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Official 9/11 Death Toll Climbs By One

A doctor missing since the day before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was added to the city's official death toll Thursday, months after an appeals court declared there was no other plausible reason for her disappearance.

The city medical examiner's office said that Dr. Sneha Anne Philip, 31, was the 2,751st victim killed at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

It cited the Jan. 31 court ruling in a brief release, saying the state Supreme Court's appellate division "determined that Sneha Anne Philip died at the World Trade Center. Therefore, we have added her name to the list of World Trade Center victims."

Philip's family went to court to restore her name to the victims' list. She was cut from the list in 2004 by officials who said they couldn't definitively link her to the site because she didn't work there and went missing a day earlier.

Philip, a resident physician at a Staten Island hospital, was last seen on videotape buying shoes and lingerie at a department store across from the trade center on Sept. 10, 2001. Investigators once thought she could have been a victim of another crime, or had disappeared on her own to escape troubles with her marriage and alcohol.

Her family believed she likely attended a party held by the city's South Asian community in a hotel in the trade center complex on Sept. 10, and died while helping wounded people in front of the towers before they collapsed.

"The evidence shows it to be highly probable that she died that morning and at that site, whereas only the rankest speculation leads to any other conclusion," the court wrote.

Her father, Philip K. Philip, said Thursday his family would attend this year's anniversary ceremony to hear his daughter's name read, as it was the first two years after the attacks.

"We waited and we waited, and everything came out right," Philip said. "Sadness is there all the time, but at last, you know, we are happy that they recognized that Sneha was a victim of 9/11."

A New York court issued a similar ruling in 2002 after the family of a computer analyst who worked several blocks away from ground zero fought successfully to add him to the victims' list. In May 2007, the medical examiner's office added the name of a woman who died five months after the attacks of respiratory illness linked to breathing in toxic trade center dust.

Philip's name will also be listed at the memorial to the 2001 attacks being built in New York. The number of people killed when four hijacked jets crashed into the trade center, the Pentagon and a western Pennsylvania field is now 2,975.

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