How the Online Inquiry Center Works

The Online Inquiry Center (OIC) allows users to enter and retrieve information on the status of individual cases. The Report a Missing Person option accepts basic data about the missing person, including data about the closest living relative(s), and any additional details about the circumstance of disappearance.

At the Report a Missing Person stage, the user can indicate how much or how little they are prepared to allow the information to be shared. They can, for example, agree to share the information with ICMP but not with a government or with another organization. The more widely information is shared, the more useful it is likely to be in helping to locate and identify a missing person, but ICMP maintains a policy of absolute data security: if you do not want your information to be shared, it won’t be shared. The user decides on the extent to which data may be shared before submitting a Missing Person Data Form. Personal data is used only for the purposes for which it was provided. For further information, see ICMP's data protection policy.

The Online Inquiry Center also enables clients to track the status of a missing person through the Missing Persons Inquiry option. If you have registered a missing person with ICMP by providing one or more reference samples for DNA testing, the status of the case can be tracked simply by entering the name of the missing person. Access the Missing Persons Inquiry here.

When a family reference sample is provided to ICMP, a DNA profile is obtained and this profile is compared to all DNA profiles that ICMP has obtained from bone or tissue samples of mortal remains submitted by authorities. In order to find a DNA match, multiple family reference samples are usually needed. Close family members such as parents and children of the missing person provide the most useful samples for DNA matches: therefore, the number of samples provided and the closeness of the relationship affect the likelihood of finding a match.

In regard to geographical areas or events where ICMP has a program to collect reference samples for possible DNA identification of missing persons, the Missing Persons Inquiry will indicate if ICMP has enough family reference samples to have a good chance of finding a match, or if additional samples should be provided. If more samples are needed, a link on the Missing Persons Inquiry will allow you to indicate other family members whom ICMP can contact for samples.

A DNA match can only be found if a bone or tissue sample has been submitted to ICMP so that a DNA profile can be made and compared to the DNA taken from the reference samples of relatives.

Family members can help in the search for their loved ones by checking to see if ICMP has enough reference samples, and, if not, providing more information for additional samples. Any other updated information may also be useful. Contact ICMP here.

If ICMP has found a match between family DNA profiles and a DNA profile from a human remains sample, a DNA Report is issued to the institution – for example, the Coroner’s Office or another responsible government department – that submitted the postmortem sample. The OIC provides contact details of the institution that received the DNA Report.

DNA Reports are part of a broader legal and administrative identification process that takes into account all available information. In addition, sometimes DNA Reports are issued on more than one person, when several members of the same family have gone missing. This is because same-sex siblings, for example, cannot be distinguished if neither has any children who have provided reference samples. To find out the identification status of a case, families should contact the authority listed in the Missing Persons Inquiry result.

Personal data will be treated as confidential and used only for purposes for which it was provided. For further information, please contact ICMP or see ICMP's data protection policy.