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Sept. 11 victim’s remains newly identified through DNA testing

Matthew T. Carroll/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Well over two decades since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the unyielding DNA testing by the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner paid off with a positive identification of another victim.

John Ballantine Niven, of Oyster Bay, New York, became the 1,650th victim to be identified from the Sept. 11 attacks, the medical examiner’s office announced Thursday.

“While the pain from the enormous losses on September 11th never leaves us, the possibility of new identifications can offer solace to the families of victims,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “I’m grateful for the ongoing work from the Office of Chief Medical Examiner that honors the memory of John Ballantine Niven and all those we lost.”

The new identification was made through ever-advancing DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001, the medical examiner’s office said.

“Our solemn promise to find answers for families using the latest advances in science stands as strong today as in the immediate days after the World Trade Center attacks,” said Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jason Graham. “This new identification attests to our agency’s unwavering commitment and the determination of our scientists.”

Some 1,103 victims — 40% of those who died — remain unidentified.

New identifications have been fewer and farther between in recent years. Most recently, the city medical examiner made two new identifications of victims in September 2023, and withheld their names at the request of their families.

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