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9/11 remains identified 17 years after attacks that changed America

It has been 17 years since the September 11 attacks, but the work is not done for those trying to identify all those who perished during that day. 

The New York Times reported that another unknown victim of the attacks now has been identified. 

Mark Desire, the assistant director of forensic biology at the New York City Medical Examiner’s office, announced that a bone fragment that the office analyzed belonged to Scott Michael Johnson. Johnson was a 26-year-old financial worker. 

Desire told the Times that his team worked on identifying the fragment half a dozen times since it was found in what was left of the World Trade Center. 

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Finally they were able to get enough DNA from the sample to make an identification, making Johnson the 1,642nd person named, NJ.com reported. The attack on New York killed 2,753.

Smoke pours from the World Trade Center after it was hit by two hijacjked passenger planes September 11, 2001 in New York City in a terrorist attack. (Photo by (Robert Giroux/Getty Images)) (Robert Giroux/Getty Images)

About 40 percent of those who were killed in the attacks have not had any remains identified, CBS News reported.

The medical examiner’s office had been trying to identify more than 22,000 remains, the Times reported

Johnson was the first person identified in nearly a year. The previous person’s name was withheld at the family’s request, the Times reported.

When they learned that their son was finally identified, nearly two decades since the attacks, it took them right back to the day of the attack.

“You get pulled right back into it and it also means there’s finality. Somehow I always thought he would just walk up and say, ‘Here I am. I had amnesia.,’” Ann Johnson, Scott’s mother, told the Times.

Scott’s father, Tom, said he’s not comforted knowing that his son has been finally identified. He said he appreciated the work the medical examiner’s office has done, but the pain itself never goes away.

“He was one of the kindest people that anyone around him had ever known. The pain of losing someone like that was tremendous,” Tom Johnson told the Times.

For more on how the medical examiner’s office is identifying remains, click here.

Sites of 9/11 Then and Now

(Ivy Brown/News | WHBQ)

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