View: FBI speaks on efforts to identify remains recovered in Lahaina wildfire aftermath

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Maui Police Chief John Pelletier speaks at a County-led press conference regarding the recovery and identification of missing individuals linked to the Lahaina wildfire disaster. PC: Wendy Osher (8.22.23) *View the full press conference at our Maui Now Facebook page.

County and federal officials joined in discussing the process involved in accounting for individuals who have been reporting missing, as well as the process involved in identifying remains recovered in the aftermath of the Lahaina wildfire disaster.

The number of those still unaccounted for was estimated at 850 on Monday by Mayor Richard Bissen. The FBI today said the number as of Tuesday afternoon stands at between 1,000 and 1,100 individuals. FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill said the change in numbers comes as more lists are merged from various sources including shelters, the private sector, state agencies, the police and FBI.

“The Maui Police Department, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies are doing critically important work. On behalf of our community, I want to express our gratitude for their efforts, care and compassion,” said Mayor Richard Bissen. “This is an extraordinarily difficult time for many families, and our hearts are with them as we make our way through this time.”

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Anyone who is interested in submitting an official report on someone who is still unaccounted for following the wildfire disaster is asked to contact the Maui Police Department at [email protected].

If you reported an individual as unaccounted for and have since made contact with that person(s), you are urged to contact the FBI at (808) 566-4300 or [email protected], so that they can be removed from the list of people who are still unaccounted for.

“If you have already submitted complaints to the Maui Police Department about a missing person, or to the FBI, or anyone else, please follow back up to ensure that they have the most up-to-date and accurate information, including dates of birth, what they look like, who they’re related to, further contact information,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill.

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The county’s Family Assistance Center is working with families and individuals to gather DNA samples to assist with the identification process. If you are the immediate family member of someone who has been reported unaccounted for, please go to the Family Assistance Center (Hyatt Regency’s Monarchy Ballroom, located at 200 Nohea Kai Dr., Lahaina, HI 96761) between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily to submit a DNA sample. If you live outside of Maui, including on one of the neighbor islands or on the continental U.S., please contact the FBI at 808-566-4300 or hn-comma[email protected] to coordinate the submission of a DNA sample.

DNA samples that are collected at the Family Assistance Center are only used for identification of wildfire victims and survivors and will not be stored or used for any other purpose.

“I want to make sure that we reassure people that by coming in and providing a DNA sample, the only purpose for which it will be used is identifying the unaccounted for,” said Maui County Prosecutor Andrew Martin, the coordinator of the county’s Family Assistance Center.

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Stay with Maui Now as we bring you more on the ongoing search and recovery effort.

The full press conference is posted on our Maui Now Facebook page.

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