Mayor Adams, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Graham Announce New Identification of World Trade Center Victim

January 18, 2024

John Ballantine Niven of Oyster Bay, New York, is the 1,650th Person Identified Since 2001 as City’s DNA Laboratory Continues to Leverage Breakthroughs in Science 

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jason Graham today announced the new identification of a victim from the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. John Ballantine Niven, a civilian from Oyster Bay, New York, is the 1,650th person to be identified by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) through advanced DNA analysis of remains recovered from the attack that took the lives of 2,753 people.

“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,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “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.”

“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,” said Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jason Graham. “This new identification attests to our agency’s unwavering commitment and the determination of our scientists.”

The new identification of John Ballantine Niven was confirmed through ongoing DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001. OCME continues the work to identify victims of the WTC attack as new advances in science emerge. Recent identifications have been made possible through the adoption of next-generation sequencing technology, which is more sensitive and rapid than conventional DNA techniques. Next-generation sequencing has been used by the U.S. military to identify the remains of missing American servicemembers.

Some 1,103 victims — 40 percent of those who died — remain unidentified. OCME most recently made two new identifications of victims in September 2023, and withheld their names at the request of their families. The latest World Trade Center operational statistics are available from OCME upon request.



Established in 1918 as the nation’s first comprehensive medical examiner’s office, OCME provides the public with the highest standards of service across the forensic sciences. The agency operates the largest and most advanced DNA public crime laboratory in North America and houses laboratories in toxicology and histology, in addition to the nation’s only public molecular genetics laboratory. OCME is home to the country’s largest forensic pathology training program, having produced more than one-fifth of the nation’s board-certified forensic pathologists since 1990. OCME also houses a department of forensic anthropology and maintains a division of specially trained experts to respond to any and all mass fatality events and disasters.