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Learning from 9/11: Forensic Science and Identifying Human Remains - Interview with Robert Shaler

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2011
1 page
This video and its transcript cover an interview with Robert Shaler at the 2011 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Conference regarding his experiences in managing a forensic lab involved in identifying human remains of persons killed in the 9/11 attacks.
The first step was to reorganize the laboratory so that it could continue its regular casework related to criminal investigations. A protocol for handling and cataloging 9/11 human remains samples was developed. By the end of the first day, the lab was ready to begin accessioning 9/11 samples coming into the laboratory. In addition to victim samples received, the lab had to acquire samples of family members of decedents and, if possible, personal effects of the victims. Where possible, victim dental records were obtained by the lab. There is a brief discussion of how the identification of human remains from the 9/11 disaster differed from the identification of victims of other disasters, such as Katrina, the Haitian earthquake, and the tsunami in Japan.

Date Published: June 1, 2011