The name of India-born Sneha Anne Philip, a physician who lived not too far from the World Trade Center in Manhattan and was last seen on the evening of September 10, 2001, will now feature on the list of 9/11 heroes and at the memorial on the site.
A Manhattan appellate court ruled last week that Sneha officially and legally perished in the attacks on the twin towers on September 11, 2001.
She becomes the 2,751st official 9/11 victim. Felicia Dunn-Jones, an attorney who died of lung disease in February 2002, was the 2,750th.
For years, Sneha had been considered a missing person by police, who couldn't find any proof that she died at the 9/11 site.
The New York state court judge had suggested three years ago that she died on the night before the terror attacks under potentially tawdry circumstances, involving drugs, alcohol and an unhappy marriage.
Her husband, Ron Lieberman, also a doctor, and family reasoned that, being a doctor, she might have been in the area on the morning of 9/11 and probably would've gone into the crumbling buildings to help.
Now, the appeals court has sided with Sneha's family, confirming not just their view of her death, but also their image of her life.
Based on, among other things, evidence of Sneha's "predisposition to help others according to the highest calling of her medical profession", the panel found that it was "highly probable" that she died at the World Trade Center on Sep 11.
The attorney of Sneha's family, Marc Bogatin, said the family finally had a closure. "The court has given a date and location and a reason for her death. She will be on the official list, she will be on the memorial at the site," he said.
Born in Kerala, Sneha moved to the US as a child. She was a resident physician at St Vincent's Hospital in Staten Island and lived with her husband in south Manhattan. She was 31 when she died.