Officials Thursday said 232 people were still missing four days after a tornado tore through a Missouri town, and had only managed to identify one of the 125 bodies found in the storm's wake.
Some of the missing from Sunday's disaster in Joplin may be among the unidentified remains being stored in a hastily constructed mass morgue.
But officials pleaded with anxious family members for patience while they undertake a lengthy identification process involving DNA testing and fingerprinting.
"The 232, we can't presume that all of those are deceased," Andrea Spiller, Missouri's deputy director of public safety, told reporters.
Some may simply have failed to contact anxious friends and family. There may also still be people trapped in the rubble who have not been officially reported missing, Spiller cautioned.
Asked why families were not being allowed into the morgue to visually identify their loved ones, she replied: "It is not 100 percent accurate, and 100 percent accurate is our goal."
Bon can tell you that the damage out there is pretty devastating. Some 75% of the city is gone, thousands of building flattened. If there's anything you feel you can spare, donating to the Red Cross can help.