Taiwan’s Keelung police officer identifies unclaimed body with a necklace and photo

The family said that even though the outcome was not what they would like to see, it brought them closure to years of mental torment

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(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A police officer in Taiwan’s Keelung City identified the body of a woman who went missing in 2016 with a necklace and Facebook photo of hers, helping return her body to her family, Liberty Times reported on Saturday (April 15).

Hsu Yao-bin (許耀彬), a section chief at the First Precinct, Keelung City Police Bureau who has a reputation for identifying unclaimed bodies, received a call from a woman in April. The woman asked him to help look for her 53-year-old sister surnamed Huang, who was reported missing on February 3, 2016, according to Liberty Times.

After listening to the woman, Hsu told her, “I will do my best to help you. Please don’t worry,” the news outlet said.

Hsu found that since Huang went missing, there had been no browsing nor records of her posting on social media. He also compared Huang with more than 100 files of unclaimed bodies, and found that a female’s body was found by coastal anglers on February 13, 2016, according to the news outlet.

Hsu further noted that the female’s body, found stuck in the concrete blocks beside the embankment of National Taiwan Ocean University’s marina in Keelung, had characteristics similar to Huang’s in terms of stature and profile, and the region in which the body was found seemed appropriate, Liberty Times reported.

Even though the body recovered from the scene was beyond recognition as it had been soaked in sea water for a long time, a “platinum necklace suspending a green jade pendant with a round hole" was discovered around the neck of the body. However, no family members recognized the necklace.

The section chief dug deeper into Huang’s earlier photos in Facebook and found a photo of hers with a necklace that looked exactly the same as the one on the unclaimed body. Hsu reasoned that the unclaimed body was very likely to be Huang, who had gone missing for three years.

Saliva samples of Huang’s family members were then sent to the Institute of Forensic Medicine, Ministry of Justice for genealogical DNA tests, and the results confirmed that the unclaimed body, numbered A098, was Huang, according to the news outlet.

Hsu along with Huang’s family members went to the section for unclaimed bodies in the city’s cemetery and searched for the tombstone of the A098 body. When they found it, the family members' faces were bathed in tears, the news outlet said.

They bowed to Hsu to express their gratitude to him for his efforts in finding Huang, saying that even though the outcome was not what they would like to see, it brought them closure after years of mental anguish, and provided a final resting place for their deceased family member, Liberty Times reported.