Sunday, October 25, 2020

Only 21 DNA Samples Collected for Dorian Victims

Police says 21 samples were collected from 33 family members who reported missing loved ones after Hurricane Dorian

The Royal Bahamas Police Force has reported that only 33 missing persons reports were made at CDU, after the passage of the killer storm Hurricane Dorian, and 21 DNA samples were collected for identification of the hurricane victims.

Speaking at a virtual press conference on Sunday, Head of the Central Detective Unit Assistant Commissioner Solomon Cash said even although 63 bodies were recovered from Abaco after the storm, 33 people filed a missing persons report for missing relatives.

“I can say to this date, there were only 33 reports of missing persons at the Central Detective Unit. I can also say that on the grounds in Abaco, we recovered 63 bodies to this date. We have no other reports to the police as of any other recoveries or any other reports that were made to our department,” he said.

Inspector Agatha Bowles chimed in that only 21 DNA samples were collected from 33 family members who reported their family members missing.

“We have received 21 samples out of the 33 individuals that were reported missing.

“We can only collect samples from those individuals’ loved ones that were reported missing.”

Inspector Bowles said if a family member does not present a sample for matching, then a victim can remain unidentified.

These comments came after dozens of Abaconians staged a protest at the burial ceremony of 55 unidentified victims of Hurricane Dorian, on Friday.

Protesters demanded to know if remains were in the coffins on display and claimed that they were not allowed to view the remains of missing loved-ones.

But Managing Director of the Disaster Reconstruction Authority Katherine Forbes-Smiths clarified that the victims were unidentified and DNA samples were sent to an international lab to help identify the victims.

She said that the remains, caskets and graves at the burial were numbered to match the DNA sampling of the deceased, which will assist will providing certified death certificates.

Forbes-Smith said at the completion of the forensic testing, families will be afforded the opportunity to memorialize their loved ones.

Inspector Agatha Bowles pleaded with relatives of the missing to fill out a missing persons report and submit to a DNA sampling for analysis.

“Come into the police and make a report. We would then collect samples. We will assist you to the Princess Margaret Hospital where we collect controlled samples and submit them to the forensic lab,” she said.

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