MILWAUKEE (CBS) — Milwaukee County, Wis., is taking a drastic step to identify dozens of those who died as John and Jane Doe’s.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, the photos on the Web site for the county Medical Examiner’s office are disturbing, showing bloated and discolored faces of the dead.

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LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

To get to the image, users must navigate a series of warnings about the images’ graphic nature.

But Medical Examiner’s office forensic investigator Michael Simley defends the move, saying it is the most effective way to identify the dead.

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“We’re not doing these people justice to let them go unidentified. These are family members, friends, people who are missed,” Simley told The Associated Press. “Everyone deserves to be recognized as who they were in life. Being buried as a Jane or John Doe doesn’t sit well with me.”

All the unidentified bodies were found in the Milwaukee area, in some cases years or even decades ago.

Simley says the photos, shocking as they are, are necessary to clear up cold cases and do justice to those who died.

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