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Two 9/11 victims identified nearly 20 years after the attacks

David Martin on the 20 years since 9/11
CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin reflects on the 20 years since 9/11 03:40

It's been nearly two decades since September 11, 2001, and just 60% of the people who died that day have been officially identified. On Tuesday, just days before the 20th anniversary of the attacks, New York City's Chief Medical Examiner's Office said it has identified two more victims.

Dorothy Morgan, of Hempstead, New York, and a man whose name has been withheld at the request of his family have become the 1,646th and 1,647th people to be identified through DNA analysis of remains collected from the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the attacks, the medical examiner's office said in a statement. Morgan's remains were uncovered in 2001, while the man's remains were uncovered in 2001, 2006 and 2008.

Overall, 2,753 people died in New York City that day — meaning just over 40% of those who died have not been officially identified, according to the medical examiner's office.

"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," Dr. Barbara A. Sampson, New York City's chief medical examiner, said in the statement. "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 two identifications are the first to be announced in nearly two years. The last was in October 2019.

The medical examiner's office said the effort to identify the victims is "the largest and most complex forensic investigation in the history of the United States." The office heralded advances in DNA science, which it said "promises to result in more new identifications." 

The medical examiner's office will hold a press conference on Wednesday at 12 p.m. EST to discuss the new identifications.

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