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Death, Forensic Science, and Reuniting Families

March 16, 2017, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

(Photo courtesy of Baylor University)

This program is made possible through funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

The lecture

Dr. Lori Baker, professor of anthropology at Baylor University, specializes in molecular and forensic analysis of skeletal remains. She founded Reuniting Families in an effort to identify remains of undocumented immigrants crossing the border between Mexico and the United States. Since she began work at Baylor University in 2002, her team has created a database of newly identified bodies that is accessible to families, law enforcement, and medical examiners. She has worked throughout Latin America on the recovery and identification of remains of victims of human rights violations and assisted in the establishment of Mexico’s database for missing nationals abroad. Professor Baker, who was featured in a four-part series on the National Geographic Channel called “The Decrypters,” has examined the remains of roughly 350 unidentified, undocumented immigrants that resulted in 70 direct identifications and subsequent repatriations as part of her Reuniting Families Program.

The speaker

Lori Baker is an associate professor of anthropology at Baylor University, specializing in molecular and forensic analysis of skeletal remains. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the International Consortium for Forensic Identification, Reuniting Families Project. She also works internationally on the recovery and identification of remains of victims of human rights violations and assisted in the establishment of Mexico’s Missing Nationals Abroad database. Dr. Baker has been an invited speaker in many national and international venues such as at the Peace Palace in The Hague as part of the International Commission on Missing Persons Conference and Amnesty International. She has performed forensic DNA analysis of over 350 skeletal cases from 2003 to 2012 of missing persons for the U.S., Mexico, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Peru, and Honduras, resulting in the identification of over 70 individuals. She has acted as a consultant to the Attorney General of the Mexican State of Chihuahua, the Washington Office on Latin America, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Truth Commissions in Peru and Panama. Dr. Baker’s work has been featured in Discovery Magazine, National Geographic, NPR, The Washington Post, USA Today, MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets. She has a BA and MA in anthropology from Baylor University and a PhD in anthropology from the University of Tennessee.

Dr. Baker’s lecture will be the opening event of the exhibition, Connecting the Dots: The Science of CSI.

Admission tickets

The event is free and open to the public; however, e-tickets are required.

Can’t make it to the lecture in person? Watch live from your desktop or mobile device via livestream.com.


Parking is free in Library parking lots and along the west side of Holmes Street between 51st and 52nd streets. The main entrance to the Library grounds is on Cherry Street. The Linda Hall Library is not affiliated with UMKC. Parking in all UMKC lots is by permit or meter.


March 16, 2017
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Eric Ward


Linda Hall Library
5109 Cherry
Kansas City, MO 64110 United States
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Questions? Contact Eric Ward at 816.926.8753 for more information about these events.

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