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#589 In-person and Online: Chicago Missing Persons Project

In-person and Online: Chicago Missing Persons Project
Photo: Felton Kizer / Chicago Reader


Trina Reynolds-Tyler, Director of Beneath the Surface at the Invisible Institute
Sarah Conway, Senior Reporter at City Bureau

City Bureau and the Invisible Institute partnered in the reporting and development of the two-year investigation “Missing in Chicago” in 2021. City Bureau Senior Reporter Sarah Conway and Invisible Institute Data Director Trina Reynolds-Tyler collaborated using an innovative blend of data science and a machine-learning model to ultimately analyze over 1 million police records.

They paired this analysis with community engagement and investigative journalism techniques, interviewing more than 40 sources, hosting community events and pinpointing significant discrepancies in official police data that revealed systemic patterns of mismanagement in the Chicago Police Department’s handling of missing person cases.

This multidisciplinary reporting led to the discovery of four cases where detectives explicitly noted that the missing person had returned home despite family members saying their loved ones had not. In two of these instances, reporters found these cases by searching for murder charges and news stories and cross-referencing the names of the missing. Their technique also led to identifying 11 cases that ended in homicide that were marked “non-criminal” in the data, more than doubling the number of official homicides in missing persons police data.

City Bureau and the Invisible Institute also collaborated in publishing the seven-part Missing in Chicago series on, with excerpts tailored for local readership and reach appearing in the Chicago Reader, South Side Weekly, The Triibe and Word in Black News syndication.

Project description from City Bureau’s announcement of the Pulitzer Prize awarded to the Missing in Chicago project.

This event will be in person, but you can also tune in via our usual livestream. Doors open at 6pm. The livestream and announcements will start around 6:30pm CDT.

In-person: TeamWorking, 20 N Upper Wacker Drive, 12th Floor, Chicago IL. Enter the Civic Opera Building using the entrance in the middle of the block between Washington and Madison streets. Take the elevators to the 12th floor.

For more information on our in-person events, please see our COVID Policy.

RSVP In-person attendees should RSVP beforehand. As occupancy limits permit, walk-ins will be allowed to enter.

There will be food! We will be serving Costa Rican empanadas, chicken casado and rice from Irazu!

Agenda and meeting notes
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