The Remains of the 1,650th Victim of 9/11 Have Been Identified

( — It has been 23 years since September 11, 2001, when the twin towers fell during a terrorist attack. The landscape of America, and in many ways, the world, changed that day. Of the 2,753 people who died as a result of the attack that day, 1,103 are still unidentified. As new DNA testing methods have become available over the years, they have been put to work in the continued quest to identify every single person who lost their life in that devastating attack.

On Thursday, January 18, the medical examiners announced they had positively identified another of the 9/11 casualties. His name was John Ballantine Niven. He was a 44-year-old senior vice president for the insurance firm Aon Risk Services. The firm’s offices were on the 105th floor of Tower 2 in the trade center complex. His son, Jack, was only 18 months old when Niven died. Niven’s wife Ellen Niven expressed gratitude for the medical examiner’s office and their continuing efforts and commitment to the arduous process of sifting and identifying evidence related to 9/11.

The New York City Medical Examiner’s office says that the search for the identities of those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attack is the largest and most complex forensic investigation that has ever taken place in the U.S. The National Institute of Standards and Technology pointed out that DNA testing has become the primary method of identifying the remains of the people who died that day due to “fragmentation” caused by the building collapses and high-velocity impacts from the planes. They further explained that there has never been an attempt to correlate so many human remains with so many families before.

Mayor Eric Adams made a public statement on Thursday, January 18, thanking the Office of Chief Medical Examiner and expressing the hope that the ongoing efforts to identify those who died on 9/11 will honor their memories and bring solace to their families. This cutting-edge gene sequencing technology has also been in use for identifying the remains of missing American soldiers. The new technology being used today will hopefully give way to even more advanced breakthroughs over the years until not a single victim is forgotten.

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