911review.orgWallace Miller part 1Thu Aug 23, 2007 22:31
Some snips of witnesses. Flight 93
Mainly the coroner
Arlene O'Toole, (coroners wife) was acting as an unpaid secretary.
usually an environmental health and safety consultant with PPG Industries Inc.
The coroner and his father are funeral home directors.
i wonder if they had dealings with Bushco family incerators? Robert Waltrip
Coroner to release Flight 93 site nearly four years after crash
Published: Jul 29, 2005 9:06 AM EST
SHANKSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - The Somerset County coroner will turn over control of the united Flight 93 crash site to its owners Monday.
Coroner Wallace Miller has held the site as a coroner's death scene since Sept. 11, 2001,
when the hijacked plane crashed into an abandoned strip mine in Somerset County, killing 40 passengers and crew.
Miller and a group of more than two dozen volunteers this week made a final sweep of the property, looking for debris. The group found airplane debris near a section of downed evergreens and a small amount of human remains, Miller said.
The remains can't be identified because of weather degradation and the size of the sample, he said.
"The volume (of materials found) has dropped off considerably, to the point that I now feel it's appropriate to close my involvement in the case," Miller said.
Seven groups own land on or near the crash site, which is just outside Shanksville and about 65 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The National Park Service is set to take control of the tracts for a permanent memorial.
In the simplest of terms, it said that Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller was going to release custody of the crash site where her mother,
Hilda Marcin, of Budd Lake, N.J., and 39 other passengers on United Flight 93 died on Sept. 11, 2001.
The 70-acre expanse will be returned to the six original land owners and eventually purchased by the National Park Service.
During the last four years, Miller became something of a celebrity in Somerset County.
Newsmaker: Coroner's quiet unflappability helps him take charge of Somerset tragedy
Monday, October 15, 2001
Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller and his wife,
Arlene O'Toole, filling in as an unpaid deputy, work in an office crowded with files
and paperwork related to the Sept. 11 crash of United Flight 93. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
In the hour before the Sept. 11 Somerset crash, the coroner's staff in
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neighboring Cambria County had phoned, alerting Miller to the terrorism in New York City and Washington, D.C.
Now, a month of 18-hour days later, the crash site has been about as cleared of fragmentary remains
as Miller figures humankind can get it. The high science of DNA is pairing remains with the dead.
Death certificates have been mailed out for all but the four hijackers.
Miller continues to escort victims' relatives who trickle into Somerset County to gaze on the crash scene.
"He's tired, very tired," said O'Toole, usually an environmental health and safety consultant with PPG Industries Inc.
in Allison Park, but filling in as an unpaid deputy and spirit booster to the coroner.
His father, funeral director Wilbur Miller, an occasionally gruff, usually affable soul,
was elected coroner for six terms, 24 years. Wallace Miller was his deputy for the last 17.
In 1994, he bought the Somerset funeral home from his father
and added another nine miles away in Rockwood. In 1997, he was elected successor when his father, now 74, retired as coroner.
He makes $35,854 a year as coroner,
After the crash he swore in a cadre of deputies --
helpers such as hospital workers and fellow funeral directors -- but Miller chose largely to go it alone.
"It was as if the plane had stopped and let the passengers off before it crashed," Miller said.
Photo left: Sister Mary Ann Dillon, President of Mount Aloysius College, poses for a photo with Wallace Miller as she presents him with an honorary degree in Social Justice from the College. Wallace Miller is the Somerset County Coronor who humbly served our country at the crash site of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa.
Hundreds of searchers who climbed the hemlocks and combed the woods for weeks
were able to find about 1,500 mostly scorched samples of human tissue totaling less than 600 pounds, or about 8 percent of the total.
Miller was among the very first to arrive after 10:06 on the magnificently sunny morning of September 11.
He was stunned at how small the smoking crater looked, he says,
"like someone took a scrap truck, dug a 10-foot ditch and dumped all this trash into it." Once he was able to absorb the scene, Miller says,
"I stopped being coroner after about 20 minutes, because there were no bodies there
immediately after the crash, the seeming absence of human remains led the mind of coroner Wally Miller to a surreal fantasy:
that Flight 93 had somehow stopped in mid-flight and discharged all of its passengers before crashing.
"There was just nothing visible," he says. "It was the strangest feeling."It would be nearly an hour before Miller came upon his first trace of a body part.
Another 14 victims of Flight 93 identified
Saturday, October 27, 2001
At the same time, the high winds that buffeted the area over the last few days have dislodged additional airplane parts -- seat cushions,
wiring, carpet fragments and pieces of metal -- from trees near the crash site.
"It's all aircraft parts, no human remains," Miller said. "We've collected them in
10 recycling bin-sized containers and eventually we'll turn them all over to United."
Yesterday's confirmation of victims' identities by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology DNA lab
in Rockville, Md., means that 34 of the 44 people who were
aboard the jetliner crashed Sept. 11. have been identified.
Flight 93 bound for San Francisco from Newark, N.J., had two pilots,
five flight attendants and 37 passengers aboard when it crashed in Stonycreek.
Miller said the lab is continuing to test DNA material to verify the deaths of the last six crash victims.
He said DNA tests won't be able to identify the four hijackers on board.
"To make a DNA identification we need something from the victims or their family members
-- personal effects, or blood samples -- to match," Miller said. "We don't have that kind of information about the terrorists."
Identification of the victims through DNA testing allows the coroner to issue death certificates
and return the fragmented remains to the families.
Miller said he will identify as many of the remains as he can.
Remains that can't be identified will be interred at a grave in Somerset County.
"We already have issued presumptive death certificates so families could begin to take care
of the affairs of those persons we haven't identified," Miller said.
"Now we can say for sure on 34 of the victims
and that gives the families, some of whom have held memorial services, more of a sense of closure."
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