Families' perspective of age progressions

I’ve been creating age progressions of missing persons from reference images since 1995.  The majority of my age progressions resulted in 2D sketches from these images. I received my training in age progression from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 1994.  The standard age progression technique involved the gathering of reference images of the missing person and the family members of the subject at the target age desired.  We would use these images in a software program and blend the features (in layers) of the relatives to create the new “age progressed” image of the missing person.  Rarely did I receive quality photographs of the missing person or of the family members that would provide any meaningful resource to use in the software program.  Many times I relied on my experience as a forensic artist and created a sketch that resembled the subject as an older person.

Early in my career I relied on my training and my intellect to challenge the status quo of the cognitive sketch interview.  I determined that the technique of utilizing reference images to create composite sketches with eyewitnesses could create misidentifications of suspects.  I have conducted over three thousand sketches in this technique (since 1995) and it has withstood the scrutiny of investigations and more importantly the prosecutions of wanted criminals.  

After years of creating age progressions in the standard methodology I have decided to create my age progressions from the perspective of the family member’s recollection.  I'm calling it: Perspective Age Progression.  This new process will involve a more in-depth interview of the family member to help me get a better idea of the missing loved one.  I will adhere to my cognitive interview training and experience as a forensic artist and I will use any reference images provided of the subject and family members to refine the sketch after my initial sketch has been documented.

I truly believe that the family member of the missing loved one will provide me with the best perspective of the person’s face and be able to collaborate with me to create a sketch that resembles the missing person with more depth and character. I believe that this new age progression sketch technique will produce a sketch that will drive attention to the case and bring about satisfaction to the family as they struggle to live their lives without their loved one.