The State Medical Examiner's office needs the public's help identifying many of the unidentified bodies they have at their offices. Right now the office is trying to identify a total of 146 cases, 13 that have come in this year alone.
And they are entering all of the information they have on these bodies into a national database, hoping someone out there has reported them missing or provided DNA that can help them place a name and a family to the remains.
In the office, there are boxes and boxes full of unsolved cases that date back decades.
“Well, they are still here because we haven't found a way to get them identified and a lot of that rests on families reporting their missing persons,” said Angela Berg, who is an anthropologist with the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office.
She has created a special room to house the remains.
“The unsolved individuals are all the people on the top all of this,” said Berg as she showed News 9's Adrianna Iwasinski inside. “So these are skeletal cases that have come in through the years. And I think our earliest case is 1970 up here.”
The State Medical Examiner's office has even had someone call them about a missing person's case from 1902.
Some of the boxes of remains have the year and place the bodies or body parts were found. Some even have DNA or a distinctive tattoo.
“There's lots of ways to get people identified,” said Berg. “Unfortunately, if we don't know who your missing people are, it makes it very difficult and we hate that for the families.”
For now all of the boxes are full of mysteries just waiting to be solved. The special room is not the only place where the bodies are kept. Some are kept in the freezer.
“We actually have a 2011 case that's unidentified, and he's been in our freezer since 2011,” said Berg.
Berg and others at the medical examiner's office just hope someone out there will come forward and help them identify these bodies, so both the office and the families can finally have some closure. And the bodies can be laid to rest, not kept in a cardboard box.
In fact, the recent Foss Lake case was solved because a family came forward with information that matched some of their unnamed remains.
Berg said in some of the solved cases, family members never reported their loved one missing. If you'd like to check the national database, we've linked all the information below.
Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office - Unidentified: Unidentifiedpersons@ocme.ok.gov
Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office - Missing Persons: Missingpersons@ocme.ok.gov
Oklahoma Unidentified Persons in NamUs: https://identifyus.org/en/cases/state/37
Oklahoma Missing Persons in NamUs: https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/state/37