Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Social Sciences

Committee Chair/Advisor

Katherine Weisensee

Committee Member

Ye Luo

Committee Member

Lynn Mohammad Abdouni


This study explores the silent mass disaster of unidentified deceased persons that is occurring across the United States and identifies the individual and community level characteristics that make a person “at-risk” of becoming an unidentified deceased person within the United States. This study identifies trends-based hotspots by using data reported on the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) and comparing those trends to the gender United States population. It finds that males, and age of death between 20-64 are overrepresented and White persons are underrepresented in the unidentified deceased person sample when compared the general population. Social and human capital county level variables are examined when comparing hotspots. The results suggest that there are demographic patterns that are consistent at the state and county level as predictors for a person to be in the unidentified deceased person population.

Available for download on Friday, May 31, 2024