It was a poignant reminder that many families, more than 13 years after the 9/11 attacks of 2001, still have no closure.
For one New Jersey family on Thursday came the news that the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office had, through new DNA analysis, identified the remains of Matthew David Yarnell, 26.
Yarnell grew up in Kinnelon, NJ, graduated the local high school, and went on to the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University.
He was a tech vice president for Fiduciary Trust living in Jersey City when he was killed.
His office was on the 97th floor of the South Tower, which collapsed 57 minutes after the terrorists slammed Flight 175 into it.
The Star Ledger newspaper of New Jersey quoted Yarnell’s mother as saying he called his girlfriend to tell her the tower was being evacuated. That was the last time anyone heard from him.
Through simultaneous tears and smiles, his friends at his memorial service recalled his ability to make them laugh.
From the Star Ledger:
They recalled his offbeat sense of humor, like the time he carried a bogus million-dollar bill and kept asking strangers, over and over, if they could "break a million."
They marveled at his generosity, like the time he sold stock to give a childhood friend tickets to London as a wedding gift. They remembered road trips (Matt usually drove), eating in New Jersey diners and his ear-to-ear grin.
"My favorite times spent with Matt were the days we just sat and talked," friend Deborah Cohen wrote in an e-mail.
"Matt was the kind of person you could talk to about everything . . . career, finances, love, future. He was always there for his friends -- willing to listen and give advice and a warm hug."
Continued advances in DNA technology allowed scientists to finally confirm his remains, which are stored in a repository in the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
Yarnell is the 1,640th victim identified, out of 2,753 people who died that day.
DNA testing continues.