Recent Anthropology Graduate Knabs Prime Position 3 months after Graduation

Forensic Anthropologists are Employable!

23 October 2018

Hanna Friedlander, MA (June 2018) Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta, as a new hire with the Michigan State Police Special Investigations Missing Persons Unit, my responsibilities are vast and allow me to fully utilize my Masters in Anthropology while gaining new skills. One of my main responsibilities is to take charge of managing and updating the centralized database for human remains - the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). Information to populate this database is supplied via communication with the 80+ Michigan counties respective Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The majority of this work will deal with cold cases; when system matches have been made, and remains are identified, I will be in charge of filing for cemetery exhumations and the repatriation of the remains to their closest living relative.

When new remains are found and reports are created, it is my responsibility to aid in the identification of these individuals. I will be working with both the officers from the Missing Persons Unit, and the supporting forensic anthropologists and odontologists, during postmortem and dental examinations. This includes gathering biometric data from the remains. In addition to office and morgue work, officers will have my contact information to send me photos of bone fragments that are found on a daily basis. My duties will be to identify if they are human or non-human in origin. If they are determined to be human, I will be assisting in the recovery of remains. This includes field searches with the Michigan State Police to locate unrecovered remains when possible.

As I become acclimated to this position, I will have the opportunity to work hands on with cadaver dogs. In addition, my experience with cremated remains allows me to aid the Michigan State Police and Firefighter Units in the recovery of remains from fire scenes. This work will be incorporated into my job as my experience with the Michigan State Police Special Investigations Missing Persons Unit grows.