- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 9, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) — Among the 2,792 names on the official World Trade Center death toll are 42 persons actually listed as missing — not dead — because their remains have not been identified and their whereabouts on September 11 cannot be established with certainty.

Some of those people may not be dead, or even exist. A few may be trying to fake their deaths, while others could have been wrongly reported missing, city officials said in interviews with the Associated Press.

The remains of about 1,520 people have been identified, most of them by DNA, and 1,230 others were confirmed dead by the courts because families submitted proof to a judge that the victim was at the trade center or on one of the hijacked planes that crashed into the twin towers.

But 42 cases have no such proof and no identified remains. They will remain listed on the trade center death toll for now.

“Those cases stay open, and will stay open, until it has been declared a fraud, the person has been identified, or information comes up in another way that closes the case,” said Shiya Ribowsky, deputy director of investigation for the city medical examiner’s office.

The names of the missing will also be included in the list read aloud at tomorrow’s second-anniversary ceremony.

“If we can’t rule it either way, it’s better to have their name on there and pay respect to them if they did die,” said Kenneth Ling, a police lieutenant pursuing the missing cases.

Two of the mystery cases are those of Kacinga Kabeya, 63, and Kapinga Ngalula, 58, a married couple from Texas. Their children reported them missing after the pair traveled to New York City in early September 2001 on a sightseeing trip, and disappeared.

The family applied last year for death certificates, but the court did not grant them, according to their daughter, Kiki Kabeya.

Weeks after the attack, the city streamlined the death certificate process — which ordinarily takes up to three years without a body — to allow victims’ families quick access to death benefits and bank accounts. That program ended this spring.

Another unsolved case is that of Fernando Jiminez Molinar, whose mother says she has not heard from him since three days before the attack, when he told her he had just been hired at a pizzeria near the trade center.

Last March, a judge denied a death certificate for him, because his whereabouts on September 11 “cannot clearly be fixed.”

Mr. Molinar and the Texas couple are examples of two common categories on the list — illegal immigrants whose jobs were not well-documented, or people whose relatives say they were near the trade center that morning, but know little more.

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