Ten years after 9/11, nothing to bury

Russell and Joyce Mercer are still holding out hope for any of their son's remains.

Joyce and Russell Mercer desperately want even a pinky of their son’s remains. But 10 years after Sept. 11, they have not received anything of Scott Kopytko, 32, who died on assignment as a firefighter in the south tower.

“We have never received anything,” Russell Mercer said. “That’s still true even today.”

Now they can visit the Sept. 11 memorial, which opened Sunday to the families, and touch the letters of his name. But without remains, the couple could not even have a funeral, holding just a memorial mass and constantly hoping the city would call them with news.

The Mercers are two of thousands of family members waiting for a call from the medical examiner’s office. More than 1,000 World Trade Center victims’ remains have still not been identified -— at last count, 1,632 of the 2,753 names have been established through DNA testing.

Last month, Ernest James, 40, a Marsh & McLennan employee, became the latest victim identified. He was the first victim to match remains to DNA since 2009.

Mercer said he holds out hope for a similar phone call. “You can’t give up on hope.”

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro.


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