Two more World Trade Center victims of 9/11 identified

The Associated Press
Published: July 19, 2007

NEW YORK: Two more victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attack on the World Trade Center have been identified from bones found in the past 15 months at a vacant, contaminated skyscraper and underneath a service road at ground zero, officials said Thursday.

The victims are the first to be identified from body parts recovered in a renewed search for human remains missed during the initial cleanup. More than 1,400 bones have been found at the former Deutsche Bank skyscraper, underneath the service road at the trade center site, in manholes and sewer lines.

A third victim, Raymond "Erick" Sanchez, 45, was positively identified from remains found in 2001-2002, the medical examiner's office said.

Eight other victims were identified earlier this year from bones recovered years ago, using more advanced DNA technology that can extract purer samples. Close to 10,000 remains found after the 2001 terrorist attack were damaged by extreme heat and time and could not be identified in the first years after the attack with the existing technology.

The medical examiner's office and a private lab have been retesting the thousands of bones against victims' DNA samples to find new matches. More than 1,100 of New York's 2,750 victims have not been identified from their remains.

The names of the victims identified in the latest remains search were not released because their families had not agreed to do so, medical examiner's spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said.

One victim was identified from remains found on the roof of the 40-story Deutsche Bank building in April 2006. The second victim was identified from bones found in the debris of the trade center site road.

Utility workers found bones in a manhole in that road last October, prompting the renewed search of the trade center site, manholes, rooftops and nearby roads for missed remains. A city official said earlier this week that the remains search would go on indefinitely while rebuilding at the trade center site continued.