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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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