Since 2019, KXAN investigators have tracked the way Texas law enforcement reports missing persons cases to a public database that has helped find loved ones and bring closure to families. During our reporting, Texas became one of a handful of states to require police to share critical details with the National Missing & Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). In the years to follow, our team found loopholes in the law allowing potentially thousands of cases to fall through the cracks – prompting lawmakers to take a closer look at transparency and accountability.
On April 1, 1999, Jamie Mayberry, 35, vanished from his Kenedy home with a stranger. Two decades later, a KXAN investigation sparks a fresh look at the case, uncovering possible missteps by police in those early days.
For years, KXAN investigators have explored challenges families find in seeking answers about missing loved ones. Listen to the “Catalyst” podcast’s inaugural season, including our latest update episodes.
Our investigation and the work of advocates and families results in a push to require the use of a national database which uses fingerprints, DNA and dental records to solve missing and unidentified persons cases.
Certain classifications, older timeframes and lengthy reporting requirements mean Texas police have not always reported missing persons cases to the NamUs database, prompting state leaders to take a closer look.