which make traversing across state lines extremely accessible. Unfortunately, these connecting bridges are sources of suicide for many missing individuals which often result in portions of unidentified human remains shared between the states.

            New Jersey maintains approximately 1,337 long-term missing individuals each year and 372 unidentified human remains throughout the state. However, the state lacks sufficient legal, monetary, and personnel resources necessary for the effective reporting, processing, and identification of missing persons and unidentified remains, which frequently results in these cases remaining unsolved for extremely long periods of time.          

            The NJSP MP&HTU seeks grant funding to rectify the issues which affect all the citizens of the State, but with a focus on the underserved Black and migrant and seasonal farm workers (MSFW) communities within New Jersey, who are missing at disproportionately high rates. The NJSP Plans to utilize grant funds to assess the inventory of our long-term missing and unidentified remains cases as entered in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and maintained by the medical examiner’s offices throughout the state.  The NJSP MP&HTU will ensure that long-term missing and unidentified remains cases  are compliant with Patricia’s Law C.52:17B-212, which legally mandates law enforcement agencies to attempt to collect biometrics; fingerprints, dental, and DNA. From there, the NJSP MP&HTU will determine which DNA investigations require further testing, identify cases for exhumations to further DNA CODIS Eligible profiles, which may include genealogy.  This will provide closure not only to New Jersey’s families, but also to those in the surrounding areas including New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

Date Created: September 8, 2023