FBI asks families of the missing for DNA samples to help with identification
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu’s FBI office has sent members of its evidence response team to Maui to assist with the identification of fire victims.
While more than 100 people have died in the disaster, only a handful have been officially identified.
Retired FBI agent Tom Simon, who now owns Simons Investigations in Florida, said that it’s not going to be an easy process. “Burned bodies present a host of unique challenges,” he said, adding while the details can be graphic, they’re important to address so that families can get closure.
Simon said identifying fire victims may require fingerprint or DNA analysis.
“The FBI maintains the largest repository of fingerprint data in the world as well as the largest non commercial DNA database,” he said.
With hundreds of people still missing in the wake of the Lahaina wildfire, the FBI is asking relatives — specifically “parents, siblings, and children” — to get swabbed for DNA to assist the effort.
Maui County is moving its Family Assistance Center from the Kahului Community Center to the Hyatt Regency Kaanapali’s Monarchy Ballroom starting Friday.
The center will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Those who are not on Maui can call the FBI office at (808) 566-4300 or send an email to HN-COMMAND-POST@ic.fbi.gov with your contact information.
The FBI will provide instructions in an emailed response.
The FBI said in a statement that he DNA samples will not be retained and are for the “sole purpose” of helping with identification of victims.
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