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World Trade Center death toll drops by two

Saturday, November 2, 2002 Posted: 12:01 PM EST (1701 GMT)

The World Trade Center site in a photo taken on May 30, 2002
The World Trade Center site in a photo taken on May 30, 2002

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SPECIAL REPORT
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NEW YORK, New York (CNN) -- Two more names have been removed from the World Trade Center victim list, according to the New York City medical examiner's office, after a Florida man and a Manhattan woman reported missing were found to be alive.

The number of dead now stands at 2,795, but this figure is expected to fall further as investigators continue to wade through missing person reports.

So far, 1,430 remains have been positively identified, death certificates have been issued for 1,309 other victims for whom no remains were found and 56 persons are still listed as "missing."

Law enforcement officials say the people erroneously listed as victims are Peter Montoulieu of Miami, Florida, and Tina Spicer of Manhattan.

The discovery comes more than a year after the two were listed as victims of the September 11th terror attacks and seven weeks after their names were read out during the Ground Zero anniversary ceremony.

Montoulieu told CNN in a telephone interview that he was "shocked" to find out his name was on the list. He added that his former wife had reported him missing as she thought a convention he was attending in Indianapolis had been in Manhattan.

A city official said that Spicer's mother reported her missing in the aftermath of the attacks.

The city's original estimate of victims exceeded 6,700, due in part to the large volume of mistaken missing person reports.

The medical examiner's office continues to try to identify 15,000 human remains recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center.

A police officer who is investigating the authenticity of missing person claims told CNN that "some claims were made fraudulently, some were the result of an honest mistake. The process of making sure every person on that list is actually missing is still ongoing and may go on for quite a while.

"DNA matches have to come back to the extent that we can do DNA matching, and for every person listed we have to ask, were they in the vicinity? Were they in the building? Did they even exist? It all has to be verified," he said.



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