Doe Network Searches for Missing Persons

ByABC News via GMA logo
April 8, 2004, 7:09 PM

April 9 -- When Dana Gonzalez lies down to sleep each night, she can't help but notice the restless ghosts all around her.

"I go to bed at night and I say 'Who are you and why isn't anyone looking for you?' I feel like these families deserve closure," said Gonzalez, a 35-year-old accounts receivable clerk from New Jersey.

Gonzalez is part of a 200-member Internet group known as The Doe Network: International Center for Unidentified and Missing Persons. The group operates a database that has grown to include more 1,000 unidentified people on its Web site,

The site, which boasts roughly 400,000 visitors since it was founded in 1999, is part of the group's effort to match the faces of missing loved ones with bodies of unidentified corpses.

Members of the network volunteer to dig into unexplained disappearances better known as cold cases which have received little public attention in recent years.

The Doe Network says there are more than 5,400 of these "official" unidentified disappearances, with some cases as much as 20 and 30 years old.

Generally, Doe Network members are regular people, with no history in law enforcement. They're happy to comb through records and don't mind wading through grisly details such as dental records while in pursuit of the truth. The members try to draw connections between missing persons cases and bodies that have been found, but remain unidentified.

"One case that really has us all several of us that are almost obsessed with this case is a case of a young girl who was probably 13,14,15 years old," said Gonzalez. "She had no ID characteristics, no tattoos or scars, but she had deep tan lines, very young," Gonzalez said. "That probably is the one case that has us all up at night."

Looking for Lost Relatives

Guests to the Web site post links to information about their lost relatives. Users can also search a database that has details on unidentified bodies and missing people.