For Whom the Bell Tolls, Part I

The Missing and the Dead

"He could have been my father," Watson added. "I could tell him any kind of joke and he would laugh. He would be there every time. Whenever I would go out to get lunch I would bring something back for him. He always asked for tea with a little piece of lemon. I knew he wouldn't eat oysters and things like that because his face would puff up. We knew things like that about each other."

Adams had taken some time off from work after breaking his arm, but returned to the company for different postings, despite being given only three work days a week. Adams is in his late sixties and has a wife, Allison, children, and grandchildren. "I know that Patrick is a very religious person," said Joan Gordon, a Voice phone operator. "I know he fully believes in life after death."

MISSING: Benito Valentin
Benito Valentin, 33, worked as a travel agent for American Express in the first tower of the World Trade Center on the 94th floor. He was running late for work Tuesday morning. His shift ran from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. His wife, Grissel, 30, who goes by Rodriguez, her maiden name, woke up to hear him say, "Honey, I'm late." He threw her a kiss, and then left their place in the Bedford Park neighborhood of the Bronx, where they live with their three daughters, Danielle, 11, Jayleen, nine, and Alissa, seven. It was 5:45 a.m.

Photograph by André Souroujon

Benito had visited his younger brother Juan's family in Dover, Delaware, just a few months ago for a nephew's birthday party. Two months ago he was down for a weekend. The moment Juan, who works in a poultry factory, heard about the attack, he packed a bag. Juan's wife, Robin, drove. "We had to break some speed limits. I made it in two and a half hours," she said. "We needed to be with her." She gestured to Benito's mother, Carmen Barretto. "She was so scared."

"He's got the biggest heart of anybody you'd want to meet," Robin went on. "He's friendly, funny, good-looking. We share our birthdays together. His is January 20. Mine's January 21."

Juan keeps remembering the last time Benito left his house. "The first vision I get is hugging him in the driveway and not wanting to let him go, crying with him and not wanting to let go of him. We were like that. I had not seen him in a while, and I just did not want to let him go."

MISSING: Lindsay C. Herkness III
Lindsay C. Herkness III worked for Morgan Stanley on the 73rd floor of tower two. Among those searching for him is employee Hagi Abucor. "I cannot go to sleep until I find my boss," Abucor said.

MISSING: Swarna Chalasani
A group of Swarna Chalasani's friends were fanning across the city Thursday, handing out flyers, while her parents, who live in Rego Park, filed a report at the Armory.

All they knew was that the secretary of her company, Fiduciary Trust, where she is a researcher, saw her at 8 a.m. They left messages on her voice mail all day.

"She is an incredibly fantastic person," said Hema Kailasam, 34, who lives on the Upper East Side. "She'd do anything for you."

Besides her work, Swarna, 33, has been active with an organization called Sakhi, a support group for battered Asian women, and of late, has been studying pranic healing to use in that support work. "She's incredibly smart and very ambitious," says Pragya Gupta, 39, who lives in the same complex in Jersey City as Swarna. "She's working as a research analyst on Wall Street! She loves the outdoors, and is part of the AMC. . . . She'd turn a person into a friend at the first meeting."

MISSING: Donna Clarke
Donna Clarke, 39, was at work for Marsh & McClennan on the 98th floor of tower one. Her loved ones say Clarke, engaged to be married and mother of an 18-year-old, had worked there for perhaps three months.

MISSING: Taimour Khan
Taimour Khan and his mother, Tahira, spent last weekend together.

They went grocery shopping. They had a party that their entire family attended at her house on Roosevelt Island. Khan, 29, was at Carr Futures, working as a financial consultant on the 92nd floor of tower one, when the plane hit. Just before 8:45 a.m., his boss spoke to him, his uncle says, and Taimour was lively, and cracked a couple jokes. They talked business and hung up.

"I was in bed asleep when it happened," Tahira said. "My daughter called and left a message.

I called back and she said, 'It seems like the world is coming to an end, there's war everywhere.' "

Tahira almost walked from Roosevelt Island to the World Trade Center when she first heard. Her daughter, Zara, came home, and as the calls poured in, some from family members in Pakistan, they watched the news. A coworker of Taimour's contacted his wife twice that morning after the accident. This gives the family hope. "My heart tells me he is somewhere and he's coming back," Tahira said. "I am very much at peace. My instinct tells me he is fine. He's a strong person. He's going to fight and he's going to get back. I have great hope. I believe in God."

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