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HUMAN REMAINS UPDATE 2/13 NO REMAINS FOUND

 
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DMCKEON
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 8:15 pm    Post subject: HUMAN REMAINS UPDATE 2/13 NO REMAINS FOUND
From Tue Feb 13, 2007 2:00 am to Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:59 am (included)
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HUMAN REMAINS UPDATE 2/13 NO REMAINS FOUND

No remains recovered 2/13

Maybe we will start getting some results. We have had no success with getting results with the current company.

It is amazing how we keep spending good money after bad while we turn down free help.

Put It Above Ground


Firm vital to ongoing 9/11 project

February 13, 2007

BY TOM WALSH

FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

Some people are forever identified with one particular endeavor, creation or accomplishment in life.
For Sylvester Stallone, it’s Rocky Balboa. For Bill Gates, the Windows operating system. For Jonas Salk, the polio vaccine.

For Howard Cash, it’s the project to identify the damaged remains of 2,749 victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.Cash is the founder and CEO of Gene Codes Corp., the Ann Arbor firm that created computer software for the complex task of matching the list of missing people to DNA extracted from more than 20,000 pieces of human bone and tissue recovered at Ground Zero.

Two weeks ago, Gene Codes was asked to return to the 9/11 scene — 2 1/2 years after its earlier contract with the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office expired — to help identify more victims from remains recently discovered, or from DNA samples newly salvaged due to technology advances.

“We’re optimistic,” Cash told me Monday. “We may never identify remains from all the victims, but we do expect to find some new IDs.”
Since the attack, 1,602 of the 2,749 World Trade Center victims have been positively identified, mostly through sophisticated DNA testing that either matches remains from the site to a victim’s DNA from a toothbrush, hairbrush or other personal item; or through what Cash calls “kinship analysis,” comparing remains with the DNA of close relatives.
When I first interviewed Cash in 2002, he already sensed the profound impact of the 9/11 work on him and the small firm he had founded in 1988.

“This is the most important thing I’ll ever do in my professional life,” Cash told me then.

For a time, it was all consuming. Cash put his entire workforce, then about 35 people, on the 9/11 project, neglecting the company’s bread-and-butter product — a software program called Sequencher used by genetic scientists — for almost three years.

Cash and his colleagues created software they called MFISys (pronounced EMPHASIS), for mass fatality identification, for the 9/11 project. It compared data from three types of DNA tests on 20,000 partial human remains to the DNA from more than 3,000 cheek swabs of victims’ kin and 8,000 personal effects. They updated the software nearly 140 times before their last contract lapsed in September 2004.

In the wake of work on 9/11 victims, Cash became the go-to guy for major mass-fatality forensic projects around the world. Gene Codes worked to identify victims of the December 2004 tsunami in Asia. The company was hired to created a national disaster recovery system in Britain following the London subway bombings of July 7, 2005. And the firm has also worked with Mexico’s Department of Justice to identify victims of a possible murder spree involving hundreds of young women and girls in the Juarez area.

Today Cash has 42 employees. He’s assigning four software engineers and two quality assurance specialists to work on the new one-year contract to reengage with the 9/11 victim ID effort. New York had never stopped work entirely on victim IDs but now hopes for a batch of new IDs by applying the latest DNA technology and software tools to analyze recently unearthed remains.

Howard Cash and his Gene Codes crew are answering the bell again to help. It’s who they are and what they do.

Contact TOM WALSH at 313-223-4430 or twalsh@freepress.com.
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