Over 3,900 people are missing in Michigan. ID the Missing seeks to chip away at that

"I'm looking for a friend who used to hang out in my neighborhood," said Tammy White.

Hailing from the east side of Detroit, White hasn't seen her 33-year-old friend Brandon Brooks in about three years. So why, on Tuesday, would she come to the Warren City Hall to talk to a Michigan State police officer?

"We currently have over 3,900 missing in the state of Michigan alone," said Jolene Hardesty, a missing person analyst with MSP.

And of those 3,900 or so missing, more than 800 are children. And that's why the Michigan State police, with Warren Police, are hosting "ID the missing." It's an event for the general public to ask the police to find or identify the missing.  

So using White's case: Brandon Brooks, 33, was last seen at 7 Mile and Gratiot at a McDonald's. That's not a lot of information to go on. How might law enforcement find him?

"So we're going to start looking in our law enforcement databases, we're going to look at law enforcement contacts - see if he's been in contact with other law enforcement agencies," said Hardesty.

And in many cases, if a relative is missing a DNA sample can be used and can be given at this event.

"We collect DNA from the family members of missing loved ones and we submit them to the national DNA database called KOTUS and we hope that they hit off some of our identified remains that are in KOTAS right now," said Hanna Friedlander, a human remains analyst.

And there are over 315 unidentified remains in the state of Michigan. State Police also use dental records and facial reconstructions to identify those remains.  

"I think the program is excellent. I mean with so much going on today, we need something like this here," said White.

The Michigan State police said it's hard to quantify their success. However programs like this do work.  

"It's good - it's good networking for law enforcement, it's good networking for the public to get our name out there and get our mission out there," said Haresty.

ID the missing has been around for about 11 years.