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Silent WitnessForensic DNA Evidence in Criminal Investigations and Humanitarian Disasters$
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Henry Erlich, Eric Stover, and Thomas J. White

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190909444

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190909444.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2021

Disappeared, Not Lost

Disappeared, Not Lost

Finding El Salvador’s Missing Children

(p.173) Chapter 8 Disappeared, Not Lost
Silent Witness

Andrea Lampros

Montserrat Martínez Gómez

Cristián Orrego Benavente

Patricia Vásquez Marías

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the use of DNA in reuniting families separated by the armed conflict in El Salvador, highlighting the history and trajectory of the nongovernmental Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos de El Salvador (the Association in Search of Missing Children of El Salvador; http://www.probusqueda.org.sv/), established two years after the end of the armed conflict in El Salvador (1980–1992). Pro-Búsqueda’s in-house database of forensic genetic profiles of family references as well as of children, now young adults, separated from their families during the 13-year conflict, serves not only to confirm biological kinship but often, following initial partial matching of DNA profiles, to suggest investigatory leads. The chapter chronicles Pro-Búsqueda’s use of DNA in the search for El Salvador’s missing children, lessons learned in finding and reuniting family members, and the complexities of the process for investigators and survivors. The chapter tells the story of parents who lost children, children who found parents, and Father Jon de Cortina, the priest who spearheaded the search.

Keywords:   Pro-Búsqueda, El Salvador disappeared, stolen children, family reunification, forensic science, forced adoption, Father Jon de Cortina, Cristián Orrego, Eric Stover

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