Not all law enforcement agencies have all the resources needed to effectively and efficiently investigate is a missing children's case… fortunately the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children can help.
Watch this recorded webinar to learn more about the range and array of NCMEC Resources available including:
- Searching for missing & unidentified children
- The use of forensic artists and the media to develop valuable leads
- Application of advanced forensic techniques such as pollen analysis and chemical isotopes
- Utilizing an array of forensic professions to help advance case information such as search experts and forensic anthropologists
Justice Clearinghouse Editors (JCH): Carol, you’re a new presenter for the Justice Clearinghouse. Tell us about yourself.
Carol Schweitzer: I’ve been with NCMEC now for over 12 years after getting my Masters in Forensic Psychology from Marymount University. The majority of my time at NCMEC has been in the Forensic Services Unit working on long-term missing, unidentified deceased, and cold-case homicides.
We encourage law enforcement to communicate with the lab
at all stages of the process
to ensure that the sample truly produces a usable DNA profile
that is eligible for upload into the national level of CODIS.
JCH: Your organization provides direct support to both law enforcement and medical examiners to help with missing children or serial offenders. Tell us a bit about this unit and the specific types of support you can provide?
Carol: The Forensic Services Unit is a small unit within the Missing Children Division at NCMEC. We provide direct support to law enforcement and medical examiners on cases of long-term missing children, child homicides, and unidentified deceased children. The team provides resource assistance, analytical support, case strategies, and public exposure to help advance these cases.
JCH: What is the biggest myth or misconception justice professionals might have about working missing children’s cases?
Carol: We are constantly educating law enforcement professionals about DNA and CODIS. It is very common for law enforcement to submit a forensic sample on a case to the lab with the request to upload into CODIS and have no further communication with lab personnel on that request, with the expectation that it has been completed. We encourage law enforcement to communicate with the lab at all stages of the process to ensure that the sample truly produces a usable DNA profile that is eligible for upload into the national level of CODIS. There have been countless times that when follow up questions are asked, we learn that more work is required. CODIS has many indexes and layers that it’s important to ask the right questions to make sure that the profile is searching proactively.
NCMEC [is] truly the national clearinghouse for all missing child issues
and the organization makes a significant impact not only on a national level
but on each individual case of a missing child.
JCH: What drew you to this line of work and what keeps you motivated, given everything you see on a regular basis?
Carol: I started off in this line of work with the desire to go into law enforcement. After starting at NCMEC my perspective changed and I realized that NCMEC was truly the national clearinghouse for all missing child issues and the organization makes a significant impact not only on a national level but on each individual case of a missing child. Every child matters and working here I have the privilege to not only support family members that have been searching for answers far too long, but also provide direct guidance and critical support to law enforcement that produces answers and brings cases to resolutions. The subject matter is tough, and yes some days are easier than others. The highs and lows of cold case work motivates me to keep going and endure the race knowing persistence pays off. The energy our team has is contagious and I’m extremely honored to have a place here at NCMEC.
Click Here to Watch "Forensic Services Unit Resources, Long-term Missing & Unidentified Children, for Justice Professionals."