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Former NYPD detective shares story of finding birth family after 9/11 attacks

A former NYPD detective is sharing her heartwarming story of loss and love following one of the worst tragedies in the nation's history.

News 12 Staff

Sep 30, 2020, 10:32 PM

Updated 1,356 days ago

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A former NYPD detective is sharing her heartwarming story of loss and love following one of the worst tragedies in the nation's history.
"My job was to assign men and women of the New York City Narcotics Division to dig out the dead," says Debra McCarthy.
She was a 30-year-old NYPD detective and a new mom when the twin towers fell blocks away from her precinct at One Police Plaza.
McCarthy, a Marymount College graduate who now lives on Long Island with her husband and their children, was adopted when she was 2 years old.
She says it was the painful and tragic loss of 90 colleagues and friends, followed by a chance encounter with another officer - who looked just like her – that finally led McCarthy to use her detective skills to find her parents. That started with her mom, who said her dad had been looking for her all that time.
"She said my biological dad called her every year on my birthday for the past 30 years," said McCarthy.
McCarthy tracked down her father about a year later, and a family reunion was planned.
The sergeant she saw at One Police Plaza was at the reunion.
"I was shocked, but I knew we had to be related because we looked so much alike," McCarthy said.
McCarthy learned that fellow officer she saw right after 9/11 was indeed her cousin and that she lost two other cousins during the terror attacks.
McCarthy is now sharing her story as a glimmer of hope to others during another trying time in our nation's history.
McCarthy is now retired from the NYPD. Her story was recently featured on People.com, and she wrote about it in her book called "Never Forgotten."


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