Department of Public Safety News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2011
State officials release updated list of unaccounted-for individuals; release names of 120 persons who died following May 22 EF-5 tornado
The Missouri Department of Public Safety this afternoon reported that the number of persons unaccounted-for as a result of the EF-5 tornado that devastated Joplin on May 22 now stands at 10. All persons once classified as reported deceased by their families, but awaiting scientific confirmation of their identities, have now been identified and their next-of-kin notified.
On May 26, the department released a list of 232 individuals for whom an official missing persons report had been filed. More than 60 law-enforcement and emergency-management personnel, including Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers, State Emergency Management Agency staff, federal partners, and local detectives are working under the department's direction on this top priority. At 9 a.m. on May 27, the number had been reduced to 156; at 1 p.m. on May 28, the number had been reduced to 100; at 11 a.m. on May 29, the number had been reduced to 43; at 11:30 a.m. on May 30, the number had been reduced to 29.
The Department of Public Safety provided the following updated totals, as of 11 a.m. May 31:
· 10 persons are unaccounted for
· 144 persons have been reported located
· 37 additional missing persons reports have been filed
· 4 persons have been confirmed to have been reported on the list twice or under different names
Persons categorized as "reported located" are individuals who the Missouri State Highway Patrol has received credible information indicating that they are alive. Following the release and posting of the initial list on May 26, the Highway Patrol received many phone calls and e-mails that included credible information about the location of individuals. The Patrol is also monitoring postings on facebook and other social media sites. The Patrol and local police continue to pursue information to confirm the status of these individuals.
"As of today, the number of unaccounted-for individuals has been reduced to 10, from 232 on May 26, and our 24-hour a day effort continues," said Department of Public Safety Deputy Director Andrea Spillars. "Since Gov. Nixon directed the Department of Public Safety to take charge of locating all unaccounted-for individuals, and notifying the next-of-kin of all the confirmed deceased, the Highway Patrol has devoted all available personnel to this effort. The department, the Patrol and SEMA are committed to continuing this around the clock effort.”
Spillars said that the department is encouraged by the fact that 144 persons who were once unaccounted-for have now been reported to be located. The Missouri State Highway Patrol, local law enforcement and others continue to work to confirm each of these reports.
The names of unaccounted-for individuals are being cross-referenced with all hospitals that admitted or treated patients injured during the tornado, shelters housing tornado survivors, applicants for disaster assistance and the Red Cross Safe and Well program. Additionally, the Department of Public Safety is working with cell phone service providers to check whether cell phones have been used by individuals who have been unaccounted-for since their names were added to the list.The unaccounted-for list is available on the Missouri Department of Public Safety Web site, www.dps.mo.gov and will be updated daily. As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 31, the next-of-kin of 120 deceased individuals have been notified. The names of these deceased individuals are:
To help reduce the list of unaccounted-for individuals and speed the process of reuniting tornado survivors with loved ones, Spillars urged the public to call the Missouri State Highway Patrol Found-Persons Hotline: 417-895-6868.
To get direction on filing a report about an unaccounted-for individual, families and loved ones are encouraged to call 417-659-5464 or file a report with the Highway Patrol in person at the Billingsley Student Center on the campus of Missouri Southern State University.The Department of Public Safety will release a daily update of those individuals confirmed as deceased as a result of the tornado, following notification of next-of-kin. The updates will be available on the department Web site, www.dps.mo.gov.
For more information, call 573-751-4819 or e-mail [email protected]