Dr Sneha Anne Philip was added to the list of 9/11 victims in 2008, as the 2751st victim. You might be wondering why she was added to the list 7 years after the incident. We’ll have to delve into one of Sept 11th’s biggest mysteries to find an answer to that question.
Sneha’s family believes that she died a hero, helping those injured in the terrorist attack. But the NYC Police Department believes that she either used the cover of the attacks to escape her complicated married life or was murdered in an unrelated event. As there has been no real evidence to ascertain either claim, Sneha’s name has been added and removed from the list of victims, before being finally added to the list in 2008.
Sneha was born on 7th October 1969 in Kerala. She moved to the States and studied at the Chicago Medical School. This is where she met her future husband, Ron Lieberman. Once they graduated, they moved to New York.
In 2001, Sneha was working at St. Vincent’s Hospital. She did not return home on the night of 10th Sept 2001. Ron assumed that she had gone to her brother’s house as they had been in a fight about a week earlier, and thought she went to talk things out. But when Ron heard the news of the attacks and did not hear from Sneha, he raised the alarm. Sneha was listed as one of the presumed victims of the attack.
The NYC Police conducted an investigation into Sneha’s disappearance and came up with a theory that challenged Sneha’s listing as a victim of the Sept 11 attacks. They dug into Sneha’s work history and found that her contract with Cabrini Medical Center was not renewed due to “alcohol-related issues” and that she was suspended from St. Vincent’s Hospital for not going for sessions with her substance-abuse counsellor.
Their report said that she and Ron had been having marital problems and that she would often spend nights out without telling her husband, going home with women she met in lesbian bars. Their report also claimed her brother, John, reported that he walked in on her having sex with his girlfriend.
Sneha was also battling a case and had spent a night in prison for falsely accusing a colleague from Cabrini Medical Center of groping her on a night out. On the 10th of September, she appeared in court to plead not guilty. The police report states that she and Ron had a “big fight” at the courthouse that day.
In light of the police report, the New York City Medical Examiner removes Sneha’s name from the list of 9/11 victims. Ron files a petition in the court to have her name added back to the list but the Manhattan Surrogate Court denies his application.
Sneha’s family vehemently denies the police report. Jacob, her brother, claims that the police fabricated his statement. Ron says that one of her male co-workers from Cabrini Medical Center groped her while she was at a bar in Manhattan with a group of co-workers and that she hit him. He says that she also went to his apartment later that night to tell his wife what had happened, and reported it to the police the next morning. The co-worker denied the charges and the police investigation concluded that Sneha’s claim was false. She was charged with falsely reporting an incident, trespassing, assault, and harassment.
Her family says that this incident drove her into depression and began drinking. They also say that she was over the depression and did not have any serious alcohol problems around the time of her disappearance. Sneha was last seen shopping at a store named Century 21.
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Sneha’s family kept fighting to have her name added to the 9/11 victims list and in 2008, an appeals court reversed the Surrogate Court’s decision. “Even without direct proof irrefutably establishing that her route that morning took her past the World Trade Center at the time of the attack, the evidence shows it to be highly probable that she died that morning, and at that site, whereas only the rankest speculation leads to any other conclusion.”, ruled Justice David Saxe.
The appeals court, therefore, put a rest to the speculation and Sneha’s name was included on the memorial to those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York.
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