LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Right now, there are about 82,000 total people still missing from every major conflict since World War II. Of those, 81 are from Nevada. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) is a government agency that is actively searching for all of those people.
The DPAA is working to get DNA swabs of family members related to those missing so that if and when they're found, they can be identified. They then work to actually locate the remains of the people missing.
Last year, 217 people were found and identified. About 75% of those are former unknown soldiers. The DPAA researches what is known about the unknown soldiers, then if they are confident they can identify them positively, they're able to do DNA testing on the remains.
The other way MIA are identified is through a search. The DPAA researches anything from where the person was last seen to where planes went down to where major battles were fought. They conduct interviews with any witnesses then determine the best area to search. Then, they bring in teams of dozens of people and dig for about a month, hoping to find any human remains. Even if it's just a tooth, that's all it takes to ID a person and solve the mystery of what happened to them.
The DPAA held a meeting in Henderson to update local families on their loved ones' cases. Attendees heard updates on new technology being used to search and their own personal cases. There were also chances for family members to give DNA swabs.