How CJIS Can Help with Missing and Deceased Persons Cases

Law enforcement agencies (LEAs) can encounter various challenges when investigating cases of missing or deceased persons. A person reported as missing might be incarcerated, endangered, homeless, or affected by amnesia or another condition. When a person is deceased and a body is recovered, a LEA may need to verify the person’s identity or may not know the person’s identity. Depending on the individual's past, records related to their employment or criminal history can help LEAs with their efforts.

Variations in identification services and programs among federal, state, tribal, and international LEAs can pose further challenges. The FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division offers its Next Generation Identification (NGI) Missing Persons Services and Deceased Persons Identification (DPI) Services to help. 

How to Use the Missing and Deceased Persons Services  

The FBI’s NGI System contains biometric and biographic information from fingerprint submissions. LEAs must submit a “tenprint” record—a set of fingerprints recorded directly from a person’s fingers—to use the NGI Missing Persons or DPI Services. For missing persons, this would be an existing tenprint record that either the person reporting the individual missing or the submitting agency would have on file. Examples include a Child ID fingerprint card or a civil applicant fingerprint card. Deceased prints would be taken from the body of the deceased individual. 

The LEA should use either the missing or deceased types of transaction upon submitting a fingerprint record. Agencies should use NGI data fields to provide additional details, like whether the subject has a possible known identity or whether a missing person has special associated risks like gang membership, if more information is available. NGI will then process the submission. For deceased persons, the system will also search for matches against records in the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense fingerprint repositories.

Once NGI has successfully processed the submission, the system will produce one of three types of results: 

  • If a submission for a missing person matches the fingerprints of an individual with an existing NGI identity:
    • The system will notify the submitting agency and provide information concerning where the individual was previously encountered.
    • The submitting agency might also gain access to information like criminal charges or dispositions, depending on the type of encounter and the availability of records.
  • If fingerprints from a deceased person match fingerprints of an individual with an existing NGI identity:
    • The FBI will update the NGI record as deceased.
    • The FBI will also notify the agency that submitted the deceased identification request of the result via an automatic notification or email. 
  • If a submission for a missing person or deceased person doesn't match the fingerprints for an individual with an existing NGI identity:
    • The NGI system will notify the submitting LEA that no match was found.
    • The NGI system will also retain the fingerprints so that future submissions may be run against them. 
    • Subsequent notifications will be sent to the LEA that entered the missing person using the International Justice and Public Safety Network (also known as Nlets) Administrative Message.   

The NGI Missing Persons Services are available to LEAs if they have an open criminal case, an originating agency identifier, and a National Crime Information Center Missing Person File entry number. The NGI DPI Services are available to LEAs, medical examiners, and coroners. 

How to Get Assistance or More Information  

For information about fingerprint-based identification of missing or deceased persons, please email To get assistance with information requests for missing or deceased persons cases, please email