First identification through Interpol DNA databank

For the first time, a match has been found in the Interpol DNA databank with a DNA profile from the Netherlands. This made it possible for the Dutch police to inform the family and employer of a 54-year-old man who had been reported missing that his body had been found in Slovakia in May.

Image: ©Netherlands Forensic Institute / Netherlands Forensic Institute
Kees van der Beek

The Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) has been sending all DNA profiles of missing persons or unknown dead persons to Interpol since October 2011. This international police organisation compares these profiles with those from other countries.

The 54-year-old man from Teuge (NL) had been missing since 13 May of this year. The police investigated the absence thoroughly, but did not find any clues that could point to a crime. This was also the reason why a DNA profile of the man was entered into the DNA databank for missing persons. This databank is managed by the NFI.

“If this does not produce a match, we send the profile to Interpol for international comparison. This is done about fifty times a year”, Kees van der Beek explains. He is the manager of several DNA databanks. “We send the data and also get the results back. If there is a match, we pass this on to the police. They maintain the contact with the family.”

The body was found in Slovakia, near a railway line, on 21 May. “When the Slovakian authorities did not obtain clarity about the identity of the body found, they decided at some point to send DNA to the international database of Interpol. The match was established through this database.”