New York City's medical examiner office has so far identified about 13,000 remains found among the rubble at the World Trade Center in Manhattan, though 1,121 victims have not been linked to any, The New York Times reported Saturday. About 9,000 remains are still unidentified, many of which have been preserved for future testing as current technology has not been sophisticated enough to match DNA.
When a victim's remains are identified for the first time, the family is notified by a visit from the police department. When additional fragments are identified, they receive a call from the medical examiner office, the newspaper reported.
"It threw me into such a tailspin," said Rosemary Cain, whose son George, a firefighter, died Sept. 11, 2001. "To get him back in pieces -- it's very hard to digest. Then I decided to take a deep breath. It made me realize this could be an ongoing process."
In one instance, about 300 individual remains were identified for one person, the Times reported. Some families have chosen to wait until all identifications have been made to pick up their loved one's remains. Others have reopened caskets to bury the additional fragments along the way.
Cain told the Times she plans to leave her son's additional remains with the medical examiner and have them buried with her when she dies.
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