A man and a woman — whose names are being withheld at the request of their families — were identified using advanced DNA technology, officials announced Friday.
The positive results came after more than two decades of previous testing and negative results as officials used next-generation sequencing technology, which is also used by the military to identify missing service members.
“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,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement Friday.
“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 [OCME] attest to the city’s unwavering commitment to reunite all the World Trade Center victims with their loved ones.”
The man was identified using remains found in 2001, while the woman was identified using remains recovered from 2001, 2006 and 2013, according to the city. The two new identifications mark the first identifications since September 2021.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed as hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, making it the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil. New York City officials noted that about 40 percent of those killed — 1,104 people — remain unidentified to this day.
“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 Jason Graham, the city’s chief medical examiner. “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.”
U.S. officials were set to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the attack from all around the country Monday. President Joe Biden is joining service members at a ceremony in Anchorage, Alaska, Vice President Kamala Harris is joining the ceremony in New York City, and first lady Jill Biden is laying a wreath at the 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon. Second gentleman Doug Emhoff is also expected at a wreath-laying ceremony in Shanksville at the Flight 93 National Memorial.