Today marks 20 years since the devastating attack on the World Trade Centre. An attack that costs thousands of lives, and changed America forever.
Today also marks 20 years since Senha Anne Philip was ever seen, and whilst some have concluded she was a victim of the terror attacks, others think her disappearance is unrelated.
Sneha was born in India, but she moved to New York with her parents. Sneha studied at Johns Hopkins University before going to the Chicago School of Medicine in 1995 to pursue a medical career.
It was at the Chicago School of Medicine where Sneha met Rob Lieberman, who would go on to become Sneha’s husband. The pair shared interests aside from medicine – Sneha loved to paint, and Rob was a musician.
Once they had finished Medical School, they moved back to New York. Rob got an internship at the Jacobi Medical Centre, and Sneha got an internship at the Cabrini Medical Centre. They lived in an apartment in the East Village.
September 10th, 2001, Sneha had the day off work. Rob said she was going to spend the day cleaning up the apartment ahead of her cousin coming over for dinner 2 days later.
On that day, Sneha talked to her mother online for 2 hours. During this chat she mentioned that she was going to visit the Windows on the World restaurant, which is on the top of the North Tower of the World Trade Centre. Sneha logged off at 4pm.
After chatting to her mother, Sneha went to the neighbourhood dry cleaners to drop off some clothes, and then went to a Century 21 store. In the store, she purchased lingerie, a dress, pantyhouse, and bed linen with the couple’s American Express card. She then went into the shop next door and purchased 3 pairs of shoes.
A security camera captured Sneha’s movements inside the shops. These images are the last confirmed sightings of Sneha.
When Rob returned home from work, Sneha was not there. This was not alarming to Rob, as Sneha had been staying at a friends house if she was working late.
September 11th, 2001, Rob had to use his medical credentials to go into his apartment due to the terrorist attack. When he got inside, he found the apartment covered in dust. There were no signs of any human being in the apartment during the day.
Due to 9/11, Senha’s case was one of thousands reported to the NYPD on that day. Her family posted missing posters with her face on all over the city, whilst hundreds of other families did the same.
A clerk at the store Senha visited before she disappeared came forward and said she remembered Senha because she would visit quite frequently. The clerk then said that when Senha visited that night, she was accompanied by another woman who was possibly of Indian descent. The security footage does not show anyone with Senha that night.
Rob hired private investigator Ken Gallat, who found two pieces of evidence to suggest Senha did in fact return to the apartment.
The first piece of evidence was a phone call made to Rob’s mobile phone from the apartment at around 4am on the 11th September. Rob does not recall this phone call, but says he may have woken up to check his voicemail.
The second piece of evidence was from the security camera at the apartment. At 8:43am, just minutes before the first plane would crash into the World Trade Centre, a young woman is shown entering the building, waiting by the elevator for a few moments, before leaving again. The sunlight in the lobby caused only the woman’s silhouette to be visible, however the woman’s attire matches what Senha was last wearing in the shop, and her family say the mannerisms are very similar to Senha’s.
Senha did have an issue with alcohol, and earlier that year had been fired from Cabrini Medical Centre for alcohol-related issues.
On a night out with other employees from the Cabrini Medical Centre, Senha accused another intern of groping her. The NYPD found this claim to be false, and Senha spent the night in jail because of it. The prosecutor charged Senha with third-degree falsely reporting an incident, but was willing to drop the charge if she recanted her claim. Senha refused to do this.
After she was fired, Senha started to spend a lot of nights out in lesbian and gay bars – some rougher than others. According to the NYPD, Senha would often leave with women she met from these bars.
Senha’s family deny that she was a lesbian, and that she was using alcohol to get her through a depression she was experiencing. Her family also claim that Senha was not fired from Cabrini Medical Centre due to alcohol, but instead because she was becoming a “whistleblower”, complaining about sexual and racial bias that was happening at the centre. Cabrini Medical Centre later told a reporter that there was no evidence of any formal complaints made by Senha.
To begin with, the court did not believe Senha had died at 9/11. There was no evidence to place her at the area, and instead the court ruled that Senha died on the 10th September 2001.
Surprisingly, Senha’s family won the appeals court. A panel of five judges ruled that the explanation was the most simplest one; she had died whilst trying to help others from the attack. Senha was declared the 2,751st victim of the Twin Tower Attacks.
On the National September 11th Memorial, Senha’s name can be found at the South Pool, on Panel S-66.
Unsolved, mystery, USA, True Crime