September 7, 2021
- Dorothy Morgan of Hempstead, New York, is the 1,646th person and an unnamed man is the 1,647th person to be identified through ongoing DNA analysis since 2001 -
NEW YORK – The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) today announced two new identifications of victims of the World Trade Center disaster in 2001. Dorothy Morgan is the 1,646th person and a man whose name is being withheld at the request of his family is the 1,647th person to be identified through ongoing DNA analysis of unidentified remains recovered from the disaster that claimed the lives of 2,753 people.
“Twenty years ago, we made a promise to the families of World Trade Center victims to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to identify their loved ones, and with these two new identifications, we continue to fulfill that sacred obligation,” said Dr. Barbara A. Sampson, Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York. “No matter how much time passes since September 11, 2001, we will never forget, and we pledge to use all the tools at our disposal to make sure all those who were lost can be reunited with their families.”
The identification of Dorothy Morgan was confirmed through DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001. The identification of the unnamed man was confirmed through DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001, 2002, and 2006.
The two identifications are the first new identifications of World Trade Center victims since October 2019. Some 1,106 victims, or 40% of those who died, remain unidentified.
The ongoing effort to identify victims of the World Trade Center disaster is the largest and most complex forensic investigation in the history of the United States. Now 20 years later, identifications of World Trade Center victims continue to be made possible through advances in DNA science developed and applied at OCME.
The recent adoption of next-generation sequencing technology by OCME’s DNA laboratory promises to result in more new identifications. More sensitive and rapid than conventional DNA techniques, next-generation sequencing has been used by the U.S. military to identify the remains of missing American servicemembers.
“We continue to push the science out of necessity to make more identifications,” said Mark Desire, assistant director of the OCME Department of Forensic Biology and manager of the World Trade Center DNA Identification Team. “The commitment today is as strong as it was in 2001.”
OCME officials will discuss the ongoing effort to identify victims of the World Trade Center disaster in a virtual briefing for media on Wednesday, September 8, at 12:00 p.m. Media interested in attending should RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by 9 a.m. on Wednesday, September 8.
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 100 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.