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WTC victim toll drops below 2,800


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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Four people -- three who are still alive and one whose name was duplicated -- have been taken off the World Trade Center victim list, according to the New York City medical examiner's office.

The number of victims is now 2,797, but it is bound to go lower.

The current total includes 1,411 victims whose remains have been positively identified, others for whom death certificates have been issued without remains, and 59 people still listed as "missing."

Three people discovered to be alive by police over the last three weeks have been taken off the missing persons list, law enforcement officials said.

Those three -- whose names were read aloud at the September 11 anniversary ceremony at Ground Zero -- are Maria Bengochea of Manhattan; Nikola Lampley of Brooklyn; and Germaan Castillo Garcia, also of Brooklyn.

Relatives of Bengochea and Lampley told CNN last month that those names were mistakenly on the casualty list.

Lampley, 24, worked near the World Trade Center. "She's alive," said her father, Clifton, in a telephone interview.

Bengochea, 47, a cleaning woman from Guatemala, is also alive, said her 18-year-old son, Ruben, reached by phone at the family's apartment.

Officials determined that the fourth person, Gracelda James, was the same person as Priscilla James, a name that was already on the list.

The medical examiner's office continues its attempts to identify another 15,000 pieces of human remains recovered from the World Trade Center wreckage.

More than 50,000 people worked at the Trade Center for more than 500 tenants. Most of those killed on September 11 worked on the floors above where the hijacked planes hit, or were still in the towers when they collapsed.

The city's original estimate of attack victims exceeded 6,700, due in part to so many mistaken missing persons reports that police continue to wade through.

Among the still mistakenly listed victims is Peter Montoulieu, 44, of Florida, whose name was read at the 9/11 ceremony.

"He was shocked," said Julio Fernandez, his assistant at Grove Plasma, a high-end television store in Miami specializing in the installation of plasma screen home theaters.

"We heard the name. We saw it on high-definition TV," Fernandez said in a phone interview. Montoulieau was in New York on a job last September but does not know who filed his missing persons report.

"It may be a joke. It may be one of his competitors," Fernandez said.

-- CNN's Ryan Gowing and Phil Hirschkorn contributed to this report.



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