Unidentified bodies and remains

If you’re searching for a missing person, you might be thinking about every outcome and wanting to understand more about unidentified bodies. We understand that even thinking about this can be difficult, and very distressing. We’re always here to listen if you need us.

What happens to unidentified bodies?

Sometimes, when a body or human remains are found, they aren’t easily matched to a person. When a body is found and there no identity details, the police will use DNA checks, finger prints, dental checks and other ways to try and work out who it is.

Searching for a match

The UK Missing Persons Unit holds a database of bodies and remains that haven’t been identified. Police can request a search of this database to see if they can find a match.

Police are also able to request that their unidentified bodies or remains cases are added to the UK Missing Persons Unit website so that members of the public can potentially assist in identifying them. This information is publicly available, so you can search it yourself if you want to. For some people with a missing person, they find it helpful to look themselves. For others, it is very upsetting and they don’t wish to see it.

It’s important that you are aware that it exists. We know that it is a very difficult thing to look at. If you don’t want to view it yourself, it might be something to mention to your police team.

Note that the case-search facility on the UK Missing Persons Unit website contains graphic images and viewer discretion is advised.

Visit the UK Missing Persons Unit website

Talk to us

Thinking about the worst possible outcome for your missing loved one can stir up a lot of emotions. If you need to chat to someone, we’re here for free and in confidence.

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