DNA Samples Provide Crucial Evidence For Missing Loved Ones

(East Side-WABC, Sunday, September 16, 2001) -- On almost every street corner in the city on Saturday night, candles burned in memory of the victims of Tuesday's attack. These vigils are a poignant symbol of the endless search and the still burning hope for survivors. Nina Pineda reports.

For many families, its too painful right now to provide medical examiners with crucial evidence in the search for their missing loved one.

Victim's Father: "It is still early. There have been many disasters around the world where people have come out ten, fifteen days later. But we are hoping that we still find him."

Rajesh A. Mirpuri is the 31-year-old man, last seen on the 105th floor of Tower One. His family posted fliers, but still cannot bring themselves to provide any DNA.

Authorities need items like toothbrushes, hairbrushes and even unwashed undergarments or used cigarette butts. Authorities need anything that will help link someone missing with someone who may be recovered.

Suktan Chin, Victim's sister: "We brought a toothbrush and hair from my brother's electric razor. I also gave a DNA sample."

A swab from a sibling's cheek is good, but a swab from a parent, child or even grandparents can provide an even better match for DNA.

Dr. Charles Hirsch, NYC Medical Examiner: "When those specimens are received, they will be transferred to the New York State Police laboratory. The police laboratory will analyze the personal items and then send them to the myriad corporation, with whom they already have a contract with."

Matching correct DNA can almost be done instantly. Relative sample matches will take a few days to complete. But many feel that means they've given up hope.

Hope, not resignation, is still the prevailing mood around the city. There was uplifting gospel music at a church in Bushwick and prayer in Union Square. New Yorkers from all walks off life burned a candle for each victim they feel is still alive and to send a message to terrorists.

Resident: "Although the mission of terrorists is to tear a country apart, but we will stand united as one country and one nation. We will get through this tragedy. "