Acting Captain Rob Huss
Government and Media Relations
(360) 596-4010 – office
(360) 596-4015 – fax
*** For Immediate Release***
WSP’s Missing Unidentified Person’s Unit Assists in Identifying Remains
Olympia -- The Washington State Patrol (WSP) Missing and Unidentified Person’s Unit (MUPU) last week assisted local law enforcement agencies in positively identifying the remains of two missing persons.
The first identification occurred June 26th when a forensic odontologist on contract with MUPU matched the records on file with MUPU to skeletal remains being examined by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office. The records matched those of Keith Anderson, who had been reported missing by the Anacortes Police Department in January 2010. The investigation of Anderson’s death remains under investigation by the Anacortes Police Department.
The second identification came June 29th with the identification of Rita Kagawa, whose dental records were matched by a forensic odontologist with those on file with MUPU. Ms. Kagawa had been reported missing since May of this year by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office. Kagawa’s death remains under investigation by the Thurston and Pierce County Sheriff’s Offices.
MUPU currently maintains dental records of nearly 1,200 missing persons submitted by city and county law enforcement agencies throughout Washington State. These dental comparisons are then used by odontologists on contract with MUPU along with medical examiners and coroner’s throughout the state to assist in the positive identification of unidentified persons or skeletal remains that have been found.
These identifications are invaluable to law enforcement and coroners in the investigations of missing persons, many of which are criminal in nature. But the closure these identifications provide families in positively identifying their missing loved ones, although never with the outcome they’d hoped for, provide them some closure and a measure of comfort knowing their loved one has been found.
While the MUPU staff work tirelessly to catalog each record they hope will never be needed, their efforts are able to put a name and a life to these “human remains” as they are otherwise called before being positively identified. MUPU is a unit within the WSP legislatively mandated to collect and store dental records of missing persons.