By David Madden

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (CBS) — It’s a first in the state of New Jersey. A day set aside to help those with loved ones still listed, officially, as missing.

Missing in New Jersey Day is actually a copy of a similar program tried in Michigan.

Lieutenant Louis Andrinopoulos heads up the state police missing persons unit. Part of his challenge is getting people to understand the size of the problem.

“In New Jersey we have, roughly, about 1100 long-term missing persons which, by law, is identified as anything over 30 days,” he told KYW Newsradio. “Our missing persons in New Jersey go back decades to the 1960s in some of the cases.”

That doesn’t include more than 300 deceased individuals who, to this day, remain unidentified.

This day includes an event at the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick meant to help those still looking for a loved one to network with others just like them, and perhaps get a few leads through donated DNA or just getting people to think, and talk about, those open cases.

“Maybe if we dot all our i’s and cross all our t’s, maybe we will become fortunate and be able to close out some of these cases and give them some closure,” Andrinopoulos added.

The event is also meant to heighten awareness of all New Jersey residents on the issue of missing persons. Anyone who can help is asked to contact state police.

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