Empire: No News on Missing Workers

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Michael A. Stocker continued to provide updates with a message to his employees accessible via a toll-free number yesterday, but the Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield CEO could not provide the information everyone has been praying for.

Stocker reported there was no news about the nine employees still missing after last week's terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. He asked listeners to call the employee hotline -- 866/761-8265 -- if they have any information about Ayleen Santiago, a consultant who is missing and presumed to have been in the Empire corporate offices when the Sept. 11 attack destroyed the World Trade Center. Empire was one of three Direct Marketing Association members with offices in the Twin Towers.

"We have said that we would have information about return to work for you today," he said. "We do not, and we are putting off that general announcement until [today]. On a gradual basis, we have been asking people to return to work. Unless specifically asked, please do not self-assign or go to Empire offices since they will rapidly become overcrowded."

Also, news reports have provided some insight into the lives of some of those who are missing. Vivian Casalduc has been described in the media as a "doting grandma."

In another report, computer programmers Abraham Zelmanowitz and Edward Beyea were described as the best of friends. That friendship withstood the ultimate test during the disaster when Zelmanowitz refused to leave Beyea, a quadriplegic, as their office on the 27th floor of One World Trade Center was in its final moments.

Beyea told Zelmanowitz that he could not leave and that he was having difficulty breathing. The men called their families before the building collapsed and said they were OK.

According to Stocker's message, the other missing employees are Cynthia Giugliano, Elvira Granitto, Winston Grant, Ramon Grijalvo, Jerome Lohez and Angela Sheinberg. Empire had 1,914 employees who worked for Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield at One World Trade Center.

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