Stolen laptop with 9/11 pictures still missing

September 21st, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

It was more than six years ago, when a city medical examiner’s laptop was stolen, as learned by The Post. It contained 200 to 300 sensitive photographs of body parts from 9/11 and other victims and the laptop is still missing.

Frank DePaolo, the ME’s director of special operations, while ­attending a meeting downtown in April 2007 left the laptop also containing photos of Staten Island Ferry crash victims, as well as city disaster plans in his city-issued Chevy Tahoe.

A burglar broke into Frank’s SUV and took the laptop as well as two bags that he dropped while pedaling away on a bike.

Using a DNA swab from one dropped bag, Jeffrey Davis was busted by cops four month later but investigators have not been able to recover the laptop till date, said Joan Vollero, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
The possibility that hundreds of morgue photos remain lost angers 9/11 victims’ relatives.

Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son, Christian, died on Sept. 11, 2001 said “Who on earth would leave a laptop clearly visible in a car with the most sensitive materials and compromise the dignity and privacy of crime victims who met such a brutal death?”.

“No identifying information about any victims was on the laptop.” Said ME spokeswoman Ellen Borakove.

However, a memo by the city Department of Investigation, released to The Post, says the laptop had “pictures and names” of Staten Island Ferry victims and “pictures of the City Hall shooting, 2003” in which City Councilman James ­Davis and his killer, Othniel Askew, were shot dead. The department memo cites “9/11 material and pictures” on the laptop. Officials refused to comment on this.

The ME’s office tightened security for new laptops, after the laptop theft, allowing systems to locate and remotely delete sensitive data on missing or stolen computers, the department memo says.

When 9/11 relatives first learned about the disturbing theft in The Post, then-Chief ME Charles Hirsch wrote them a letter saying the laptop had “some images of bone fragments but none linked to a named victim.”

He said DePaolo did nothing wrong, and he used the laptop to work at home and give lectures on the World Trade Center recovery.

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