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Officials Identify Remains of Two Hijackers Through DNA

By TINA KELLEY
Published: March 01, 2003

The city medical examiner's office has identified the remains of two of the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center, a spokeswoman said last night.

The remains have been removed from Memorial Park, where the 19,935 pieces of unidentified remains have been stored since shortly after the attack. Ellen S. Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office, declined to say where the remains of the hijackers had been taken.

''Some time ago the families made a request of our office that if we could make an ID of the remains of the hijackers that we would take them out of Memorial Park,'' she said, referring to the parking-lot-turned-memorial on East 30th Street between First Avenue and Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive where the remains are stored.

The families did not want the remains of the terrorists to be part of any memorial to the victims of the attack, she said.

''We asked the F.B.I. for any information they had, and they gave us 10 full DNA profiles of the terrorists,'' she said. The profiles did not include the terrorists' names.

John Cartier, a member of the victim advocacy group Give Your Voice, told The Associated Press that he was relieved to hear that some of the terrorists' remains had been separated from those of their victims. ''I think they should be used as dirt in the road,'' said Mr. Cartier, whose brother James Cartier died in the attack.

''We have to deal with the realization that our loved ones are coming home to us in small, little, tiny pieces,'' said Mr. Cartier, whose brother's remains have been identified. ''We just wanted the efforts made to remove -- as best they can, with the technology available -- those cowards who murdered our loved ones.''

Of the 19,935 remains sent to Memorial Park after the attack, the medical examiner's office has identified 6,300; they are the partial remains of 1,468 people, not including the hijackers, she said. Of the 1,468, Ms. Borakove said, 737 were identified by DNA alone.

In about half the cases, forensic scientists were able to obtain a full DNA sample from the body parts.

A quarter of the cases yielded partial genetic information, and a quarter yielded none.

''We're preserving all the remains that are unidentified, by a drying process,'' she said, ''so if different technologies surface, we can go back and keep trying to identify them.''

Patrick Cartier, James Cartier's father, said he liked the idea of a Tomb of Unknown Victims, which would include the remains of people who are not identified. He said that this would help to the surviving families.

''It's sympathetic to them, that they would at least know there's a place that their loved one might be,'' he said. ''That's a very generous thought.''