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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Two New Identifications of World Trade Center Victims Announced

Some 1,104 victims — 40 percent of those who died — remain unidentified.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jason Graham on Thursday announced two new identifications of victims from the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. The man and woman, whose names are being withheld at the request of their families, are the 1,648th and 1,649th persons to be identified by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) using advanced DNA testing of remains recovered from the attack that took the lives of 2,753 people.

“As we prepare to mark the anniversary of September 11, our thoughts turn to those we lost on that terrible morning and their families who continue to live every day with the pain of missing loved ones,” said Mayor Adams. “We hope these new identifications can bring some measure of comfort to the families of these victims, and the ongoing efforts by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner attest to the city’s unwavering commitment to reunite all the World Trade Center victims with their loved ones.”

“More than 20 years after the disaster, these two new identifications continue to fulfill a solemn pledge that OCME made to return the remains of World Trade Center victims to their loved ones,” said Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Graham. “Faced with the largest and most complex forensic investigation in the history of our country, we stand undaunted in our mission to use the latest advances in science to serve this promise.”

The two new identifications used all the current capabilities of the city’s DNA laboratory operated by OCME to generate results after more than two decades of negative testing attempts. Techniques include recently adopted next-generation sequencing technology — more sensitive and rapid than conventional DNA techniques — which has been used by the U.S. military to identify the remains of missing American servicemembers.

The identification of the man was confirmed through DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001. The identification of the woman was confirmed through DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001, 2006, and 2013. The two identifications are the first new identifications of World Trade Center victims since September 2021. Some 1,104 victims — 40 percent of those who died — remain unidentified. In addition to the two new identifications this year, OCME has identified 60 human remains associated with previously identified individuals. The latest World Trade Center operational statistics are available from OCME upon request.

Established in 1918 as the nation’s first comprehensive medical examiner office, OCME provides the public with the highest standards of service across the forensic sciences. The agency operates the largest and most advanced DNA public crime laboratory in North America and houses laboratories in toxicology and histology, in addition to the nation’s only public molecular genetics laboratory. OCME is home to the country’s largest forensic pathology training program, having produced more than one-fifth of the nation’s board-certified forensic pathologists since 1990. OCME also houses a department of forensic anthropology and maintains a division of specially trained experts to respond to any and all mass fatality events and disasters.

Read more at City of New York

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