New York City officials have identified two more victims of the September 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center, just days before the 22nd memorial anniversary of the attacks.
The man and woman identified are the 1,648th and 1,649th victims identified by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, according to a news release from the mayor’s office. The two were identified through advanced DNA testing of their remains, says the release.
The mayor’s office said that they were withholding the names of the two new victims at the request of their families. These are the first identifications since September 2021, according to the release.
The man was identified through DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001 and the woman through DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001, 2006, and 2013, says the release.
The techniques used to make these identifications over two decades later “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,” says the news release.
Despite these advancements in DNA technology, roughly 40% of the victims, or about 1,100 people thought to have died in the disaster, remain unidentified. A total of 2,753 people were reported missing in lower Manhattan after the attacks on the World Trade Center. Death certificates were issued for all 2,753, although the work to match the names of victims with remains from the site continues.
In the news release, chief medical examiner Jason Graham called the ongoing effort “the largest and most complex forensic investigation in the history of our country.”
“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,” he went on.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams noted in the announcement the victims’ families who continue to grieve.
“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,” he said.
“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.”