Obama: Tornado-Ravaged Joplin, Missouri 'A National Tragedy'

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As of late today, 87 victims' bodies had been positively identified, with notification given to families by law enforcement. About 40 people were still listed as being "unaccounted-for."

Missouri Department of Public Safety deputy director Andrea Spillars said 50 officers have been working around the clock to notify family members of the status of missing family members with "accuracy and respect, with the hope that healing and mourning can begin."

To avoid mistakes and inaccurate identification Spillars said the identification of victims is being conducted by matching remains with X-rays, dental records and other identifying marks.

With cell service still considered spotty, authorities say they believe many of the missing could be alive, but not in a position to get in touch. However, they caution that many on the list may have been killed in the storm.

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