DNA samples needed for identification of accident victims

21 Feb 2016 19:40pm
WINDHOEK, 21 FEB (NAMPA) - The National Scientific Forensic Institute (NSFI) is still waiting for DNA samples from direct biological relatives of the 15 people who died in an accident on the Ondangwa-Oshivelo main road two weeks ago.
Briefing the media on the forensic investigations into the accident in the capital Sunday, Maryn Swart, chief forensic scientist at the NSFI called on the direct biological relatives of the deceased who have not yet submitted samples to do so at the nearest mortuary or the NSFI.
This would help with the positive identification of the deceased.
“It should be from the mother and father, not from distant relatives such as cousins, either brothers or sisters,” Swart said.
She said samples have already been collected from the remains of the accident victims.
The chief forensic scientist explained that they make use of question samples where the donor of the DNA is not known, as in the case of the accident victims; and reference samples from their relatives to compare it to.
Meanwhile, the Head of Media Relations at the Namibian Police Force (NamPol), Kauna Shikwambi last week also called upon relatives of the deceased, preferably their parents or siblings with the same biological mother, to visit the Windhoek Police Mortuary for DNA identification purposes.
She said the Namibian Police Force can only release the names of the victims once the forensic institute’s examinations are complete.
“The DNA confirmation is imperative in all incidents where bodies cannot be identified due to being burned beyond recognition, as in this situation, moreover to ensure that remains are properly and correctly confirmed, identified and handed over to the rightful families,” Shikwambi said.
On Sunday, she also warned the families of the deceased to be wary of fraudsters who are calling family members and asking for money, purportedly for the identification process to be completed faster.
Fifteen people died in the accident on 12 February when a truck and minibus collided head-on and caught fire near the Casablance settlement some 10 kilometers from the Oshivelo Veterinary Cordon Fence entry point.
Thirteen of the deceased were burned beyond recognition.