News / World

Chicago coroner's office posts photos of unclaimed dead bodies online

In a controversial decision, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office in Chicago has begun posting photos of unclaimed dead bodies on its website.

The hope is that this will lead to the identification of the bodies, and in turn, result in a closure for the families.

The site was launched on Wednesday.

Medical examiner Steve Cina says that although some of the images may be graphic, he believes it’s a worthwhile practise, even if some people find the methods disturbing.

The website carries a disclaimer that there could be graphic images, some displaying bodies in a somewhat decomposed state.

Only a few images display the faces of the dead.

When there are photos showing faces, the website carries a further warning: “Please be advised of the potentially graphic nature of the images that you are linking to. They are from the autopsies of unidentified persons and some may be in a somewhat decomposed or damaged state.”

Other identifying photos are posted, showing perhaps tattoos that may help identify the body.

Other information is posted, including the date when the bodies were found, where they were found, how they were found and what they were wearing at the time.

Some cases go back to 2010.

“We're hoping that that photo can trigger somebody's memory,” Cina told MyFoxChicago.

Cina said that the program has already led to one family identifying their missing daughter who had been unidentified for a year.

Cina told that his office already posts information on NamUs, which is a national missing persons database.

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