For Whom the Bell Tolls, Part I

The Missing and the Dead

Taimour's uncle, Arshad, lives in Plainview, Long Island. He helped raise Taimour. "He is extremely bright and witty," Arshad said. "People love to get his e-mails. He's always the most entertaining at a party, with the elderly, the youth. Very athletic, a bike rider, traveled around the world. And a very successful trader, at a young age."

"A great human being," added his mother. "A child of the world is what he was, is. He's the kind of child that, I'm the mother but, if you look at him and know him, you would want to own him. He loves me so much. He brought me a huge bouquet of flowers at my office on Mother's Day and everyone said, 'You have a very handsome boyfriend,' and I go out and my son is there with roses."

At this, Taimour's sister Zara handed a bottle of juice to her mother and told her to take a sip. "He's a man and you would think how a man has this tough image, but Taimour's got this emotional feeling," Zara said. "He's very protective of me and my mother. He loves my mother to death. He's got a great sense of humor, makes you laugh, one, two, three. He's very humane. When he was little he would see the ants walking through the cracks in the sidewalk and not want to step on the ants."

Photograph by André Souroujon

As she spoke, Tahira Khan gripped a string of mint-green tasbih beads. She has been praying all day. "I am praying something very special," she said. "Because one of the prophet's sons was swallowed by a whale and the prayer is to bring my son back to me. After 40 years the son comes back. I am praying that verse from the Koran, so my son will come back to me."

MISSING: Tambi Gonzalez
On Sunday, William Crespo saw his cousin, Tambi Gonzalez, at a family gathering at her home in Yonkers. That was the last time they spoke. Gonzalez worked as a waitress at Windows on the World, and she started her shift at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. Around 9:30, she called her aunt saying that something had hit the building, she'd felt it shake, and she was coming down the stairs from the 107th floor. She said she would call back later, but that was the last her family heard. Her aunt called her cell phone over and over, but the call would not go through.

Her family described Tambi as a slender and tall 22-year-old, with curly black hair. Crespo said she is "full of energy, a sweetheart, she loves to cater to people and make them comfortable." That's what she enjoys about waitressing, and she had particularly liked Windows on the World because of the customers from many countries and different races and cultures who visited, and because of the breathtaking view. "She loved it, loved looking out every day, being up there," Crespo said. Soon after she started working there, Gonzalez held her 20th birthday at the restaurant, and Crespo remembers staring out over New York and New Jersey, and feeling like he was "on top of the world."

In one photo, Gonzalez is sitting on a couch, a serious expression on her face, her black hair pulled back, wearing a delicate white sweater, a long floral skirt and sandals. In another, she looks like the lively, thoughtful cousin Crespo describes: Wearing a white tank top and shorts, gold hoop earrings and her black curly hair let down around her shoulders, she smiles straight at the camera, with just the slightest bit of shyness.

MISSING: Harold Lizcano
Emily Vega met Harold Lizcano six years ago when they worked for the city at Teacher's Retirement Systems, and after three years, their relationship went from "friends, then to interest, and then we started going out," she said. Smiling a little, she added, "He liked me first." Lizcano is fun to be with, and has the same values: They are both Catholic, and want big families like Vega's, although Lizcano had grown up an only child. In June, the couple married at St. Anselm's Church in the Bronx, and spent a two-week honeymoon in Hawaii.

On Tuesday morning, Lizcano left their house in East Elmhurst at 7:10 a.m. and arrived at work at Carr Futures in tower one, on the 92nd floor, at 8:30. Vega turned on the TV at 9:10, and thought she was dreaming. "I was in shock. I tried calling, and it wouldn't go through," said Vega, 28, in a calm voice. "In the beginning, I was hysterical. I was crying, on the floor, and I was alone for quite a while, just crying, because the trains weren't working, and my family couldn't get to me." Vega started calling everybody she knew, and her family in Puerto Rico and her husband's family in El Salvador called her. When her friends and family arrived in Queens, they took her to the hospitals, registered his name at the armory, and Vega hung photocopies of her husband with so many other notices along First Avenue. In the picture, Lizcano is dressed in pure white: white suit, white shirt, white tie, his dark skin standing out against the silk. He has a dimple in his chin, and a thin mustache.

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