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Letters to the Editor: Another way to identify bodies in Abaco

Letters to the Editor May 25, 2020 at 9:30 am Eyewitness News

Dear Editor, I am writing to you to share some information with my family and friends on the island of Abaco and throughout the Bahamas. I was trained in DNA testing involving Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), molecular biology and genetics in the United States and received US board certification by the American Society of Clinical Pathologist (ASCP) and I also have accreditation from the College of American Pathologists (CAP). I am telling you this because I want the surviving relatives to know that if they have items such as a hair brush, a toothbrush, lipstick, dried blood on an object or on clothing of their loved one, biopsy samples from their loved one’s surgical procedure, dental records, samples from an insurance company for an application for life or health insurance, or even fingernail or toe nail clippings; it can be used to help identify their loved ones. Therefore, if indeed the bodies were destroyed and the coffins at the mass funeral were empty, some family members can use items that belonged to their loved ones that were saved to submit for testing. The government cannot deny this fact because they know it is true. But my humble suggestion however, is to request the government to release the name and location of the DNA testing laboratory that they used to the public, so that the family members can send their  loved one’s samples to the same laboratory and have that lab make a comparison of the samples the government submitted along with the samples that the families submitted. This is a method used to identify victims of the 9/11 World Trade Center and is also used to identify victims of a plane crash. Usually in severe cases such as this, the collection of DNA samples are video recorded or documented by officials that can be credible witnesses in a court of law. How was the collection of the DNA samples by the government of the Bahamas documented? Were photographs taken of the bodies in detail to identify physical attributes such as scars, piercings, birth marks or possible amputations such as a missing finger or foot? Were items of jewelry found on the victims and photographed? Were dental imprints also collected by the Bahamas government for comparison with local Dentist offices? If these things were not done the Bahamas government has done this country a terrible dis-service. I offer one last word of advice to those family members that may have samples in their possession that can be used for DNA identification testing. Do not give those samples to the Bahamas Government. I wish to remain anonymous please because of positions I previously held in the Healthcare field in the Bahamas. I hope this information can prove to be helpful even in the smallest measurement. Sincerely, A Concerned & Disappointed Abaconian.

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