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Nearly half newyork dead not identified

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Nearly Half of NY Sept. 11 Dead Cannot Be Identified
Wed Feb 23, 2005 11:56 AM ET

By Timothy Gardner
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York authorities have ended efforts to identify victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, leaving the remains of nearly half the 2,749 people killed in the World Trade Center unidentified, the city's medical examiner said on Wednesday.

Some 9,720 unidentified bone and tissue fragments have been sealed and stored in case developments in technology allow for identification in the future, said Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office.

Of those killed, 42 percent remain unidentified due to difficulties in getting DNA samples from the remains.

"The remains have become deteriorated. Some have no DNA, and some have only partial DNA," Borakove said.

The medical examiner's office has identified 1,585 victims, but progress has slowed to a halt on 1,161 victims. Only eight remains have been identified since September.

Three people injured in the attacks died later of their wounds.

For family members of those who died, the identification process can be comforting, said Anne Mulderry, whose son Stephen's remains were identified.

"At first it was a great blow, but afterwards it was a great comfort when his remains were found," she said. "I do pray for people who have not been allowed that."

The unidentified remains will be placed in a memorial when the World Trade Center complex is rebuilt, Borakove said.

"They will be part of the memorial, but will always remain accessible to us," she said. "When technology changes, which we fully expect it will, we will be able to retrieve the remains."

Family members of all those killed in the World Trade Center attacks will be notified by New York officials about plans for the remains in the yet-to-be-built memorial.

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