New DNA Breakthrough Identifies Remains of Father Killed in 9/11 Attacks

After over two decades, groundbreaking DNA technology has identified the remains of John Ballantine Niven, a new father killed in the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center. Niven, 44, was on the 105th floor of the South Tower, leaving behind his wife and 18-month-old son. The senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions at Aon Risk Services, his identification was achieved through advanced DNA sequencing, mitochondrial DNA analysis, and refined procedures announced by New York City officials on Thursday.

“It certainly emotional for me to hear 23 years later that John’s DNA has been found.” Niven’s widow, Ellen, told The Post.

“We had no idea those efforts were still underway,” she said of the technology that led to John’s identification.

“Especially given how many years have passed, we are all the more appreciative of the city of New York and the devoted teams working behind the scenes all this time. They deserve tremendous credit for this extraordinary effort.”

Niven becomes the 1,650th victim identified from the deadliest act of terrorism on American soil—hijackers crashing airplanes into the Twin Towers, claiming 2,753 lives. Ellen expressed gratitude, knowing the family will now have a part of him to lay to rest.

“We have a gravesite where we buried a box of mementos, and will now be able to bury part of him, which is meaningful for us,” she told Newsday.

Niven, Ellen, and their young son shared a residence on the Upper East Side but frequently spent weekends in Long Island, as mentioned in an online obituary.

Described as a nurturing father who was inseparable from his son, also named John, Niven enjoyed reading philosophy and history books and playing tennis with childhood friends in his leisure time.

A graduate of Lake Forest College in Illinois, he was a member of the St. Nicholas Society of New York.

Following Niven’s tragic passing, his wife conveyed his belief that, despite life being short, he felt blessed in the years he had.

Now 23, the younger John Niven praised the efforts invested in locating his father’s remains.

“As I was, like so many, too young to remember the events of 9/11, it means so much to see how New Yorkers have stayed true to the ‘Never Forget’ promise,” he told The Post.

“The medical examiner’s office and the police who continue to deliver this emotional news are doing incredible work, and the enduring effort of these tributes is even more moving given the considerable passage of time,” he added.

The Medical Examiner’s Office is optimistic that the new technology will significantly aid in identifying the remaining 1,103 victims at Ground Zero who have not yet been recognized.