Family members missing loved ones are searching for answers this Labor Day. So is the state's Medical Examiner's Office. That's because they have several cases that have reached a dead end.
Right now, there are a total of 13 unidentified bodies in the morgue at the state Medical Examiner's office. Those 13 unidentified bodies in the morgue have come in this year alone. That's 13 loved ones that are left unaccounted for. Now, one California family is wondering if one of them is their loved one, who has been missing since July.
As it turns out, the State Medical Examiner's office has a total of 146 unsolved cases that go back decades!
The family of 48-year-old Pierre Lee Cleveland is worried sick. They say he was supposed to come back home to California back in July, but never showed.
“Just out of nowhere he stopped calling,” said his son, Pierre Cleveland Jr.
Cleveland Jr. said his father had been jailed for DUI last August, but had been turning his life around.
“Yeah he was,” said Cleveland Jr. “He was going to school, he had two food trucks. Yeah, he was turning his life around.”
But Cleveland Jr. said recently, his father had started hanging out with the wrong people, and ended up in the hospital after getting into a fight with some men.
“They blacked his eye, busted his chin to where he had to have stitches,” said Cleveland Jr.
Cleveland Jr. said his father even called the family to say someone had shot up his house. That was July 10, and ever since then, they haven't heard a word.
Now, his son fears the people who beat his father up may be responsible for his disappearance.
“They did some things to him,” said Cleveland Jr. “And a couple of days later, he came up missing without a trace.”
The family has kept in touch with the Oklahoma City police department, but so far they've had no luck tracking Cleveland down. So all his family can do is to wait and pray.
“Honestly, I don't want to think of the worst, you know,” said Cleveland Jr. “I just hope that he's out there somewhere.”
But Cleveland Jr. fears that his father may be one of the 13 unidentified people at the Medical Examiner's office. They just need confirmation from the authorities.
“We just want to bring closure to the family, because you know it's tearing us apart,” said Cleveland Jr.
Cleveland Jr. said both he and his aunt were asked to submit DNA samples to police just in case.
So far no word if their DNA is a match.
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has created a database called Namus (national missing and unidentified persons system). The Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office is in the process of entering information for each unidentified person in Oklahoma into the NamUs system. This information can be viewed by the public and direct contacts are included.
The DNA in the database is continually compared across the NamUs Unidentified and Missing Persons sites.