9/11 victim photo search leads to Michigan school yearbook

Mar 18, 2022, 9:07 AM | Updated: 10:32 am

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) — Albert Ogletree was a name represented by an image of an oak leaf at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York until a bit of sleuthing led to a 1966 Michigan high school yearbook.

On Tuesday, the museum added Ogletree’s Romulus High School freshman year photo to its Memorial Exhibition Gallery, the Detroit Free Press reported Friday.

The museum had been unable to locate photos of only two of the nearly 3,000 victims since it opened in 2014, including Ogletree. The last identified victim whose photo has still not been found is Antonio Dorsey Pratt.

“It is a place no one wishes their loved one to be seen, given the circumstances of why they are there,” chief curator Jan Ramirez said. “Nonetheless, it is so rewarding to retire that leaf icon tile with the replacement of this quietly compelling portrait.”

Ogletree was working in the cafeteria of a financial services firm in the World Trade Center’s North Tower on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists flew a hijacked plane into the building. Another hijacked plane slammed into the South Tower.

It was part of a coordinated attack on several high profile U.S. targets. In New York, 2,753 people died. Another 184 were killed at the Pentagon in Washington D.C., while 40 died on United Airlines Flight 93 which crashed in Pennsylvania.

Museum staff member Grant Llera took on the task of finding Ogletree’s photo, according to the museum. Llera’s search turned up an address in Romulus, about 23 miles (37 kilometers) southwest of Detroit. The high school was contacted.

Romulus councilwoman and retired math teacher Kathy Abdo located Ogletree’s black and white photo for the museum last year by looking through yearbooks at the city’s Historical Society.

“The school called me and said — you know, we got this request and we don’t have any photos — and I said, ‘I’ll look into it,'” Abdo told the Free Press. “The fact that a Romulus student died in 9/11 made me feel an obligation to find his picture.”

“I went through every yearbook I could,” she said. “It just seemed to be the right thing to do.”

Ogletree was born on Christmas Day in 1951 and lived in Romulus with his parents and a sister. He later moved to New York and married.

The museum said it found an obituary for Ogletree’s wife, who died in 2004. That led to his stepdaughter, Justine Jones, who recalled Ogletree as “a loving man who played an important role in her life,” and a “skillful electronics repairman.”

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9/11 victim photo search leads to Michigan school yearbook