In an effort to identify some of the more than 20 unnamed bodies at its facility, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office is holding an open house for families of missing persons.
The medical examiner’s office currently posts cases and photos of unidentified people on its website, but on Saturday, Dr. Ponni Arunkumar will try something different, a so-called “Missing Persons Day.”
The event is the first of its kind in Cook County.
“Our goal is to be a centralized resource for those searching for loved ones,” Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar said in a statement.
Those with friends and family who have been missing for more than one month can submit DNA samples, medical records, pictures and other records to aid in their search. Emotional support services will also be available for families, the office said.
The samples collected Saturday will be added to a national DNA database, which can be used for future cases.
Similar open houses have been held in New York and proven to be successful, with seven cases solved so far.
“Even if there is one family that we are able to provide closure to that would be immensely fulfilling,” Arunkumar said.
The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office’s Robert J. Stein Institute of Forensic Medicine, located at 2121 W. Harrison St. in Chicago.