Victim Toll Lowered by Four
Mon Aug 19, 6:21 PM ET
By SARA KUGLER, Associated Press Writer
The medical examiner's office on Monday
released the first comprehensive accounting of
World Trade Center victims — a list of 2,819
names that reduces the toll by four, the first
change in the overall number in months.
The names will be read at the city's Sept. 11
ground zero anniversary ceremony by former Mayor
Rudolph Giuliani, victims' family members and
The list includes those whose remains have been
identified, those presumed dead whose families
have obtained a court-issued death certificate and
about 90 people still classified as missing.
City officials in charge of the massive
compilation effort cautioned they are not ready to
call 2,819 the final number. The medical
examiner's office and the police department still
could adjust the tally — and the police have not
yet agreed to delete the four names from their
The casualty toll, estimated at more than 6,700
in the immediate aftermath of the attack on the
twin towers, dropped sharply after the early
accountings, then more slowly over the next six
months before leveling off at 2,823 on April 22.
Names previously removed from the list have not
been released. Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for the
medical examiner, said she would not identify the
latest four deletions.
"One victim was a woman listed by both her
married name and maiden name, so that was a
duplication," Borakove said. "The other
three were people who were reported missing way
back when, and nobody's ever been in contact, or
come through to us. We've not been able to reach
anybody, and nobody responded when we put out the
DNA hotline, so they were removed."
Inspector Jeremiah Quinlan, who supervises the
police department's missing person investigation,
said the department was sticking with 2,823 names
During the anniversary ceremony, the reading of
the names will begin and end with moments of
silence at 8:46 a.m. — when the first plane hit
— and just before 10:30 a.m., when the second
Victims' family members are submitting e-mail
requests and will be chosen by lottery.
The original death toll was pared sharply by
eliminating hundreds of duplications — people
reported missing by more than one source or under
more than one name. Others turned up alive after
initially being reported as missing.
In addition, Borakove said, there were at least
60 fraud cases — individuals reported missing,
by themselves or others, in an attempt to collect
money from insurance or Sept. 11 support agencies.
While the figure of 2,823 victims remained
unchanged since late April, the numbers within
that total have constantly shifted as names were
moved from the missing category to identified or
legally declared dead.
The city's official count of victims includes
passengers and crew on the doomed jetliners, but
not the five hijackers aboard each plane, Borakove
"We don't have any DNA on them," she
said. "And where would we get it? I don't
think anybody's going to give us that."
The revised total of 2,819 includes 1,364
victims positively identified by forensic means,
such as fingerprints, dental records and DNA. In
addition, 1,455 have been formally declared dead
despite a lack of remains.
The city decided soon after Sept. 11 to issue
death certificates at the request of relatives
without physical remains.
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