MSU forensic anthropologist Jesse Goliath is the director of the Mississippi Repository for Missing and Unidentified Persons. The database exists to fill the gap left by a lack of such databases on the state and national level. The website, which launched in November, features a searchable portal with access to public case information. The information listed helps law enforcement agencies find missing people and identify remains.
“We want all Mississippians to know who is missing in their state and be able to report when their loved ones are missing,” Goliath said in a MSU press release. “This repository will help law enforcement direct their efforts and resources to known regions of missing persons. With the unidentified persons data, we could potentially solve cold cases that exist in the state.”
Jordan Lynton Cox is another assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Culture. Goliath said researchers like Cox will use geospatial analysis to determine medicolegal and health disparities across the state.
Goliath, who holds a Ph.D. in anthropology and a graduate minor in anatomy from Ohio State University, first began using his forensic skills for the U.S. Department of Defense as a contractor working with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency identifying missing service members from past war conflicts. He joined MSU’s faculty in 2021 and recently became the university’s first fellow in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the premier organization for professional forensic scientists in the country.