by: Arezow Doost
Posted: Feb 25, 2021 / 12:01 AM CST / Updated: Feb 25, 2021 / 10:28 PM CST
Texas is one step closer to requiring the use of a national database which uses fingerprints, DNA and dental records to solve missing and unidentified persons cases. Ten states have passed laws mandating police and medical examiners to enter case details to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System or NamUs – but not Texas, even though it’s based in Fort Worth. Now two Texas families and a newly elected lawmaker are determined to help others looking for loved ones.
HOUSTON (KXAN) — Standing on the side of a packed street in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, David Fritts held his son’s picture and talked to anyone who would listen.
The photo was a more recent one of Joseph smiling. Fritts would show it to shop owners along the border and people crossing from Texas.
He would tell them that he was 5’10”, with brown hair and brown eyes and was last in the Laredo area.
“It’s really hard to describe the feeling of looking for your son with a picture and showing it to people … at one moment you’re determined and the other you feel so vulnerable,” the father described. “A lot of people were so kind … really caring people saying, ‘Oh I’m so sad,’ and they would look at the picture and say, ‘Oh, that’s your son, isn’t it?'”
He would make the trip countless times, even going to Costa Rica because Joseph loved to surf.
“Weeks turned into months,” Fritts said. “As time passed, especially after his brother Jordan’s birthday … we were all realizing how dire it was.”
A Marine’s struggle
Joseph was Fritts’ middle child.
“He was so full of life and had so many great friends and always lit up the room. He was just such a character,” he said, smiling.
Fritts recalled how he excelled in college and then how proud he was when he joined the Marines.
“Joseph was the rough, tough little buffed-up guy, you know. Even in the Marines, he was number one in that whole class, as far as physical activity, you know. But it’s still tough, you know. It’s still mentally and physically tough, and Joseph didn’t always smile in pictures, but that one he was definitely smiling after boot camp. He was so happy to have graduated,” Fritts said, pointing to a picture of Joseph in uniform.
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If your state is not requiring the use of NamUs contact your local representative and ask them to start legislation to require it.
Unidentified Person / NamUs #UP68549
Date Body Found: April 12, 2020
Location Found: Shoals Point on Kruzof Island near Sitka, Alaska
Estimated Age Range: 30-50 Years
Race / Ethnicity: Hispanic / Latino, Asian, American Indian / Alaska Native
Circumstances of Recovery: AST received a call from a bystander stating they located human remains while exploring Kruzof Island. The remains were located near Shoals Point on what used to be a road/path that has now become overgrown. No known grave sites are located nearby but the area is known for being a WWII site.
Condition of Remains: Not recognizable - Partial skeletal parts only
Harbor Defenses of Sitka, Alaska
LOCATION : Shoals Point, Kruzof Island (Fort Babcock)
6-inch Battery 290 Emergency 6-inch Battery Allen
The first men arrived at Shoals Point in 1942. About thirty men from Battery A of the 266th Coast Artillery were assigned to construct an emergency battery of two old six-inch guns that the Navy gave to the Army for the defense of Sitka Sound. The two guns were emplaced on pedestal mounts just above the high tide line and just inside the trees. The 266th Coast Artillery referred to these guns as Battery Allen in their Christmas Dinner Menu of 1942. Cpl. Ted Gutches spent much of 1942 and 1943 at Shoals Point and has shared stories, photos and other memorabilia from his visit.
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