Thanks to the portrayal on TV crime dramas, the image of walking into a morgue and identifying a loved one is stuck in all our minds. In reality, Live Scan allows the Sacramento County Coroner to identify the deceased through fingerprint technology – quickly, accurately and without undue stress on the family. Sacramento County is leading the state in progressive methods to ensure as many deceased are identified as possible, without the traumatic process of visual identification.
“Most of the deceased we process can be identified easily and quickly, but in some cases it takes more time,” Said County Coroner Kimberly Gin. “There is a lot that goes in to conclusively identifying or confirming the identity of the deceased, particularly if there is any trauma to the hands or skin. It isn’t how it looks on TV.”
Live Scan digital fingerprint system is just the first wave in a series of identification tools Sacramento County uses. If they cannot get a good set of fingerprints due to water damage or other trauma, cast moldings are taken of the thumbs, which are covered with fingerprint dust. This captures a much more precise imprint of even the faintest ridges. Dentals records and DNA samples may also be used if needed.
In some cases, all of these options have been exhausted and there is still no identification and Sacramento County Coroner could use your help! A list of unidentified persons can be found on the Sacramento County Coroner website with the date found, gender, race and approximant age. Your help could provide a lead in a cold case.
“We treat every deceased person with utmost dignity and respect and make it our top priority to provide clarity and closure for the living,” said Gin. “This is a daunting, but important job.”