Advanced DNA analysis of remains recovered in 2001 helped identify John Ballantine Niven, officials said
A man from Long Island, New York, has been identified as the 1,650th victim of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, officials announced Thursday.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jason Graham confirmed the identity of John Ballantine Niven of Oyster Bay, according to a news release from the Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME).
The identification was made possible through advanced DNA analysis of remains recovered in 2001, the release noted.
“Our solemn promise to find answers for families using the latest advances in science stands as strong today as in the immediate days after the World Trade Center attacks,” Graham said in the release. “This new identification attests to our agency’s unwavering commitment and the determination of our scientists.”
“While the pain from the enormous losses on September 11th never leaves us, the possibility of new identifications can offer solace to the families of victims,” Adams said in a statement. “I'm grateful for the ongoing work from the Office of Chief Medical Examiner that honors the memory of John Ballantine Niven and all those we lost.”
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According to a paid death notice published in The New York Times, Niven, 44, was born in Oyster Bay and attended Lake Forest College in Illinois. He was a vice president in mergers and acquisitions at AON Risk Services, located on the 105th floor of the second tower of the World Trade Center.
At the time his obituary was published, Niven was survived by his wife and an 18-month-old son. The family lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan but would go to Oyster Bay for recreation. Among his interests were tennis, history, philosophy and taking his son everywhere with him.
“He would say that although his life was short, he was really blessed in the years he had," Niven’s wife, Ellen, said in the obituary.
The OCME said in its statement that recent identifications of 9/11 victims have been advanced through “the adoption of next-generation sequencing technology, which is more sensitive and rapid than conventional DNA techniques.”
The medical examiner’s office added in its release that 1,103 victims — 40% of those who perished in the attacks — remain unidentified.
According to the agency, two recent identifications were made last September. The names of those victims were withheld at the request of their families.
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