CANTON TWP., Mich. (FOX 2) - Police are collecting DNA from bodies at the Knollwood Memorial Park in Canton Wednesday afternoon.
The Detroit police, FBI agents and Michigan State Police are at the scene digging bodies of unidentified people, taking DNA samples from them at the cemetery, located at 1299 Ridge Road. Some of the bodies may be connected to homicide cases but the dig is not part of a criminal investigation, said DPD.
The dig is to see if the DNA proves successful and authorities can connect the bodies to other cases. According to a release, the operation is meant to use new technologies to identify unknown victims.
"With the advancement of technology and DNA, this Operation will focus on victims of Homicide dating back to 1959 that currently do not have DNA on file. Over the next few months, Detroit Police and its partners will exhume unidentified homicide remains for the collection of DNA in efforts to identify the victims."
The law enforcement operation is called UNITED - Unknown Names Identified Through Exhumation and DNA. The collection of the DNA will be sent to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS) and processed at their Human Identification Lab. Once in the lab, it will be uploaded into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), as well as the FBI's National DNA Index System (NDIS) to be searched against all appropriate indexes for potential associations.
Detroit Police is asking families of missing loved ones to come forward and submit DNA to help identify the victims.
Memorial Park is a pauper's cemetary in which unidentified bodies that go unclaimed are buried there by the medical examiner.