AI could help solve NJ’s missing child mystery in another step ahead

Harris Marley

Global Courant

New Jersey police are deploying new technology to try to solve an unsolved case in what some experts say could be the biggest advancement in cold-case investigations since forensic genetic genealogy apprehended the infamous Golden State Killer in 2018.

A police station in the 70-square-mile city of Middle Township, along with the Cape May Prosecutor’s Office, will use artificial intelligence to try to solve the case of Mark Himebaugh, an 11-year-old child who apparently disappeared on Nov. 11. 25, 1991.

In the more than 30 years since Himebaugh went missing, the police’s strongest leads are a composite sketch of a person of interest and a theory that a convicted child sex predator, currently in prison, is involved.

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But neither is strong enough to press charges or even push the case forward.

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Mark Himebaugh was 11 years old when he went missing near his home in Middle Township, New Jersey in 1991. (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

Last week, the Middle Township Police Department and the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office announced they are partnering with Tabtu Corp. neural AI.

The Vollee AI website breaks down the process into three words: assess, analyze and discover.

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AI will be relied upon to aid detectives’ “efficiency and effectiveness” in cases like this where mountains of data and evidence have accumulated over the years, the department said during the announcement.

“AI has the potential to find patterns and connections in this vast amount of information that may not be readily apparent,” the announcement said. “Using the Vollee Neural AI Assistant, built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud service, enables advanced computing and processing capabilities.”

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AI can revolutionize cold case investigations. (Getty Images)

Outgoing Middle Township Police Chief Christopher Leusner said he hopes this case will be solved by AI and along the way create a blueprint for how it can work in other cold cases across the country.

Leusner, who retired on June 1 and was succeeded by Jennifer Pooler, said: “It is important that we use all available resources and the latest technology to help us find Mark.”

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“I hope this pilot program will help us solve Mark’s case and be used as a model to help with other cold cases,” Leusner said.

Terawe founder and CEO Anil Balakrishnan said in a statement that his company’s advanced AI capabilities “accelerate the analysis of digital evidence by identifying new patterns and correlations across a wide variety of media and documents that might otherwise be hidden. to stay.”

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Dr. Harvey Castro, a board-certified emergency medicine physician and national speaker on artificial intelligence, said AI works as a differential diagnosis in medicine in cold cases.

“You enter the data and say, ‘Here are the elements I found, help me find different possibilities,'” Castro told Fox News Digital. “It’s literally thinking about all the different cases… and taking all these data points and putting them all together to give you the best solution for what it thinks it has.”

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There are concerns from some experts that AI could replace jobs, but Castro sees AI as a tool for cold-case detectives. It’s a symbiotic relationship that is “10 times” better than the AI ​​or the detective alone.

“You’ve heard the expression ‘Garbage in, garbage out?’ That’s essentially what you get without a trained detective,” Castro said. “You can never replace a detective and his or her years of experience. The AI ​​won’t know what to look for.”

Castro said using AI is like brainstorming with the smartest person ever.

He hopes all law enforcement agencies unite and create a large language model of their own – separate from ChatGPT – that would have a database of fingerprints, facial recognition and possibly even voice signatures in the future.

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“That way a detective can get to the scene, take a picture and upload it to their big language model and send you back in a minute,” Castro said.

Castro says he is an optimist, but believes it could revolutionize law enforcement and solve cold cases across the country.

For now, eyes will be on Middle Township, New Jersey, and how AI is performing in solving Mark Himebaugh’s missing person case.

Chris Eberhart is a crime and American news reporter for Fox News Digital. Email tips to [email protected] or on twitter @ChrisEberhart48

AI could help solve NJ’s missing child mystery in another step ahead

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