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Human remains search could move off site

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Oct. 26, 2006, 6:41PM

Remains search could move off WTC site
By AMY WESTFELDT Associated Press Writer
2006 The Associated Press

NEW YORK Officials overseeing the recovery of human remains at the World Trade Center site will recommend expanding the search to several nearby roads, The Associated Press learned Thursday.


A proposal to be sent to Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler on Friday will not suggest an expanded search at ground zero itself, according to an official familiar with the plan who was not authorized to speak publicly before the proposal was announced.

Skyler ordered city and state officials last week to compare search grids and maps of the 16-acre site with the post-Sept. 11 cleanup and recovery operation, and to come up with possibilities for a renewed search.

Utility workers discovered body parts while digging at a manhole last week under a service road along the site's western edge. Since then, workers have uncovered more than 200 bones _ ranging from 1-inch shards to full arm and leg bones.

Nine more pieces of human remains were recovered Thursday, said Grace Burgess, a spokeswoman for the city medical examiner's office.

Officials acknowledge that the manhole and several other underground cavities were missed during the initial, nine-month search for the dead.

More than 750 bone fragments have been located in the past year by forensic anthropologists and construction workers on the roof of a damaged 40-story skyscraper just south of the site. Cleanup and recovery plans are under way for a former dormitory near the site that has not been searched.

Fire officials have said that the department thoroughly searched buildings surrounding the site. The proposal to Skyler does not address whether crews should inspect other buildings around the site.

Other areas that could be searched near the skyscraper include the spot where a Greek Orthodox church sat just south of the site.

Skyler, who is overseeing the renewed effort to recover remains, declined to comment ahead of the presentation.

Bruce De Cell, whose family received remains of his son-in-law on five different occasions since the attacks, said that the rooftops of area buildings should be searched again, and added that the entire search should not be handled by the city.

"I think it should be put into the federal government's hands," De Cell said. City officials "really have done a haphazard job altogether."


Associated Press writer Sara Kugler contributed to this report.

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