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Family Reference Samples

In 2010, the office of Inspector General through the association with the International Association of Cold Case Investigators, joined with Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office, Tulsa Police Department and the Oklahoma City Police Department to help find relatives of missing persons that have not donated DNA.


The purpose of this program is twofold; assist in identifying unidentified human remains located across the nation and to assist love ones of missing persons by attempting to collect DNA from a blood relative. These family DNA samples, referred to as “Family Reference Samples” are then sent to the University of North Texas.

DNA Profiles Uploaded to National DNA Index System (NDIS)

The University of North Texas Center for Human Identification has the responsibility to receive DNA samples from unidentified persons as well as from family members of missing persons, process those samples, and upload the DNA profiles into the National DNA Index System (NDIS). In the NDIS, profiles from missing and unidentified persons across the United States are searched against one another in an attempt to make identifications. It is important to know that DNA profiles from family members are only searched against unidentified persons in the NDIS, and are not searched against the profiles of unknown criminal suspects. If a family member resides outside the State of Oklahoma, arrangements can be made to have his/her DNA collected at a location close to home.

What is the process to have my DNA collected? 

The family member who volunteers to have their DNA collected is required to sign a permission form. The family member will then be interviewed by a local officer, who swabs the inside of their cheek; this process takes about 10 minutes. Officers then note information on the missing person. If a police report has already been taken, information about that report will be important. If no police report has been taken, officers will asked for the missing person’s full name, date of birth, tattoos, dental information, broken bones, scars, social security number and any circumstances surrounding the time the person went missing. A DNA search will then be completed on all current unidentified remains as well as any unidentified remains which may be received in the future.

Who should I contact for questions regarding this process?

Please contact our Tulsa office at (918) 295-3202.

Last Modified on Dec 08, 2020
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