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Bosnian-Americans aid in identifying the dead

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – Hundreds of Bosnian-Americans are expected to give blood samples in St. Louis this weekend.

It's part of an international effort to identify the remains of people killed during wars in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

DNA samples from survivors will be compared with samples extracted from the remains of the deceased.

Edin Jasaragic heads the identification division of the International Commission on Missing Persons. He says its challenging to get good samples from the bones of people who died more than a decade ago.

When we receive a bone sample from different pathologists and anthropologists in the region we are receiving a bone sample of a person who has been killed thirteen, fourteen years, and when a person dies their DNA starts to deteriorate, Jasaragic said.

St. Louis is one of a dozen American cities where the ICMP is taking samples.

The group is spending four days here because St. Louis has the largest concentration of Bosnian refugees in the U.S.