Kolibri Forensics bringing the missing home

Not-for-profit, all volunteer forensic search and recovery team
An Evansville-based not-for-profit is working to "bring the missing home."
An Evansville-based not-for-profit is working to "bring the missing home."
Updated: Feb. 13, 2019 at 4:38 PM CST
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Kolibri Forensics bringing the missing home

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - “Bring the missing home” is the mission of an Evansville man’s not-for-profit called Kolibri Forensics.

The search and recovery team has 35 volunteers scattered in five or six countries around the world.

They work at the local level and on targeted search missions. What started as a school project analyzing aircraft crash data turned personal for Kolibri Forensics Executive Director Stephen Richey when a friend went missing in a plane crash.

“Towards the end of that week they were ready to call the search off," says Richey. "And it would have been like, there’s no other options unless somebody stumbles across him.”

The idea for Kolibri Forensics was born.

“There’s so many missing persons cases where if you stop and think about it the numbers are just astounding,” explained Richey.

Among the volunteers are trained cadaver dog handlers, archaeologists, anthropologists, and divers. They can specialize in forensic searches and ease the burden off local departments.

“You’re basically providing services that are very low frequency high skill events for any one department,” says Richey.

Their first case was a plane that went down in Lake Michigan in 1988. 30 years later Kolibri Forensics scanned the lake floor and found closure for that family.

“That’s all they wanted to know was that they’re not in a place where someone could stumble upon them and loot that grave," says Richey. "That’s what that plane crash site is. It’s a grave site.”

Kolibri Forensics can also work missing soldier cases. The team is planning a search mission in Germany at a World War II battle site where at least 150 Americans are still MIA.

They hope to bring even just one of those soldiers home. Kolibri Forensics welcomes volunteers from anywhere who may be able to provide a niche skill.

You can contact Richey at (812) 746-4124 or srichey@kolibriforensics.org.

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