The remains of a 26-year-old who died in 9/11 were identified by the medical examiner’s office in New York on Wednesday, thanks to developments in DNA analysis.
Officials said the remains belong to Scott Michael Johnson, who worked on the 89th floor of the World Trade Center’s south tower as a security analyst for Keefe.
Johnson is the 1,642nd person to be identified of the 2,753 people killed in the terror attack, the New York Times reported.
A team of experts at the medical examiner’s office had unsuccessfully tried to identify a bone recovered from the debris of the World Trade Center several times since the 2001 terror attack.
Using new techniques, however, they were able to remove DNA from the bone and compare it to a database containing 17,000 reference samples from victims and family members, reports said. A positive identification was then made.
“As a forensic scientist, you’re trained to be neutral and unbiased,” Mark Desire, the assistant director of forensic biology for the office, told the paper. "But with the World Trade Center investigation, it’s a different kind of case and when you meet with the families and the hugs and the thank yous, it gets emotional with them and it really helps with that drive to keep improving that process.”
Johnson's family said the discovery brings closure for them. His mom cried when she heard the news.
“You get pulled right back into it and it also means there’s a finality. Somehow I always thought he would just walk up and say, ‘Here I am. I had amnesia,’” Ann Johnson told the paper.