With the announcement of familial DNA collection centres coming to the South Coast, Missing Persons Registry Commander, Detective Inspector Glen Browne is urging relatives of missing people to come forward.
In NSW, there are 769 cases of long term missing people, 100 of which are in the Southern Region of policing which stretches from Wollongong to the Victorian border.
"We're asking for as many biologically related relatives of long term missing people to come forward as possible," said Det Insp Browne.
The program was trialled in Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie and is expected to spread throughout regional centres over the next two or three months.
Familial DNA databases allow the police to link human remains with family relatives. Missing Persons Registry scientists require six DNA matches be made to relatives before a conclusive result can be made.
Golden State Killer
Familial DNA technology is not to be confused with Forensic Genetic Genealogy, the technology FBI agents in California used to crack the identity of the Golden State Killer.
For over four decades the identity of the Golden State Killer was unknown with many believing the murders must have been done by multiple people.
The cold case was cracked by FBI agents who conducted covert searches of two for-profit DNA companies which uncovered a familial link to the Golden State Killer, or Joseph James DeAngelo as he is really known.
Det Insp Browne said Forensic Genetic Genealogy is the next step along in the process of using DNA technology.
There are no missing persons agencies in Australia with Forensic Genetic Genealogy capabilities but Det Insp Browne said the New South Wales police force has progressed a long way down that path.
We are very hopeful of utilising that technology in the very near future.Detective Inspector Glen Browne
A few weeks ago Australia's national DNA database went live with a familial searching capability and INTERPOL are about to have the capability as well.
Mr Browne said the NSW Police Force was trying to get in early with a familial DNA database so it could be used in conjunction with an international database when it goes live.
One of the NSW Police State Crime Command podcasts examines the case of a mysterious jawbone which washed up on the northern NSW beach of Kingscliffe in 2011.
For nine years, police could not identify the origins of the jawbone until 2020 when familial DNA technology linked it to a relative who was a prisoner in Nowra jail.
It was through interviewing that prisoner that he told us about stories he'd heard from within his family of an uncle who died in a boating tragedy before the prisoner was born.Detective Inspector Glen Browne