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Just after Thanksgiving Day in 1983, James Downey dropped off his older brother, John, at a Houston bus station, then quickly turned away so neither the police nor a motorcycle gang affiliated with his brother could later demand details about where the bus was headed.Then this spring Downey received a heart-breaking call, one that more than 200 families across the country have gotten in the last few months since the FBI began using new fingerprint technology to resolve identity cases dating back to the 1970s.Since launching the new effort in February, the FBI and local medical examiner offices have identified 204 bodies found between 1975 and the late 1990s.Under the new program, Johnson and eight others in the FBI unit ran fingerprints from about 1,500 bodies through a new computer algorithm that could make matches from low-quality prints or even a single finger or thumb.About 40 percent of the identifications through the FBI's new process have been cases in Arizona.
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