DNA Testing Identifies Long-Term Missing Child

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Thursday, 28 August 2003

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children announces expansion of partnership with ChoicePoint®

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) today announced that a newly expanded partnership with ChoicePoint has resulted in the first identification of the remains of a long-term missing child.

As part of an expanded charitable initiative, the Bode Technology Group, a ChoicePoint company, provides free DNA identification testing to NCMEC. Medical examiners and coroners in the United States submit samples to Bode Technology for DNA analysis and a comparison can be made to reference samples provided through NCMEC.

DNA testing by Bode Technology led to the identification on Aug. 15 of Kevin Lee Gilpin in Casey County, Ky., whose remains were discovered in June at the bottom of an abandoned well. Gilpin was 19 years old when he was reported missing in April 1997.

Officials estimated that the remains had been in the well for five to ten years, and were determined to be a white male, between 17 and 20 years old. A comparison of missing person records indicated a possible match with Kevin Lee Gilpin. Dental records were not available, leaving DNA testing as the only possible means of identification.

A DNA profile was generated from a reference sample provided by Gilpin's mother. These results were compared with a DNA profile from samples of the remains provided by the Kentucky Office of the Medical Examiner. The testing established that the remains in the well were those of Kevin Lee Gilpin. Kentucky State Police are now investigating the case as a homicide.

Dr. Emily Craig, the forensic anthropologist with the Kentucky Office of the Medical Examiner and the one in charge of establishing the identity of the victim was pleased with the partnership. "Without this assistance from Bode and NCMEC, this person would have never been positively identified. This is a remarkable service ChoicePoint offers to the scientific community, it makes technology within reach of local budgets."

In the expanded partnership with NCMEC, ChoicePoint offers free DNA processing through Bode to families of missing children. Parents of long-term missing children are given free DNA collection kits with which they can submit DNA samples to NCMEC.

"We know from experience that DNA testing can be very expensive, in addition to being a very lengthy process. ChoicePoint will provide the means for parents of missing children to continue the search for that child indefinitely. We've also been fortunate to receive nuclear and mitochondrial DNA tests, free of charge. By providing these tests, ChoicePoint has provided another great service to families and to law enforcement," said Ernie Allen, NCMEC's President and CEO.

"We understand the importance of learning what has happened to a loved one who has gone missing," said Dr. Kevin McElfresh, general manager of Bode Technology Group. "We believe that the service we provide to NCMEC is an important part of our mission. It is equally important that the information that we provide to the families can often be used as the critical link to bring a criminal to justice."

DNA testing is critical when confirming the identity of infants and children when several years have passed since the child went missing. Recently, DNA testing was utilized in two cases where children identified by authorities were suspected to be victims of abduction. In both cases, the children turned out not to be the long-term missing children in question but DNA testing provided the final answer.

NCMEC last year presented ChoicePoint with its annual Corporate Leadership Award, which recognizes organizations that work to improve children's welfare. Since 2000, ChoicePoint and NCMEC have worked together to locate or recover more than 800 children, many of whom now are adults and had been missing for five years or more.

About NCMEC

NCMEC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. NCMEC's congressionally mandated CyberTipline, a reporting mechanism for child sexual exploitation, has handled more than 145,000 leads. Since its establishment in 1984, NCMEC has assisted law enforcement with more than 89,000 missing child cases, resulting in the recovery of more than 73,000 children. For more information about NCMEC and for free copies of child safety information, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or order online at www.missingkids.com.

About ChoicePoint

ChoicePoint (NYSE: CPS) is the leading provider of identification and credential verification services for making smarter decisions in a world challenged by increased risks. Serving the needs of business, government, non-profit organizations and individuals, ChoicePoint works to create a safer and more secure society through the responsible use of information while ensuring the protection of personal privacy. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.choicepoint.com.

For more information, or to contact National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, see their website at: www.missingkids.org

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