Three reported lost in WTC found to be alive

Saturday, December 14, 2002

NEW YORK -- Three people reported lost in the World Trade Center attack have been confirmed as alive and their names have been removed from the list of people missing on Sept. 11, city officials said Friday.

The discovery drops the number of people killed in the terrorist attack or reported missing to 2,792, according to the city's tally.

Investigators have spoken with the three people previously listed as missing, said police Inspector Jeremiah Quinlan, who heads the massive missing persons effort.

Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the city medical examiner, identified the them as Jeffrey Montgomer, of St. Joseph, Mo.; William Yemele of Gaithersburg, Md.; and Oliva Khemrat of Jersey City, N.J.

But Khemrat's mother insists her daughter is still missing and said she was not informed of the change to the list. "They can't just take my child's name off without telling the family," Meena Bhiro said.

She also said her daughter's correct full name is Olivia Bhowanie Devi Khemraj and she was last seen leaving for a job interview at the trade center Sept. 11.

Police found Khemraj in late September this year and have encouraged her to call her mother, Lt. Kenneth Ling said Friday. He said police also left messages with Bhiro.

"We understand that the relationship is strained and that they are not speaking with each other," Ling said.

Bhiro did not return a call Friday seeking further comment.

Details on the other two people were not released.

The list of missing still could change as further errors are uncovered, Borakove said.

The three names plus six other mistaken cases were included among the 2,801 victims' names read at a Sept. 11, 2002, anniversary ceremony, and some are memorialized on a temporary fence at the trade center site.

Of the 2,792 people believed lost in the attack, 1,439 have been identified -- just nine in the last month, Borakove said. She said the identification process has not slowed as dramatically as the numbers seem to indicate, but rather that recent identifications matched victims already confirmed dead.

The toll does not include the 10 hijackers who died at the trade center.

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