FACT CHECK: Were Two Victims Of The 9/11 Attack Identified By Their DNA 22 Years Later?

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter, claims two victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attack were purportedly identified by their DNA 22 years later.

Verdict: True

The identification of the two victims was announced via a Sept. 8 press release from New York City Democratic Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jason Graham.

Fact Check:

The 22nd anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks was marked with ceremonies at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City and the U.S. military headquarters in Arlington, according to Reuters. President Joe Biden was also set to deliver remarks on the attack during a trip to Anchorage, Alaska, the outlet reported.

“#BREAKING: Two new 9/11 victims have been identified 22 years after the attack by DNA,” the X post purports. The post further claims the two victims, one male and one female, were identified using advanced DNA testing and sequencing techniques. The post indicates the identification was announced via a news release from the Mayor’s office.

The claim is true. The identification of the two victims was announced via a Sept. 8 press release from Adams and Graham. The two individuals, one male and one female, represent the 1,648th and 1,649th people to be identified by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), according to the same release.

The male’s identity was confirmed using DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001, while the female’s identity was confirmed using DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001, 2006, and 2013. The names of the victims were publicly withheld at the request of their families, the release noted.

Both Adams and Graham reacted to the identification of the victims via statements included in the press release.

“We hope these new identifications can bring some measure of comfort to the families of these victims, and the ongoing efforts by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner attest to the city’s unwavering commitment to reunite all the World Trade Center victims with their loved ones,” Adams’ statement read in part.

“More than 20 years after the disaster, these two new identifications continue to fulfill a solemn pledge that OCME made to return the remains of World Trade Center victims to their loved ones,” Graham said.

Following the joint press release from Adams and Graham, the news that two more victims of the attack had been identified was reported by major media outlets, including, but not limited to, The Associated Press, CNN, and The Hill. (RELATED: Did The Atlantic Publish An Article On 9/11 ‘Bigotry?’)

Similarly, in 2021, The New York Times reported victims of the attack were still being identified using advanced DNA testing 20 years later. As of the article’s publication, 1,106 victims’ remains were still missing, the outlet reported.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement recognizing the 22nd anniversary of the terror attacks on New York City, Arlington, Virginia and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

“The memory of those who perished on 9/11 reminds us of why we must continue to fight against those who commit acts of terrorism. In the years since, we have stood side by side with partners from around the world to end the scourge of terrorism and ensure terrorists are held accountable for their crimes. The United States will continue to defend our homeland, our people, and our allies,” Blinken said in part.

Check Your Fact contacted Adams’ office for comment, and a spokesperson directed us to the Sept. 8 press release. Check Your Fact has also contacted Graham’s office and the White House for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter