'Unclaimed' — The California Sunday magazine

 
 

Whoever he'd been before, whoever he still was inside, to the world around him, he was now a human riddle,
a blank slate on which to write a thousand possible names and stories.

 
 
 
 
 

"It's a very specific kind of pain. Everything becomes possible.
When you don't have a truth, you create your own reality."

 
 
 
 
 

"He looks a lot like my son. My son disappeared the same year. I'm sure."

 
 
 
 
 

The consulates keep a DNA testing lab on retainer and maintain a database of the missing that includes more than 30,000 people. Each year, they solve only about 80 cases.

 
 
 
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A story by Brooke Jarvis.