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Authorities identify Sept. 11 victim using new DNA analysis techniques

The 'Tribute in Light' rises from the Lower Manhattan skyline as seen from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, September 7, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The lights were being tested in advance of the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The New York City medical examiner announced on Wednesday that it had identified the remains of a victim of the attacks. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The remains of a Sept. 11 victim have been identified by the New York City medical examiner, nearly 17 years after the attacks took place. To date, the remains of only 1,642 of the 2,753 people killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center have been identified.

Who was this victim?

Scott Michael Johnson, 26, had worked as a securities analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, an investment banking company that had offices in the South Tower. Johnson worked on the 89th floor.

In the years since the attack, his mother had still held out hope. Ann Johnson, Johnson's mother, told The New York Times that when she told her daughter they both sat down and cried. She continued:

 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.’

Identifying victims is still important

New York City's chief medical examiner, Barbara Simpson, said that the work they do to identify Sept. 11 victims is still important nearly two decades after the attacks took place.

“We feel a sacred obligation to continue our work,” she told The New York Times.

In a statement, Simpson said:

In 2001, we made a commitment to the families of victims that we would do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to identify their loved ones. This identification is the result of the tireless dedication of our staff to this ongoing mission.

What else?

Johnson was identified using new technological advancements in DNA analysis, but even with such improvements the work can be difficult. A lot of DNA from victims was damaged or destroyed from heat, fire, and exposure to jet fuel during the attack.

The last victim to be identified before Johnson was announced in August of 2017. The name of that victim was withheld at the request of the family.

About 40 percent of those who died have yet to have any remains identified.

One last thing…
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