Forensic Anthropology Laboratory & Human Remains Repository
When partial or complete skeletal remains are recovered in New Jersey, the Forensic Anthropology Laboratory (FAL) initially
determines whether the remains are human. If human, a forensic anthropological examination and analysis is done. Such analysis
includes the determination of sex, ancestry, estimation of age and stature, and/or other characteristics unique to the remains to
assist in the determination of cause of death or the identification of the decedent. Additional assistance includes completion of the
National Crime Information Center (N.C.I.C.) reports and entry of unidentified persons into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons
System (NamUs). These are national databases which assist law enforcement and medical examiners/coroners in the comparison of missing and
unidentified persons. The FAL can also provide an initial assessment of presumptive identification on the basis of medical and/or dental records.
The FAL also provides assistance in the search, excavation, and recovery of surface or buried remains and associated evidence.
The FAL can also provide a three-dimensional clay facial reconstruction of unidentified decedents, and assists in the preparation and completion of
composite drawings of the face based upon analysis of the skull.
Since 2008, the FAL has worked with a team of trained New Jersey Forensic Odontologists, as part of a formalized Dental Initiative, to digitize,
scan, and code all dental information on missing and unidentified persons from New Jersey into a secure, state-wide, centralized dental database.
This Initiative follows similar dental protocols used in mass disasters. The objective is to have at least two experienced and trained Forensic
Odontologists review the dental information to ensure accuracy of the information entered into our national databases. Digitized x-rays are also
uploaded to NamUs for review by other trained Forensic Odontologists around the country working on missing and unidentified person cases.
The Human Remains Repository allows for the secure, long-term curation (storage) and retrieval of unidentified human skeletal remains from cold cases.
The FAL is able to provide skeletal samples from these cases to the DNA Laboratory for mitochondrial and nuclear DNA analysis, which may assist in the identification process.
Read more about Donna [pdf]